Why Do We Sing Psalm 8?
To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
How do you know God is great? Before we answer that, let’s answer a few other questions.
How do we know Debussy is a great composer? I suppose we look at his music - not just its popularity, but its intrinsic beauty.
How do we know that Archimedes was a great inventor? We could look at his inventions and measure their value not just in his time, but also how we still use those inventions today.
How do we know Houdini was a great illusionist? We must look at his work, how people still marvel at his acts and even today are unable to figure out how he performed some of his illusions.
So how do we know God is great? Americans tend to personalize this question - “I know God is great because of what He’s done in my life.” Obviously, we must have an individual relationship with God even as we relate to Him as a corporate people, but we must also look outside ourselves. God’s name is majestic in all the earth, and that is where we must look.
It is no coincidence if this Psalm reminded you of the Creation account in Genesis 1. Just as we have not met any of the “greats” mentioned above, we cannot come face-to-face with God. We must look, among many places, to Creation to see His greatness.
And what we see is space, in all its beauty and vastness – our God is a big and beautiful God
What we is the moon, stars, and planets with all their regularity – God cares about order. He is not a God of chaos
What we see is a great God.
So what is man? Nothing, right? Worship is all about God – our job is to divert any glory coming our way directly to God. Well, yes...except God makes a big deal about us.
We are made a little lower than the heavenly beings (in this case, referring to angels). We are crowned with glory and honor and given dominion over the things God has made. Imagine Archimedes asking you to care for his inventions. What if Houdini entrusted you with the secrets to all his illusions and then asked you to continue working on them?
You would feel honored. And if sin were not in the picture, you would feel humbled. Instead of trying to take all the glory for yourself, you would simply give all glory to the creators as you studied their work. That’s one of the main reasons we’ve been given nature and dominion over it, so that as we continue to care for it and discover more and more of its wonders and beauty, we would glorify the Creator with a resounding chorus:
“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”
Why We Sing This Psalm
Sin has rightly made us hesitant to acknowledge any good in humans. But part of what Christ has done in redeeming humanity is to restore in us a proper understanding of who we are in Him – not wretched sinners who have no good in them, but saints who are made in the image of their good God and find their greatest joy in worshiping Him.
Before Adam and Eve were sinners, they were God’s creation. Likewise, in the eyes of our Maker, we are his creation before we are sinners in need of a Savior. When Christ does save us, He not only saves us from our sin, but He saves us to something, as well. One of the goals of salvation is returning us to good and wise dominion over nature. Singing this Psalm not only reminds us individually and corporately of this beautiful truth and responsibility, it also encourages us as God’s people to function as we were created to.
To help you sing these truth, consider these songs:
Psalm 8 - The Corner Room
Psalm 8 (In All the Earth) - The Psalms Project