Summary: To note the special place given to man so that man will be grateful and glorify the giver.

“What is Man?”

Text: Psalm 8

Thesis: To note the special place given to man so that man will be grateful and glorify the giver.


(1) Edmond Jacob called Psalm 8: “Genesis 1 set to music” and “the best commentary on Genesis 1” (Qtd. in Taylor 19).

(2) “This psalm is an unsurpassed example of what a hymn should be, celebrating as it does the glory and grace of God, rehearsing who He is and what He has done, and relating us and our world to Him; all with a masterly economy of words, and in a spirit of mingled joy and awe” (Kidner 66).

(3) Most commentators classify this as “a hymn of creation praise” (e.g., VanGemeren 109).

(4) We shall note 3 main points as we ponder “What is Man?”:


I. The Superior Position held by God (vv. 1-2):

A. “The title our Lord is an address to God as king” (VanGemeren 110).

B. The psalmist even reveres the very name of God.

1. “The Hebrew people lived under a law that warned them against taking the Lord’s name in vain (Exod. 20.7; Deut. 5.11)” (Taylor 20).

2. “The word majestic is a royal attribute denoting his victories (Exod. 15.6), his might in judgment (1 Sam. 4.8; Ps. 76.4), his law (Isa. 42.21), and his rule over creation (Ps. 93.4)” (VanGemeren 110).

3. “All creation reveals the power and glory of God’s name (Rom. 1.20)” (110).

C. Why does God hold such a position?

1. “His glory is established, and no enemy can overcome his kingdom” (111).

2. “The continuity of the human race is God’s way of assuring the ultimate glorification of an earth populated with a new humanity (Hab. 2.14)” (111).

3. God is the creator and sustainer (Gen. 1.1).

II. The Special Place given to man (vv. 3-8):

A. “In contrast to God, the heavens are tiny, pushed and prodded into shape by the divine digits; but in contrast to the heavens, which seem so vast in the human perception, it is mankind that is tiny” (Craige 108).

B. “In such vastness, it is inconceivable that human beings have significance or meaning; it is inconceivable that God […] could remember each human being or give attention to each person” (108).

C. Man has been made a little lower than God (v. 5).

1. The word for God here is elohim, and some translations render it as “angels.”

2. It is quoted in Heb. 2.6-8.

3. Regardless, man has been given an exalted position.

D. Man is crowned with glory and honor.

1. Man is made in the very image of God (Gen. 1.26).

2. “Man’s position is elevated to royalty, but a derived royalty. God remains far above man” (VanGemeren 113).

E. Man is made ruler over God’s creation.

1. “Man is God’s appointed governor over creation” (114).

2. Sidenote: V. 8b. “paths of the sea” – Matthew Fontaine Murray (1806-1873) discovered these – Scientific foreknowledge

III. Therefore, man Should Praise God (v. 9):

A. Since God is God and has been mindful of man, then naturally man should praise the Creator.

B. Our lives should cause others to see God in us (Matt. 5.16) – Thus, we are being living sacrifices (Rom. 12.1-2) – Not just verbal praise but praise in our actions

C. Solomon well summed it up in Ecc. 12:13 – Fear/Reverence God and keep His commands b/c this is the purpose of man


(1) We serve a wonderful God who looks down upon us.

(2) Let us look up to Him daily.

(3) Are you looking to Him?

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