Psalm 8 (NLT)
“O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers— the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!”
This psalm is filled with contrasts that emphasize how wonderful our God is. I’m going to try the question format again. So, here we go:
Verse 1 – “O LORD, our Lord” – What is the contrast here? What does this contrast tell us about God? Really think about this.
Verses 1 and 2 – What is the contrast between these two verses? The NASB version of verse 2 uses this language, “from the mouths of infants and nursing babes”; I like this wording because it stresses that even babies, who can’t talk, tell us about God. Has something a young child said or did ever made you stop and realize they said something true about God?
Verses 3 and 4 – What is the contrast shown in these two verses?
Verses 5 to 8 – If you put the world on a scale of 1 to 10 with God being number 1 and the smallest creatures being number 10, where does man come on the scale according to this psalm?
It is so easy to think of myself as insignificant – just one person among the billions on the planet. When I think of how “busy” God must be running the universe and caring for all those people, my issues don’t seem that important. Does God really care?
I love the first few words of this psalm. O LORD – an acknowledgement of how big our God is. I think of a chorus my kids used to love to sing – “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty; there’s nothing my God cannot do”. I can still picture their enthusiasm as they sang the song and did the actions, making their little arms go as wide as they could to illustrate how big God is.
But then “our Lord” – this big, mighty God is my God. He made the universe, but He has a personal relationship with me. How amazing is that!
There is that same huge contrast in the next verses as well. We go from the God of the universe to the God who cares for babies, the most vulnerable of the human race. Yet it’s interesting how the psalmist says that little children can tell of God’s strength most effectively. There is an interesting story in Matthew 21. The chief priests were having a really bad day. First there was the triumphant entry to Jerusalem by Jesus riding on a donkey with hordes of people praising him and shouting Hosanna in the highest. Then Jesus drove out the people buying and selling in the temple courtyards as He declared the place a robbers’ den. Jesus also healed some people in the temple. Children were shouting Hosanna to the Son of David in the temple as well. The chief priests came to Jesus and said, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” Jesus replies with verse 2 of this psalm. End of story. What can you say to the truth spoken by children?
Have you ever been in a somewhat tense situation when a child asks a question or makes a comment that strikes right to the truth, and there is a silence and awe that shuts the adults right up? I remember once having a conversation in a parking lot as my husband and I along with our daughter’s family (who were visiting from Toronto) tried to decide how to spend the rest of the day. There were various points of view on the situation, and at one point, someone said, “I don’t know what’s best”. Our five year old grandson piped up, “God knows”. There was silence, then laughter, and Nate was assured he was right … and it was surprising how quickly after that the decision was made about what we would do next.
Then there is the contrast in verses 3 and 4. When we look at the creation God has made, it does fill us with awe and it does make us feel insignificant in comparison. Why would God even think about us when He can do whatever He wants? The last part of verse 4 gets to the heart of the matter – why would He even care about us? The rest of the psalm talks about this. We are not insignificant; we are made “only a little lower than God”. The Bible tells us we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26). We were created to rule over planet earth, and to have a relationship with God. Is God way greater than we are? Yes! But we are not insignificant to God. And we have a job to do in caring for our world – a whole other topic.
No wonder the psalmist ends by once again declaring “O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!”
Creator God! Personal God!