PSALM 8 - Messiah, Son of Man
After reading through this Psalm, ask yourself: 'Is this an accurate picture of man on earth today?'
This Psalm speaks of man, in joyful submission to God, enjoying full dominion over the earth. But ever since the fall of Adam, this picture has not matched the experience of mankind. The Psalm looks prophetically toward the day when the redeemed sons of man are restored to dominion over a redeemed creation, and meanwhile, toward the Son of Man who would accomplish that redemption. (cp. Rom 8:16-25, where 'the creature' refers to 'the creation')
8:1 To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.
Gittith - a type of musical instrument, like a small harp.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth!
who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
LORD our Lord- Jehovah our Adonai.
The ever-living One, our King and Master.
how excellent...! - His praise is expressed as an open ended exclamation.
Words would fail to describe His glory. Only God truly knows Himself.
thy name - refers primarily to His character and nature, rather than to His title.
Everything about Him is excellent.
above the heavens - The heavens declare His glory and reveal His handiwork (Psa 19:1).
But the heavens cannot contain Him (1Kin 8:27).
Creation is an expression of "His eternal power and Godhead" (Rom 1:20), yet He transcends His creation. A potter expresses himself in his art, but there is much more to his life than revealed in his handiwork. Even so, the creation cannot begin to compare to its Creator.
8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength
because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
the mouth of babes...- The Lord, though higher than the Heavens,
chooses to express Himself in humanity's weakness.
  • Often He uses a child's words to expose the foolishness of a parent's worldly wisdom.
  • He reveals Himself to spiritual "babes." Mat 11:25-27; Mat 18:3
    cp. 1Cor 1:25-29; 2:7-10
  • He has spoken to us through His Son. Heb 1:1,2; Isa 49:1,2
    Jesus accepted the praise of children in fulfillment of this verse. "Mat 21:15,16"
    By doing so, the Son of Man identified Himself as God the Son, the One worthy of praise (cp. v.1; Joh 1:14).
    He was indeed the One who could answer their cries of "Hosanna" (lit., "save now", see the Notes on Psa 118:25).
    Our Creator is also our great Savior and High Priest (cp. v.1 with Heb 7:26).
    Jesus accepted this praise in the presence of both human & demonic enemies.
    Their cries for blood would be fully silenced by the Truth that the children attested: He, the Son of God and Son of David, is the promised Savior of the world.
    By the mouth of the Babe of Bethlehem, Satan's doom has been sealed (Joh 12:31-33; 19:30) and will be executed (Rev 19:15).
Thou hast ordained {ie., established} strength...
... because of thine enemies {ie., those who cause distress, cp. Psa 23:5}...
... that Thou mightest still {HB= shabath, cause to cease, cause to rest, cp. word in Gen 2:2}...
8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
Creation is the "finger work" of God. It did not tax His mind or resources.
In fact, He did not actually lift a finger, but rather spoke the worlds into being.
8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
What is man...? - In view of God's vast creation, we are insignificant.
We have value only because He values us.
mindful - We are continually on His mind: Psa 115:12; Psa 139:17,18
visit - ie., to give attention to, to attend to...
The Lord "visits" when He intervenes in the affairs of men (eg., to fulfill His promises, to provide their needs, to render judgment, to bring deliverance, etc.) (cp. word use in Gen 21:1; 50:24; Ex 3:16,17; Psa 65:9; see also Luk 1:68,78; 7:16)
8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,
and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
a little lower than the angels- the sense is: "a little while inferior to..."
The word translated 'angels' {HB=elohim} is usually used as the generic name of God. However, the word means 'mighty ones' and is occasionally applied to human judges or magistrates {eg., Ex 22:9}. Some English translations substitute 'God' or 'heavenly beings' for 'angels' in v.5. However, NT quotations of this verse, use the Greek word 'angels' {GK=aggelos, messenger} (Heb 2:7,9).
glory - With what glory did God crown man?
God made man in His own image and likeness: Gen 1:26-28
honor - With what honor did God entrust man?
He gave man dominion over His creation (vs. 6-8).
But man fell from this position through disobedience to his Creator.
He came under the dominion of sin and death (Rom 5:12),
and of the powers of darkness (2Cor 4:4; Eph 4:18).
8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all [things] under his feet:
Because of sin, the first man (Adam) lost much of the authority which God had delegated to him.
However, v.4-6 are quoted in "Heb 2:6-9", as applying to Jesus Christ (the second Adam).
  • The sinless Son of Man (Christ), being in right relationship with the Father, possessed full authority while He walked upon the earth. For example...
    • The winds and waves of storm driven seas obeyed Him (Mat 8:27).
    • Unclean spirits and all kinds of diseases departed at His command (Mark 1:22,27,34).
    • By His authority, lame men walked, and their sins were forgiven (Mark 2:10-12).
    How inferior to Him, we are!
    Since the time of Adam, only Jesus fits the description given in v.4-6. Whereas Adam was created a little lower than the holy angels, after our fall into sin, he and we have become slaves to the unholy angels. Yet, that is not according to God's design.
  • As the Son of Man, Christ is the unique instrument by whom God has chosen to restore the lost estate of His people Israel (Psa 80:14-19) and also the ruin of Adam's race (1Joh 4:14).
What man (in Adam) lost, God (in Christ) has restored.
While Creation was the work of His fingers (v.3), His work of salvation required the power of His strong right hand and mighty arm (Psa 80:17; 118:15,16; Isa 53:1).
Let's compare vs. 4-6 with "Heb 2:6-8",9-18 to see what He has done.
8:7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8:8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea,
{cp. Mat 17:27}
[and whatsoever] passeth through the paths of the seas.
whatsoever... - Christ's dominion will be absolute.
Satan (the enemy, who moves beneath the surface to trouble the sea of humanity) will be vanquished. cp. v.2; Isa 27:1; Rev 13:1; 17:15,16; 19:20
8:9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth!
LORD our Lord - Jehovah our Adonai: The ever-living One, our King and Master--
- - our Creator, Savior, and Lord.
- - the Glory of God.
- - the Glory of our race, and of each one who owns Him.
How excellent... thy name - "there is none other name... whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12
- - "His name, through faith in His name" makes us whole. Acts 3:16; Rom 10:9-13
How excellent is His Name in the earth today?
  • He is still despised and rejected by most men. Isa 53:3,4
  • But to His servants, who "occupy until He comes," His Name is precious.
    cp. Luk 19:12-14; Acts 4:18-20; Acts 5:41; 1Pet 2:7
    For they recognize that through Him, the LORD has established His purposes in the earth.
    This theme continues in Psalm 9, where the future glories of the Messiah's kingdom are described:
    ...a kingdom of righteousness ...a kingdom purged of all evil.
    The foundation of His kingdom is embodied in the title of Psalm 9: "Muthlabben" (lit., "death of the son"). The death of the Son, which the wicked one engineered, became his own defeat (Psa 9:15,16).

This Concludes the study in Psalm 8.
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