Perhaps it was while
David was attending sheep on a clear night with the
stars brightly shining that he picked up his
Gittith, a stringed instrument in the shape of a
winepress. He began to strum and chant these amazing
words of the Psalm he had written. What a tremendous
God! How marvelous is his name! How majestic is our
God! David's Psalm reflects on God’s glory and the
amazing fact that it is entirely under his control.
All of creation
reflects his glory.
The stars display the
glory of God. The earth is full of God's glory if we
will but stop to examine it (Psalm 19:1). The
Psalmist discovered that and declared: "O LORD, our
Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who
hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens!"
(Psalm 8:1). How "magnificent is your reputation
throughout the earth!" (NET).
The Lord God is sovereign
over his creation. It reflects his glory because it
is his handiwork. It is perfectly under his control.
No "big bang" theory could produce such a
magnificent piece of clockwork as our universe. The
more universes and galaxies the scientists discover
only emphasizes the glory and majesty of the Lord
God. An increasing number of scientists are
preferring the seeming intelligent "design" of
biological systems. There is a Master designer
behind the immense universe. The intelligent design
is becoming increasingly evident to the skilled
The glory of God is
magnified in his creation. The psalmist sees the
exalted position of man as the capstone of the
entire universe. Wonder of wonders is the fact the
Lord God can hold the Milky Way in one hand and take
infinite interest in me.
The Psalmist tells us in
verse two that God’s ways are not our ways. Modern
man emphasizes beauty, intellect, wealth, family
heritage and position. In contrast, God emphasizes
the weak and foolish in the eyes of the world. In
the humility and innocence of a child, he has
established strength. "From the mouths of children
and nursing babies you have ordained praise on
account of your adversaries, so that you might put
an end to the vindictive enemy" (Psalm 8:2 NET). The
LORD causes to "cease an enemy and an avenger."
God has chosen to reveal
himself in such marvelous ways that children
understand him. God is so secure in his honor and
majesty that he can leave the defense of his name to
babes. Uncorrupted and unbiased minds recognize God
without any difficulty. What had impressed the
Psalmist was the fact that the transcendent glory of
God could still be grasped and expressed by a child.
His greatness is far above all the heavens can still
be comprehended and appreciated by a child. God will
reveal himself to us if we will humble ourselves as
a child and believe on him.
The praise of little
children is a symphony in the ears of God. Jesus
cared for the little children (Mark 10:16; Matthew
18:2-10). We have to become as little children
before we can enter the kingdom of God (Matthew
What the Psalmist teaches
is confirmed by an incident from the New Testament.
In Matthew 21:14-16 the Lord Jesus quotes the words
of this psalm. This was not a children's choir,
trained by the temple leaders. This was a band of
ordinary children in the streets of Jerusalem who
happened to be there at the time Jesus healed the
blind and the lame. However, when these children saw
these wonderful things they began to cry out,
"Praise be to the Son of David! Hosanna to the Son
of David!" The scribes and chief priests were
indignant. They thought Jesus ought to silence these
children. Instead, Jesus said these are the ones who
comprehend the will of God. They understand that
here is being manifested the healing power of God.
This is the prediction of David in the eighth Psalm
that God's marvelous simplicity can be conveyed to a
child much more easily than it can to an adult.
Jesus said on another
occasion, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and
earth, because you have hidden these things from the
wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little
children" (Matt. 11:25 NET). The apostle Paul made a
similar observation in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.
Man is the Crown of
Even though the universe
is a marvelous handiwork of God, man is the greatest
expression of God’s thought. How much greater is he
than the stars. The destiny of the redeemed man is
eternity in fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, the destiny of the stars is fire (II Peter
3:12). Not only do we see the glory of God in his
creative handiwork, but we also see it in the
highest form of his creation. We see God's glory in
the consideration of man.
The Psalmist writes:
"When I look up at the heavens, which your fingers
made, and see the moon and the stars, which you set
in place, Of what importance is the human race, that
you should notice them? Of what importance is
mankind, that you should pay attention to them?"
Some wag has added, "If
God so cares for the stars, will he not much more
care for our souls?" It reminds us of the words
Jesus said to his disciples, "Look at the birds in
the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into
barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t
you more valuable than they are?" (Matthew 6:26
Catechism reminds us, "The chief end of man is
to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." It pleased
God to make a people for Himself. God created all
things for his glory. God has so invested man with a
position and dignity that is second only to the
Godhead. He created man for a divine purpose.
"What is man, that Thou
dost take thought of him?" (Psalm 8:4a). The word
for man here is Enosh, frail man, mortal man, and
puny man. It describes man from his impotence,
frailty, mortality, and inability to fulfill God’s
purpose because of sin. Yet, he is still the crown
of creation. Man is God-made, not self-made. We bear
upon us the fingerprints of the infinite. Man is not
the plaything of the universe. Strange that man can
reach such heights and depths, majesty and meanness,
angel and devil, deity and dust, honored and
horrible, fellowship and foolishness (cf. Rom. 3:23;
"And the son of man, that
Thou dost care for him?" (v. 4b). The word of man
here is Ben Adam. God visits the "son of man." He is
the special object of God’s love. Man in sin and
shame can not visit God. However, God in his mercy
chose to visit man. "TNow the Word became flesh and
took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the
glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth,
who came from the Father" (John 1:14 NET). The
"Word" was none other than the second person of the
God–head, Jesus Christ. He chose to redeem us. "We
see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a
little while, now crowned with glory and honor
because he suffered death, so that by God’s grace he
would experience death on behalf of everyone"
(Hebrews 2:9 NET).
The love of God
condescends to this frail man who has come short of
the glory of God. That condescension is seen in the
Son of God (Cf. John 3:16). The apostle Paul wrote:
"But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us"
(Romans 5:8 NET).
Verse five forcefully
declares: "Yet Thou hast made him a little lower
than God (Elohim), and dost crown him with glory and
majesty!" The NET Bible follows the more traditional
reading: "and make them a little less than the
heavenly beings? You grant mankind honor and
God made man to be a
little less than God is (8:5). Some perhaps are
startled by that translation, for the King James
Version says, "a little lower than the angels."
However, it was the Septuagint, the Greek
translation of the Old Testament, which used the
phrase "the angels." The Hebrew actually says
"little less than Elohim," i.e., a little lower than
There is no place in the
Old Testament where Elohim means angels. The
Septuagint LXX has passed from them into the New
Testament at Hebrews 2:7. Genesis 1:26, 27 man is
made in the image of God, not angels.
What is included in that
remarkable expression is the revelation of God's
purpose for man. According to the Bible, angels were
created as ministering spirits, but man was created
in the image of God. No where are we told in the
Bible that angels were created in the image of God.
The Psalmist is obviously
thinking of the primordial man, the first Adam
before the fall. He is referring to the fullness of
his power and reflection of the majesty of the
Creator, who had patterned man after himself.
Hebrews 2:7, 9 helps us to understand the correct
interpretation of these words of the Psalmist.
evangelical Old Testament scholars have stressed
that ‘elohim should be translated in its plain,
simple, and regular meaning "God." "Angels" as a
substitution for "God" is a poor translation.
The Last Adam
The fullest realization
of man’s dignity and excellencies find their
fulfillment only in the person of Christ Jesus. Man
originally created sinless is a clear foreshadowing
of Christ. "So also it is written, 'The first
man, Adam, became a living person'; the last Adam
became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual
did not come first, but the natural, and then the
spiritual" (I Corinthians 15:45–46 NET). The "first
Adam" prefigures much of that which becomes vital in
the life of the "last Adam." Adam prefigures Jesus
Christ as a type. He is a clear foreshadowing of all
the excellencies of Jesus Christ. What was said of
Adam may well be claimed for Christ, but in a far
more perfect manner. The glory of God is perfectly
revealed in the Son of Man’s dignity. In Jesus
Christ we see demonstrated the true character of the
first Adam. The fullest realization of Adam as a
type is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
If you see Adam only as a
glorified ape, you will never see the beauty of
God’s handiwork. The "first Adam" prefigures the
"last Adam." The first Adam prefigures what Christ
is. What is seen in the first Adam is perfected in
the last Adam. Each time I read the gospels I marvel
at the perfect Man manifesting so perfectly the
image and glory of God.
The New Testament offers
over fifty different titles that people gave to
Jesus. However, there is one title that no one gave
him, that of Son of Man. He alone called himself by
that title. No one else did. He is the one Son, par
excellence. He does what the Father does. He creates
a new humanity, and a new heaven and a new earth.
Lord of all
This perfect dominion as
described in Psalm eight is true only in Christ. He
alone is Lord of all creation.
Psalm 8:6-7 can be
ultimately true only in the God–Man, Jesus Christ.
"You appoint them to rule over your creation; you
have placed everything under their authority,
including all the sheep and cattle, as well as the
wild animals" (NET). What awesome power!
I can think of a few
examples from the life of Jesus as recorded in the
Remember how Jesus
changed water into wine at a wedding in Cana of
Galilee (John 2:1-11).
He quieted the winds and
the waves of a raging storm on the Sea of Galilee
with the words, "Peace, be still" (Mark 4:39).
Christ rode an unbroken
colt into Jerusalem (Luke 19:30–36).
At the trial of Jesus a
rooster crowed at the precise moment just as He had
predicted to Peter (Matthew 26:34, 74–75).
At the command of Jesus,
Peter cast his net into the sea and caught a certain
fish with a coin in its mouth. That coin in the
mouth of the fish was of the exact amount needed to
pay the Temple tax for the two of them (Matthew
Everything is under the
sovereign dominion of Christ. Mark 1:13 tells us
that while being tempted in the wilderness for forty
days by Satan Jesus "was with the wild beats, and
the angels were ministering to Him." One scholar
notes the verb suggests companionship between them
and Jesus. It foreshadows the day when all creation
is under his dominion in Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25.
We shall be like
The dominion of Christ is
not limited to the animal creation. Christ is the
head of his church. Am I dominated by a spirit of
worldliness or by the Lord Jesus? Am I overcoming
the world and dominating it by the Holy Spirit? Is
He Lord and Master of my life? Am I obedient to Him?
The apostle Paul writes
in I Corinthians 15:25-28, quoting Psalm 8:6 in v.
27 the following verses: "For he must reign until he
has put all his enemies under his feet. The last
enemy to be eliminated is death. For he has put
everything in subjection under his feet. But when it
says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is
clear that this does not include the one who put
everything in subjection to him. And when all things
are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be
subjected to the one who subjected everything to
him, so that God may be all in all" (NET). Did you
notice that the last enemy to be conquered is death?
When Christ comes a
second time we shall be just like Him. I John 3:2
says, "Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and
what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know
that whenever it is revealed we will be like him,
because we will see him just as he is" (NET).
This Psalm helps us
to understand our present position in Christ.
Man reaches his fullest
realization only in Christ. Thus, redeemed humanity
has been elevated by means of the new birth to
highest rank of all crated beings. We are elevated
to the most sublime height possible short of
becoming members of the trinity itself. Salvation is
a restoration to what God intended when he made man
in the first place. When we see Jesus, we see how
far we have fallen and what God intended man to be.
Now that we have been redeemed, God sees us in
Christ. He is the pattern of normal humanity.
True greatness of man can
only be manifested as the Holy Spirit makes him new,
and as he comes to grow up in him in all things who
is the head, even Christ.
Note to what heights the
child of God is raised. God has exalted redeemed
humanity to such a sublime height that it is
impossible for him to elevate them further without
breaching the Godhead. See how much God loves you!
See what He has done for you in his grace. He has
invested man with a dignity that is second only to
his own and made him ruler over the world that he
Do you wake up every
morning and say to yourself, "I am a child of God. I
have been forgiven of my sins. I am accepted in
God’s family. He has marked me out as his own. He
has put his Spirit within me, releasing to me the
full–life of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am equipped to
handle whatever comes today. I can take whatever
life throws at me because I have him and all the
fullness of his life." This is where you find
identity, security, significance and sufficiency for
your spiritual life. We are his handiwork! You are
made in Christ!
Man was created to have
dominion over God’s creation (see Genesis 2:6–9).
However, man has perverted it by trying to have
dominion over his fellow men. Man has not tamed the
wild life. We see attempts at it in the circus and
zoo. The child does not play with the adder. The
lion and the lamb do not lie down together. Only on
this website do you see it! But there is a day
coming when they will!
In Philippians 2:9-11 the
Apostle Paul declares this great exaltation of
Christ at his Second Coming.
"As a result God exalted
him and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow –
in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and
every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to
the glory of God the Father" (NET).
"O Lord, our Lord, how
magnificent is your reputation throughout the
earth!" (Psalm 8:9 NET).
Index to this Series on
the Christ in the Old Testament
Title: Psalm 8:1-9 God's
Glory Revealed in the Son of Man
Christ in the Old Testament