Psalm 8: Lord of the Hopeless

504 psalm 8 mister of the desperateEvidently pursued by enemies and filled with the feeling of hopelessness, David found new courage in recalling who God is: "The sublime, almighty Lord of Creation, who attends to the powerless and oppressed in order to be fully effective through them ".

"A Psalm of David singing on the Gittit. Lord, our ruler, how glorious is your name in all lands, who show your sovereignty in heaven! From the mouth of the young children and babies, you have made a power for the sake of your enemies, that you destroy the enemy and the vindictive. When I see the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared, what is the human being that you remember, and the human child, that you accept him? You have made him little lower than God, with honor and glory you have crowned him. You have made him master over your hands. Everything you have done under his feet: sheep and cattle all together, as well as the wild beasts, the birds under the sky and the fish in the sea and everything that runs through the oceans. Lord, our Lord, how glorious is your name in all lands! "(Ps 8,1-10). Let's look at this psalm line by line. The glory of the Lord: "Lord, our ruler, how glorious is your name in all lands, who show your sovereignty in heaven"! (Ps 8,2)

At the beginning and the end of this psalm (v. 2 and 10) are the words of David, which express how glorious God's name is - his splendor and glory, which goes far beyond all his creation (which includes the enemies of the Psalmists count!). The choice of words "Lord our Lord" makes this clear. The first mention "Lord" means YHWH or Yahweh, the proper name of God. "Our ruler" means Adonai, ie the sovereign or lord. Taken together, this results in the image of a personal, caring God, to whom the absolute rule over his creation. Yes, he is enthroned in heaven. This is the God whom David appeals to and invokes upon himself when, as in the rest of Psalm, he expresses his statutes and expresses his hope.

The strength of the Lord: "From the mouths of young children and babies, you have made a power for the sake of your enemies, that you are destroying the enemy and the vindictive" (Ps. 8,3).

David wonders that God, the Lord, is taking advantage of the "puny" strength of children (strength better reflects the Hebrew word translated in power in the New Testament) to annihilate or put an end to the enemy and the vindictive to prepare. The point is that the Lord puts his unparalleled strength on a secure footing by serving these helpless children and infants. But should we understand these remarks literally? Are God's enemies actually being silenced by children? Perhaps, but more likely, David is leading small, weak and powerless beings with children in the figurative sense. He has undoubtedly become aware of his own powerlessness in the face of overwhelming (over) power, and so it is comforting to know that the Lord, the mighty Creator and Ruler, is using Himself for His work of the powerless and oppressed.

The Creation of the Lord: "When I see the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon, and the stars that you have prepared: what is man, that you remember him, and the child of man, that you may take care of him?" Ps 8,4-9).

David's thoughts now turn to the overwhelming truth that the Lord Almighty God, in his grace, has left part of his domain to man. First, he enters into the great work of creation (including the sky ... moon and ... stars) as the work of God's finger and then expresses his astonishment that the finite man (the Hebrew word is enos and means mortal, weak person) gets so much responsibility transferred. The rhetorical questions in verse 5 emphasize that man is an insignificant creature in the universe (Ps 144,4). And yet, God takes care of him very much. You have made him little lower than God, with honor and glory you have crowned him.

God's creation of man is presented as a powerful, worthy work; because man was made little lower than God. The Hebrew Elohim is given in the Elberfeld Bible with "angels", but perhaps at this point the translation with "God" should be given preference. The point here is that man was created as God's own governor on earth; put over the rest of creation, but lower than God. David was astonished that the Almighty assigned such a place of honor to finite man. In Hebr 2,6-8 this psalm is quoted as juxtaposing man's failure with his sublime fate. But not all is lost yet: Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, is the last Adam (1, Kor 15,45, 47), and everything is subordinate to him. A state that will become fully real as he physically returns to earth to pave the way for a new heaven and a new earth, completing the plan of God the Father, the people and all of the rest of creation to increase (glorify).

You have made him master over your hands. Everything you have done under his feet: sheep and cattle all together, as well as the wild beasts, the birds under the sky and the fish in the sea and everything that runs through the oceans.

David addresses the place of man as God's governor within his creation. After the Almighty created Adam and Eve, He commanded them to rule the earth (1, Mo 1,28). All living beings should be subject to them. But because of sin, this rule was never fully realized. Tragically, it was the irony of fate that it was just a subordinate creature, the serpent, that caused them to oppose God's commandment and reject the destiny they intended. The glory of the Lord: "Lord, our ruler, how glorious is your name in all lands!" (Ps 8,10).

The psalm ends as it began - in praise of God's glorious name. Yes, and indeed the glory of the Lord is revealed in his care and providence, with which he considers man in his finiteness and weakness.

conclusion

David's knowledge of God's love and care for man finds, as we know, its full realization in the New Testament in the person and work of Jesus. There we learn that Jesus is the Lord who already has dominion (Eph 1,22, Heb 2,5-9). A dominion that will flourish in the future world (1, Kor 15,27). How very comforting and hopeful it is to know that, in spite of our inconvenience and powerlessness (tiny compared to the immensity of the universe), we are accepted by our Lord and Lord, sharing His glory, His dominion over all creation to become.

by Ted Johnston


pdfPsalm 8: Lord of the Hopeless