“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.”
Psalm 8: 1
This Psalm’s authorship is traditionally assigned to David. The ‘Director of Music,’ or ‘Great Musician,’ is assigned this Psalm (see note on 12th Jan re this point). The term ‘gittith’ is not really understood, it is most likely a musical term. It is used only for two other Psalms which are of a similar joyous character to this Psalm; therefore it is probable that we are reading a hymn of praise, one to be sung.
The first and last verses of this Psalm point with majestic simplicity to the glory of God in His creation. Creation itself makes God known, showing His divine nature and invisible qualities to humankind; there is no doubt that God is God (Romans 1: 19-20).
Sincere and beautiful praise emanates from the hearts of children and infants. This truth silences those opposed to God (vs. 2). Jesus Himself quoted this verse as children sang His praises in the temple to the consternation of the Chief Priests and Teachers (Matthew 21: 14-16). Elsewhere Jesus taught that we need faith like children, simple and true (Matthew 19: 13-14).
We then enter an area which is debated amongst commentators, does the remaining Psalm refer to Jesus Christ Himself or humankind in general? Verse 4 holds the answer I believe, “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, the son of man that you care for him?” We see firstly ‘mankind’ addressed and we affirm the role God has given us over His creation; we also see the wonder that God has done this and is mindful of us. We identify Jesus, the Son of Man, who was made lower than the angels but then crowned in glory (5, Hebrews 2: 6-7), where all things have been put under Him (6-8, 1 Corinthians 15: 27). So we see the great love of God towards us in creation AND we see His Son Jesus Christ who provides redemption and reconciliation.
When I feel the darkness of despair, the sense of being overwhelmed or the confusion of multiplicity of issues I often find peace and solace in God’s creation. Stilling myself and gazing at, being in, the wonder of God’s majesty within His heavens and earth changes my perspective. I see the truth and power of God, I marvel at the fact that He even knows me and I wonder anew at the grace of His salvation in Jesus. This produces praise in my heart and I am able to sing anew of His excellence. The matters that distressed me decrease in their insignificance as the reality of God’s greatness grows in my heart. Childlike faith is renewed and the Holy Spirit makes alive again the Words of the Bible and the closeness of my brother Jesus Christ.
The Question of Application
Try setting aside time to gaze at God’s beauty in the night sky, in His creation (even via the wonderful nature documentaries that abound). Then wonder at the truth that He knows you, knows your name. Pray, sing, this Psalm and meditate on many of the truths found within…..such as: the revelation of God in creation; His majesty; the simplicity and innocence of childlike faith; our responsibilities for God’s creation; the humbling and glorification of Jesus Christ; His authority over all things; and the gift of grace. Praise will change your perspective!
Blessed are you, creator of heaven and earth; amid the immensity of the universe, you are mindful of us and seek us out. Blessed are you for the gift of your Son, who humbled himself to share our life that we might be raised with him to glory and splendour. Blessed be your holy name, Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen
Creation Sings – Stuart Townend and the Getty’s
Now thank we all our God – OCP Session Choir
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.