Today: [Psalms Eight] Are Angels Better than Us? In Psalm 2 David speaks of the glory of God and he contrasts the creation of man with the status of angels in the kingdom. There is much speculation about the names of angels and the disposition of angels. This psalm does imply that man is created in his natural form lower in status than angels that serve God. At the same time David declares that though man is lower than angels they nonetheless serve man because God has given man dominion and authority that exceeds that of even the most powerful angelic being.
[Psa 8:1-9 KJV] 1 [[To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.]] O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
This psalm is also composed by king David to be played upon an instrument called a “gittith”. The word means “wine press” and originates in Gath where the giant Goliath hailed from. Apparently the Israelites borrowed the use of this instrument from the culture of the Philistines. The reference to the wine press suggests that it would commonly used in the time of the grape harvest perhaps as accompaniment to the treading out of grapes. To choose this instrument may be an indication that the underlying subtext of the psalm is prophetic in nature speaking of the overspreading sovereignty of God not just over the Hebrew people but all the peoples of the earth.
David declares that the name of the Lord is not just excellent to the people of Israel but it is excellent in all the earth. Ancient deities were often considered to be specific and limited in their domain to the people’s they worshipped. Those from other nations were excluded but here David takes a universal perspective seeing the excellency of God and the sovereignty of God to encompass all of the earth and creation as well which is a departure from the thinking of many ancient cultures about their gods.
David states that God has set His glory above the heavens. This is an Old Testament perspective because in Christ according to Col. 1:27 God has put His glory in us. Jesus agreed with this in His perspective about heaven, the kingdom and the glory of God when He said in Luke 17:21 that the kingdom is not found through outward inquiry but inward revelation – the kingdom of God is IN the believer. Where the Old Testament believer looked outwardly we inquire inwardly – the ark of the covenant for us is not in a religious artifact it is in our hearts.
The word glory here means “to lift, to become lofty”. It speaks of God’s imminence and beauty and also means “to swell” which implies that God’s glory is that aspect of Himself that He exalts within us and enlarges within us when He takes His residence within the human heart. He wants us to see that in making His throne in our hearts He is not demeaning us but beautifying us with His nature and his effulgence. The New Testament word for glory means “the outraying of the divine” by which God shines out of our hearts and is reflected in our lives to all those around us.
In verse 2 we see a passage that is quoted by Jesus regarding praise. In the verse in Psalms it says that out of the mouths of babes God has ordained strength. Jesus reinterprets this verse in Matt. 21:16 saying “out of the mouths of babes thou hast perfected praise…” This tells us 2 important things. 1.) we can let scripture interpret scripture. If we are inquiring as to what a particular verse means we should always look into correlating passages or usage of the original passage by other writers in the books of the bible. Some of the most powerful personal revelations will be found here that have been inexplicably overlooked by expositors and commentators. 2.) Specifically, we see that Jesus equates praise with strength.
What is the praise that Jesus is referring in quoting this verse? The children were dancing round about him in the temple crying “hosanna to the son of David…” Therefore the praise Jesus speaks of is not just RECOGNITION of the greatness of God but EXPRESSION of the greatness of God. These children were spontaneously worshipping and extolling Jesus. This type of praise is missing from much of our activity of worship. Much of what we call worship is simply watching the singers and musicians perform as at a rock concert. This is not praise. We also see worship leaders often prompt people like marionettes with a litany of instructions (stand up, lift your hands, etc.) that seems inauthentic at times because it is just a response to a command as opposed to spontaneous praise. What we see in the quote of Jesus of this verse is that spontaneous praise is equivalent with strength. The strength of God comes to us when we spontaneously and verbally praise Him.
3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all [things] under his feet:
Verse 3 speaks of God ordaining the heavens, the moon and the stars. To be ordain implies a calling and a purpose. What are the heavens, the stars and the moon ordained to do? They are not just the product of the big bang or some random celestial cataclysm that flung these bodies out into the void of space. The stars and planets have a specific purpose ordained by God:
[Gen 1:14 KJV] 14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
[Psa 19:1-3 KJV] 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 [There is] no speech nor language, [where] their voice is not heard.
There is a book by EW Bullinger titled the “Witness of the Stars” that shows how God speaks to us through the arrangement of the heavens. Bullinger also contends in his book that the very names of the stars known to the ancients originated from God’s origin in order to convey the message of the gospel. It is true that the oldest and various astrological systems arrange themselves in “houses” that all begin with virgins and end with lions. This speaks to us of a common divine origin not intended to be used by soothsayers but to declare the gospel of God.
Verses 4-6 speak of the place of man in creation. David looks at man and his estate and marvels that God would give any deference or attention to humanity at all. He goes on to say that man was made or created in his natural person to be lower in estate than the angels that serve God’s throne. Yet in the same moment David recognizes that though in his person man is lower than angels God has nonetheless crowned mankind with glory and honor. The glory is God’s person and presence that resides in those who accept Jesus as their savior. The honor is what verse 6 speaks of as man’s God given authority in the earth.
God made man to have dominion over all of creation. God placed the earth as man’s footstool. 2 Cor. 4:4 calls Satan the god of this world. Eph. 2:2 calls him the prince of the power of the air. This was not by God’s original design. God made man to have these dominions. Man is the original (small “g”) god of this world. He is the original prince of the power of the air. That is what is implied in verses 5-6 when it says that God crowned man with glory and honor and gave him dominion over all things and put all things under his feet. What was lost in the fall of Adam is restored in Christ. This helps us understand the scope of the authority of the believer. The principalities and powers of darkness around us occupy thrones and dominions that have been given to us in Christ. That is why they resist us and want to destroy us. They do not want to lose what they stole from Adam in the fall.
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, [and whatsoever] passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth!
Verse 7 gives us a perspective whereby we can glean an understanding of God’s sense of ecology. Secularists view the earth as our mother that we are to serve and care for. The mother earth concept is rooted in ancient paganism. We do not serve the earth – we serve God who created the earth. This is a radical departure between popular thinking today and the biblical world view. In Genesis God told men to subdue the earth. That word implies that the world is there to be in subjection to man and use by man for his good pleasure. Surely we are not to destroy but to steward the earth’s resources but nonetheless we understand from a biblical sense that the world exists to serve us and not we who (as wrongly supposed by many) who exist to serve the world and creation.
The psalm concludes with a repetition of the excellency of the name of the Lord in all the earth. We read this at the beginning of the psalm but now read it again in a deeper context. The excellency of the name of the Lord in all the earth is also a reflection of His glory and majesty that he intends to be made manifest in us as we praise him and honor him and glorify Him in the fulfillment of our original purpose, lost in Adam yet restored in Christ to rule and reign with Him over all creation and to perfect and bring forth His praise by the words of our mouth that bring forth His strength in our lives.
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