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Obviously a psalm meant to be used in worship, Psalm 8 praises Yahweh as the creator of heaven and earth. It was written by David for the director of music. The theme, ‘How majestic is your name in all the earth!’, is used as the bookends of the whole psalm, starting it off, and also ending it up. But not only is this a magnificent praise psalm glorifying God, it also paints a picture of what man ought to be—and what one man was.
David marvels over the vastness and complexity of the universe which God created (v.3), wondering how such a powerful and almighty God can care about human beings—so small and seemingly insignificant compared to the entire universe God has to play with. David asserts that not only does God care about man, but He has crowed him with eternal glory and made him ruler over all the earth. All of this was given to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Some of the blessings and honors are still man’s today. However, Adam gave up his right to be ruler over the whole world, with an eternal crown.
It is certainly true that mankind has a high place in the created order, because mankind was created in the image of God—the only creature to have been granted that distinction. But this psalm is another messianic prophecy. The term used in verse 4, ‘son of man’, was Jesus’ own favorite title for Himself. When speaking of Himself as the ‘son of man’, it was usually in context of His divine authority—and in verse 5 we see that He has indeed been granted a crown of glory and honor.
Jesus is the ruler over the whole world—flocks and herds, beasts, birds, and fish—all of those things which were to be ruled by Adam. Jesus is the second Adam, the son of man who has come to fulfill what Adam could not. What Adam failed to do, Jesus did perfectly. Therefore, He has been exalted to the highest place (Philippians 2.9). And if the internal references alone were not enough, Hebrews 2.6 quotes Psalm 8.4-5, applying the verses to Jesus.
Psalm 8 praises warrior God for vanquishing His enemies
(v.2), Almighty God for creating the vast and spacious heavens (v.3),
and father God for creating man with dignity, after His own image (v.5).
But most importantly of all, it praises Redeemer God for sending His only
begotten son, Jesus Christ, to finish what Adam could not. ‘Oh LORD,
our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!’
This paper originated as an extra credit assignment for Old Testament History, Missouri Baptist College, Fall, 2000.
©2000 by Jandy Stone