Summary: A consideration of the majesty of God as declared by David in Psalm 8.
As one reads this psalm, he notices that the first and last verses are exactly the same. For this reason, many Bible scholars refer to psalms like this one as “envelope Psalms.” The psalmist makes a declaration, then proceeds to justify it. Having done so, he then concludes by making the same declaration again. David begins this psalm by declaring the majesty of God. He then proceeds to justify his statement by explaining his reasons for declaring, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
1. The Majesty of His Works - vs. 1b-2
A. His creation of the world - v. 1b
David speaks in verse 3 of his consideration of the heavens.
Consequently, he declares, “You have set Your glory above the heavens!” No doubt, as a shepherd boy, he had watched the stars night after night. He knew well the moon and the stars; and knew enough to be awed at the might, the majesty, and the mystery of God as creator.
David’s awe should be totally eclipsed by ours. When Galileo turned his telescope on the sky and announced to the world that the earth was not the center of the universe, an outraged pope ordered him to deny his discovery. But it was no use: the secret was out!
There was far more out there than man had ever dreamed. There were stars and planets. in bewildering number, of staggering dimensions, traveling at
inconceivable speeds, reaching further and further into unimaginable depths, and all of it is a tribute to the majesty of God. For, as David observed in verse 3, it is the work of His finger!
B. His conquest of the wicked - v. 2
The word, “praise” could be translated, “strength.” Either way, David’s point is that God doesn’t need armies to conquer His foes, He can do so through the humblest of means imaginable - a little infant.
It is likely that David is referring to Moses. To humble Pharaoh, God did not summon the Assyrians or mobilize the Macedonians. Instead, He sent a baby to a Hebrew home. The infant was hidden among the bulrushes and found by Pharaoh’s daughter. As the princess looked down at the little boy, he cried. That tear sped like an arrow to the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter, and, disdaining her father’s decree, she raised that Hebrew child as her own. She called him Moses, and in the fullness of time, Moses humbled Egypt to the dust.
God’s majesty is seen in His conquest of the wicked; and as we think of the fact that God can conquer His foes through use of the weakest vessel imaginable - an infant - we cannot help but reflect on the baby born in Bethlehem, in the fullness of time. God has used that infant to conquer the kingdom of Satan. Yes, God’s majesty is seen in His conquest of the wicked!
2. The Majesty of His Ways - vs. 3-8
A. The personal interest He has in us - vs. 3-4
How wonderful to know that God is more interested in people than planets; more interested in souls than in stars; more interested in us than the universe!
David uses two words here for “man.” The first word is “enosh.” This title for man literally means “mortal” and speaks of the length of man’s life.
As James said, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” - James 4:14 (NIV).
The second word is “adamah,” translated here, “son of man.”
Literally, “adamah” means “dust” and speaks of the strength of man’s life.
“The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty,
if we have the strength.” - Psalm 90:10a (NIV)
The point here is that as insignificant as man is, God still cares about us; and not only does he care about mankind in general, but He cares about each of us as individuals!
In the King James Version, verse 4 reads as follows: “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” While the NIV translates it, “cares,” the KJV translates it “visits.” The point of the King James Version is that God wants to “visit” us, to have a personal relationship with us. To visit someone is perhaps the best way in which I can demonstrate personal interest and concern for them. Such is the level of God’s interest in us!
It’s amazing to think that the creator of the heavens and the earth wants to have a personal relationship with me! As Stuart Hamlin wrote:
“How big is God? How big and wide his vast domain?
To try and tell, these lips can only start.
He’s big enough to rule this mighty universe;