Friday, August 19, 2011

Psalm 8 – Praise The LORD’s Magnificence

An emphatic psalm, a hymn, of David: “O LORD, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” ~Psalm 8:1 (NRSV).

If ever there was a biblical pick-me-up it must surely be this psalm, sung according to The Gittith, which is a musical instrument.

The inspiration for such a psalm could perhaps have come from one of those peace-lit nights; imagining David lying back, harp at hand, gazing awestruck at the starry host above.

Privileged Human Beings

Verses 4-8 consist the body of the psalm. It centres on the cherished spoil—that to be human. This section hearkens back to Genesis 1 and 2, where amongst all creation, humanity is given dominion, only that “a little lower than God.” (Verse 5a)

Whenever we are given to a depressed episode, anxiety, or another affliction, we can well consider these five verses, and suddenly true perspective might return as we gaze upon all we’ve been given; to be human—the most blessed of beings.

And in comparison to God we human beings are truthfully so very insignificant. Yet, the wisdom of the Lord is such that he, the Sovereign of all beings, is mindful of us—each and every one—and cares about us. (Verse 4)

The Lord has placed us in the highest esteem; humanity has been given government over all creation. What a rich responsibility. All creation looks to its governor and seeks reprisal from evil and iniquity; it requires a defender.

The Lord Has Perfected Praise Because Of Justice

“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou perfected praise, because of thine enemies...” ~Psalm 8:2a (LXX).

Verse 2 deserves special treatment. Having been praised by the children in the Temple area for numerous healings, Jesus cites this verse when he is challenged by the chief priests and teachers of the law (Matthew 21:16). It’s immediately after the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, and straight after Jesus had cleared the Temple because it was being used inappropriately. Even in the midst of injustice—the state of the crippled and the iniquity of the moneychangers in the Temple—God creates justice through healing and indignation.

The Lord has shown what justice is shaped like, in order that the same justice might be applied by humanity as it exercises lordship over the earth. Like an animal or bird or fish in the sea relies upon humanity for care and justice, we human beings are to rely on the Lord through a foundation of trust. We may be sovereign over creation, but God is Sovereign over all.

God ordains praise for all the Creator has created, because of this justice that judges the wicked. Justice reigns.

For the balance that is the very feature of creation, God’s name is to be lauded as majestic over all the earth. The Lord has perfected righteous praise for himself.

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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