The Book of Psalms Chapter Eight Commentary by
Pastor Ron Beckham
Verse 1: "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!" This is yet another Psalm of David, the shepherd boy who became a king, and it is a parable revealing the majesty of the King of Glory who would be David's earthly descendant. Notice in this Psalm that David begins and ends with praise to the Lord. And that's a model you and I would do well to follow. Have you ever not known what to pray? I've had that experience and have learned that if we don't know what to say to the Lord, we find JOY in simply praising Him. After all, He is your Creator, Savior and Lord. He fashioned you carefully, in ways too beautiful for us to fully understand. We often want little things, but He is in charge of what we call "the big picture." We know what we want—He knows what we really NEED! We look up and see the planets, the stars, the galaxies—we gasp as a meteorite flashes across the sky. He created everything. We have theories about what the universe is all about—He KNOWS. God has many names and when we think about it, "Majestic" is certainly one of them. Look up and see the "splendor" of His creation, and your reasonable response is to—worship Him!
Verse 2: "From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease." The strongest, most intelligent people that humanity has ever known are simply "infants and nursing babes" in the sight of God. The tyrant who rules a country or a bloc of nations is often just the bully in a kindergarten class, and we wonder, what can be done about all this? And the answer is that it starts with you and me. We are infants also, though we might pretend to be somehow "mature." We must go to the Lord, who quoted this verse in Matthew 21:16. He also said in Matthew 18:3, that we must be "converted and become as little children" to become right with God. In other words, we recognize what we really are and look to Him for everything. We give up fooling ourselves and others by trying to live in our own strength and instead, we trust in the Lord. When you are changed, when you are revived, your human enemy may well see the change in you, place his own trust in the Lord, and become your good friend. As stated, it starts with you and me.
Verse 3: "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained;" I don't know about you, but when I consider the universe, I am overwhelmed by the beauty and sheer size of it... The great macrocosm keeps looming larger as we look further into it, and we stare into the microcosm that seems, like the universe, to be endless in scope. The larger and smaller you go, the more of it there is. We see the creation of it in Genesis 1, where Elohim (God) spoke in a series of creative events, resulting in the physical universe. Notice that "the work" was like finger-painting to Him; impossible for us but easy for Him. Compare that with Isaiah 52:10, where "the Lord bared His Holy Arm... (that) all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God." Universes are comparatively easy for Him, but saving us, bearing our sins, was a "work" that took the Son of God beyond anything we can imagine or understand. We should "consider" His works continually, praising Him for what He has done.
Verse 4: "What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?" What a great question! We see that the God who created the universe and everything in it, also recognized our lowly estate to which we had fallen, and at a cost greater than we can understand, died to rescue us from sin. Why did he do it? This morning while I was preparing breakfast, a fast-moving little bug raced across the counter, and without thinking about it, I came down with my hand and crushed that little bug. It did not belong on my counter. God created a beautiful, innocent, pure universe, including humanity, a race that was without sin. Then we did it—we sinned, somehow staining the universe along with ourselves, and Almighty God could have crushed us like the bugs we became—we no longer belonged here. Yet God's love is even greater than His judgment, and the Son of God died in our place. What is man that You take thought of him?"
Verses 5-6: "Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! 6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,"—Have you noticed the creative abilities of humanity? We build houses, hospitals, airplanes, hydroelectric plants and bombs. God has enabled humans to take the substances of His creation and make it into essentially whatever we want. Little creatures like beavers build dams from sticks that hold back the water; birds assemble nests, but we have discovered the means to destroy this world. In Genesis 1:26, when God gave humanity "dominion" over the earth and every creature in it, the intention was that we would, as sub-rulers, lead with love and rule with compassion. But we turned away from the God who made us, and gentle creation became a slaughterhouse.
Verses 7-8: "All sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas." The species of creatures on this planet number in the millions. The pet you keep, the bug I squashed this morning, the meat you ate, if you eat meat, the animal you obtained to do some kind of work for you... these are alien races of beings, with thoughts, concerns, hunger and hopes... and they are God's gift to you and me. Frankly, if you or I were God, and the humans we created turned against us, we would likely destroy them like that bug mentioned earlier, and start again... and again and again... as long as it took until it was done right. But unlike me who crushed that bug, God did not crush humanity. Instead He died in our place and tenderly leads us to Himself, one person at a time. We are a race of killers, but He chose to die for us, offering forgiveness to the bug-killers of this world.
Verse 9: "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!" Our day, our lives are meant to begin and end with praise to God. We look around the world and see much violence. A mistake is when we decide that God has the same flaws, the same characteristics we possess. You can see it in the ancient "gods," the idols of mythology. The true God acts with good purpose, whereas the "gods" we have imagined are capricious and mean, operating out of selfishness. In other words, we look at ourselves and imagine supernatural beings that merely have greater abilities than ours, labeling them as "deity." David, the writer of this Psalm, recognized the true nature of God, and we should do the same. God created a universe that contained a world of innocent, beautiful beings who did no harm. We rebelled against Him and everything changed, but He remains the same. He is "majestic" and we reasonably worship Him who made us and then died in our place, forgiving us, healing us. He is the "Lord," He is "OUR Lord" when we declare His majesty and place our faith in Him.
Lord, I place my faith in You and understand that You are infinitely higher and more wonderful than the so-called "gods" of humanity. You are "majestic," You are wonderful, and You love me. I am Yours. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.