Ep033: Psalm 8: The Majesty of Humanity

Hi. I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.

Today we look at Psalm 8. Since we don’t know who wrote the psalm, I will refer to the author as “the poet.”

The first and last lines of the poem are exactly the same: “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” If I wrote a poem that started majestically like that, I would continue with a vision of magnificent mountains, stunning oceans, rippling rivers, wild forests, and grand canyons. But this poet took a completely different direction. He or she made humans central to the theme.

Building up to this theme, the poet says, “When I consider the heavens you made, the sun and moon and stars, the vastness of the universe, it makes humans look minute and insignificant.” But then verse 5 turns smallness into largeness. The poet says, “People may be small, but look! You made them just a little lower than the heavenly beings — little lower than the angels, a little lower than God himself.”

And he caps this observation with the word “glory.” Verse 2 says, “You have set your glory in the heavens.” That’s easy to agree with. Then verse 5 says, “You have crowned the humans with glory and honor.” There it is, God’s glory in the grand creation of the universe, God’s glory in the special creation of the human race. This human glory looks back to the climax of creation, Day 6, when God created man and woman in his own image. God gave them the gift of all the earth. He delegated to them the job of ruling and looking after creation. That is the glory of the human race, that is what it means to be the image of God — to receive from him the gift of the earth, to accept our job as God’s rulers and caretakers and representatives in the world.

Let’s pray.
Our father, how glorious is the universe you made. And how glorious are the people you created in your image. We see our species in its glory when it obeys to the mission you assigned.

  • When the UN creates World Heritage sites that preserve natural beauty and human history.
  • When national parks protect and honor animals and birds and all created things.
  • When governments are peaceful and well-ordered, when they care for the poor and honor all humans, when they create just laws and reward good behaviour.

But we also see our species in all its ugliness when it disobeys the mission you assigned.

  • When we pollute and overuse and destroy creation to satisfy greed and desire
  • When governments harass and oppress and make war on people, not seeing your image in them, not honoring the glory you gave them.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth. But what a mixed bag of glory and corruption we have brought to the task of representing you and caring for your creation. We thank you for Christ, who like us, became a little lower than the heavenly beings, so that he could begin your project to restore people and creation to the glory you intended.
Amen.

I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.

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