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The Name And Glory Of God And His Purpose For Man

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Introduction

To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.

People perceive creation as a glimpse of God’s existence and power. But the psalmist David gazed into the sky and understood exactly what he saw: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place” (Psalm 8:3). Psalm 8 celebrates the majestic name and glory of God as Creator and the dignity and significance of human beings as the crown of God’s creation.

Let’s delve into Psalm 8, where we can clearly witness the majesty of God and understand our significance within His creation. David is the author of this psalm, which is a praise psalm expressing the psalmist’s meditation and admiration of God and His creation. The psalmist meditates on and declares God’s majestic name and glory over all and on all, as seen in His works. The psalmist also reflects on God’s special priority and plan for humanity in His creation on earth, highlighting the smallness and insignificance of the world and man compared to the heavens and angels. The psalmist emphasizes that everything and everyone begins and ends with God, with the first and last verses declaring admiration and exaltation of God’s excellent and majestic name.

The content outline of Psalms 8 begins with the declarations of God’s personal covenanted name revealed to the children of Israel and His name as Master. In verse 1, the psalmist proclaims God’s name and glory. In verse 2, the psalmist examines the power of the Lord. In verse 3, God’s remarkable and wonderful work is revealed. Verses 4 through 8 proclaim who a man is to God and God’s priority and special plan for man over His creation. The last verse, verse 9, ends with a repetition of admiration and adoration of God’s excellent name.

The Preeminence of God – His Supremacy and Sovereignty

The Name of God – Earth

“ O LORD, our Lord,”

The term “LORD” is a literal translation of “Yahweh,” which is the personal revealed covenant name given to Israel. It represents the covenant-keeping God of Israel, the I-Am-that-I-Am. On the other hand, “Lord,” translated from “Adonai,” denotes a master or sovereign ruler. Both titles of God signify two important names: Yahweh, the personal revealed and covenant name of God to his chosen people, and Adonai, the master or ruler over everyone and everything.

“How excellent is Your name in all the earth,”

The psalmist recognizes and admires the excellence of the name of the Lord. The Hebrew word for excellent is “ad. dir,” which means majestic, reverence, pertaining to a state of grandeur and high status, denoting mightiness and strength. The name of the Lord is God himself. The name of the Lord is the representation of God. The name of the Lord is the reflection of God. The name of the Lord is the reputation of God. God’s name embodies who He is, what He has done, and what He does and will do. The name of the Lord is mighty. The name of the Lord is great. The name of the Lord is incredible. The name of the Lord is beautiful. The name of the Lord is praiseworthy. The name of the Lord is exalted. His excellent name is proclaimed and praised as “in all the earth,” Earth as in a place (in its entirety) and Earth as its people (including all people in the world). God desires to make Himself known to man, and his great name is manifested through His works and His revelations of Himself to people. All people in all places on Earth should celebrate the glorious name of the Lord. The names are not merely labels but representations of God’s personality, presence, purpose and power manifested and revealed in all creation.

The Glory of God – Heaven

“Who have set Your glory above the heavens!”

The Hebrew word for glory, “hod,” signifies a state of high honour and status. It refers to God’s splendour, presence, and authority. The glory of the Lord is displayed and demonstrated “above the heavens,” indicating God’s incomparable magnitude and infinite glory. This glory surpasses the beauty, power, intelligence, and splendour of heaven and angels. The glory of God permeates the heavens, and the heavens declare and celebrate God’s glory (Ps. 19:1)

His works in both the Earth and Heavens demonstrate and magnify his glory. We witness the universal manifestation of God in nature, bearing His name and glory, permeating the heavens and the earth. His name is to be praised and feared all over the earth – more popular than any other name, past, present, and future. His glory is higher than the heavens. God’s name is more excellent than the beauty of the heavens and the earth. The name of the Lord and the glory of the Lord are above the heavens and the earth (Ps.148:13)

The Power of God

Through Children

Psalms 8:2 (NKJV) 2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants

You have ordained strength,

Because of Your enemies,

That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.

God has ordained strength from the mouths of both babes and nursing infants. The word “ordained” in Hebrew is “acad” (H3245) which means to lay a foundation and appoint (Ps. 8:2; 1Chr. 9:22). Strength is established by God from the mouths of babes and nursing infants. The Hebrew words “olel” and “yoneq” refer to nursing infants (1 Kings 3:21) but can indicate children up to three years of age. God can display His power through children. He uses small things to accomplish incredible things. Great results can come from small actions when ordained by the Lord. The Son of God was born of a woman and carried in her womb to defeat the enemy (Gen. 16:10). The psalmist compares the weakness and vulnerability of infants to the enemies of God. He asserts that God utilizes even the words of the most helpless individuals regarding God to protect His people. The babies and infants symbolize the people of Israel and believers (Deut. 7:6-10 & 1 Cor. 1:26-29). They are perceived as weak compared to the powerful, unbelieving Gentiles and the world, who are considered foes and adversaries against God. In Matthew 21:16, Jesus quotes this verse to demonstrate to the Pharisees that the children were perceiving reality before they could. God has given strength to children who are naturally weak, vulnerable, and powerless to silence His enemies. Although children may seem insignificant, they can understand the truth about God. Jesus said that one must accept the kingdom of God as a little child to enter it (Matthew 18:3; 11:25). 

Through His Fingers in Heaven

Psalms 8:3 (NKJV) When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,

The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,

To consider means to perceive with attention direct one’s gaze towards.  “The work of Your fingers” refers to the heavens as the work of God’s fingers. The heavens belong to God and are the work of His fingers. David, as a shepherd, would have had many opportunities to see and consider the heavens. David omits the sun here, indicating his meditation was at night. If he had considered the heavens in the day, all he could have seen would be the sun and sky, not the moon and stars. These he wished to introduce because of their immense variety and splendour—the sun he describes in Ps. 19:1-6. The finger of God symbolizes His power. For example, in Scripture, Pharaoh’s magicians attributed the third plague to the finger of God (Exodus 8:19). Additionally, the finger of God wrote the law on stone tablets (Exodus 31:18; Deuteronomy 9:10). In the New Testament, Jesus cast out demons by the finger of God (Luke 11:20). A specific list of God’s work mentioned by the psalmist includes the moon and the stars, created by God. The Hebrew word for “ordained” is “kuwn” (H3559), which means to form, prepare, and establish. These great bodies are meant to inspire awe and reverential fear for Yahweh’s sovereign power.

The Prominence of Man – The Significance & Status of Man

God’s Priority and Plan for Humanity

Psalms 8:4 (NKJV) 4 What is man that You are mindful of him,

And the son of man that You visit him?

Job 7:17-18 (NKJV) 17 “What is man, that You should exalt him,

That You should set Your heart on him,

18 That You should visit him every morning,

And test him every moment?

The psalmist posed two profound questions about man to God: “What is man that You are mindful of him”? This question emphasizes the constant attention and care God bestows upon humanity, both male and female, who are created in His image and likeness. Let’s delve into the word “mindful.” It originates from the Hebrew word “zakar,” which conveys the idea of continually marking or remembering, like perpetual incense rising, setting the heart upon, and constantly keeping a merciful view. It also implies keeping something or someone in mind for attention or consideration.

The second question is, “Who is the son of man that You visit him?” “Son of man” signifies being born of flesh and blood. The term “visit” carries deep significance, suggesting God’s intentional decision to provide attention, intervention, fellowship, and relationship with humanity. This action from God should evoke awe, wonder, and a desire to welcome God into our lives.

The vastness of the universe and other supernatural entities highlights humanity’s insignificance yet underscores God’s mindfulness and divine visits to man. God, the supreme creator, involves himself and interacts with humanity. He gives special attention and focus to humanity in creation.  “For You have made him a little lower than the angels. The Hebrew word here, elohim, often refers to God but can also refer to other spiritual beings, such as the gods or angels (Psa 82:1, 6). In comparison, man’s relationship with angels: God made man a little lower than the angels. Despite His great glory, God graciously cares for the human race, inspiring our highest priority to seek Him in return. The psalmist’s central thought is man, not nature. Nature reflects God’s glory, but humanity is even more wondrous. The true marvel of the universe is God’s priority and purpose for man. David seeks to understand humanity through the lens of the creation in Genesis and our relationship with Jesus Christ. God is mindful of humanity and desires to visit man in the cool of the day, from our creation in Genesis to our redemption through Christ (Gen. 3:8).

The Glory & Honor of Man

Psalms 8:5 (NKJV) 5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels,

And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

The psalmist explains how Yahweh bestows significance upon humanity. Not only does Yahweh give special attention to humanity, but He also elevates humanity’s position by putting them in charge of His creation. The true source of human glory comes from the glory of God, not from our own efforts or achievements. “Crowned him with glory and honor” describes humanity as God’s kingly representative on earth. We are high and noble, just short of divinity. We are below divinity and above all other creation. We, as humans, have things that only God has, not animals.

Therefore, God has given humanity an elevated position in creation to display glory and honor.” Man is distinct because he is the image bearer of God in reflection, representation, and reputation. A man without God is nothing but dust; all he does will be in vain. Therefore, man must be humble, stay humble, and act in His Name, giving glory to God in all things. Man is nothing without God, but with God, man is something.

The Purpose of Man – The Superiority of Man

Dominion of Man

Psalms 8:6-8 (NKJV) 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;

You have put all things under his feet,

7 All sheep and oxen—

Even the beasts of the field,

8 The birds of the air,

And the fish of the sea

That pass through the paths of the seas.

Genesis 1:28 (NKJV) 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

The three profound reasons behind God’s creation of man are as follows: Reflection, which encompasses our walk and ways; Relationship, which is the essence of our worship and fellowship; and Rulership, which signifies our dominion over the works of God’s hand on the earth. This dominion is not just a privilege but a responsibility, a reputation to display a positive image and demonstrate God’s divine plan to the world. God made man have dominion over God’s creation (living and non-living things) except angels. The phrase “under his feet” is applied to Christ in the New Testament (1 Cor. 15:27–28) and also quoted in the book of Hebrews 2:5–9. Both passages declare Christ’s ultimate lordship and reign, which will one day be fully realized in the world. The true honour given to humanity lies in the position that God has granted us to rule over his creations on Earth. This includes having dominion over animals, birds, and sea creatures. Charge over all the categories of animal kingdom– in the land, in the air and the sea.  Man should exercise stewardship and servanthood in his dominion over the lower animals. He has rights and responsibilities towards the mammals, birds, and fish.

Every dish of fish and fowl that comes to our table is an example of our dominion over the works of God’s hands. It reminds us of our subjection to God, our ultimate Lord, and His dominion over us. The awe-inspiring fact is that this Psalm remarkably prophesies the coming of the Son of God and the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus came to reveal the excellent name of the Father and to glorify the Father (Joh 12:27-28). He has sovereign dominion, and all things are under his feet. He is adorned with glory and honour by God. For a time, He was made lower than angels when He took the form of a servant.  

Conclusion

Psalms 8:9 (NKJV) 9 O LORD, our Lord,

How excellent is Your name in all the earth!

The psalm ends with a repetition of praise in the first verse, reflecting on the excellence and majestic name of the Lord. Both the first and last verses express admiration for God’s name, extolling and exalting it. When we consider the majesty of God’s beautiful works in the universe, we cannot help but wonder why He would notice such a mere creature as man. What has God given humanity? God has graciously bestowed and entrusted man with three valuable things: He crowned him with glory (Psa. 8:5), honour (Psa. 8:5), and dominion over the works of His hands (Psa. 8:6-8). God’s works beautifully showcased His excellent name and glory in the heavens, the earthly creation, and in man—His image-bearer. As the image bearer of God, man serves as a steward, representing and reflecting God on earth with glory, honour, and dominion. Let’s joyfully celebrate God’s name across the whole world and glorify Him in all things. In summary, Psalm 8 seems to reflect on God’s nature and supreme authority. It emphasizes God’s role as the creator and sustainer of everything and everyone and the importance of acknowledging His sovereignty. This Psalm addresses the general significance of man and the honour bestowed upon him by God in his creation. It also specifically refers to Jesus Christ, whom God elevated to a position of honor and authority in order to fulfill his great and glorious work. Christ is the primary focus of this Psalm, as confirmed by Jesus himself (Matthew 21:16) and his apostles (1 Corinthians 15:27; Hebrews 2:6, 2:7). Jesus Christ has given us His name. Where two or three are gathered in His name, He will be present (Matt. 18:20).

As followers of Christ, it is crucial to practice humility and glorify God, acknowledging that without Him, we are merely dust. Let’s remember not to use the Lord’s name in vain, but to proudly celebrate His name in all aspects of life, wherever we go and whoever we meet. Let’s be encouraged to be visible and vocal about the excellent and glorious name of the Lord.

Contributor: By Brahim M. Kallon

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