September 8 ~ The Place of Mankind: Psalm 8

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From the Preacher’s Pen… 

When we think of David we tend to first think of him as the King and source of the lineage that would lead to Jesus. But we also need to see him as a prophet and a teacher of God. Notice an important psalm that shows us both of these attributes:

The Place of Mankind – Psalm 8

One of the lessons that we must learn about God and prophecy is that He often teaches more than just one lesson to His people with a seemingly single prophecy. Isaiah (7:10-17) offers one of the great examples of this as a prophecy is made to king Ahaz. We tend to only see the second lesson of Mary giving birth to Jesus in the New Testament, but the lesson promised to Ahaz was an equally powerful lesson in God’s power to control human events.

Recognizing God’s ability to teach more than one lesson through prophecy, let’s take a look at David’s Psalm 8: 

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?

Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty!You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,

All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field,The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

First, we notice the powerful lesson of praise of God. His greatness is beyond human understanding. His power is mightier than our utmost imagination. His majesty compels us to bow before Him in awe.

Second, it begins to dawn on us that as great as our God is, and as tiny and insignificant as we are in comparison, that is NOT His view of us, His creation! He sees His people as only a little lower than God, Himself! He crowns His human creation with glory and majesty. What an amazing idea!

Notice something here. The Hebrew behind all English translations (whether King James, American Standard, New American Standard or any other English translation) actually says (verse 5) that God has made mankind a little lower than God! The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament from before the time of Jesus) introduces the word “angels” and it is this translation that is used by the writer of Hebrews (2:7) in application to Jesus.

So, David the prophet has declared mankind to be made a little lower than God. Recall that we are made in the “image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27 and 9:6), yet evidently, we are not equal to God (a lesson also taught throughout the Bible). And, apparently, by the book of Hebrews’ comment, we are actually a little lower than the angels in current status. But that is not the end of the story.

As we begin to compare the extension of the lesson by the Hebrew writer (read Hebrews chapter 1), we begin to see God’s purpose in placing us (for a time) as lower than Him, lower even than the angels. God is showing us His real power, His greatness. All of creation is for the purpose of elevating His people, qualifying them to be with Him as His family. Just as God displayed His greatness by elevating Jesus, so He makes His creation, us, His people to be that chosen family, that royal priesthood, that holy people, that are called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light (cf. 1 Peter 2:9-10).

God, as great, powerful and majestic as He is has always planned to make us, His creation, a part of His own family. Just as Jesus was “made” for a little while to be lower than God or the angels, so we too are now. But, just as God planned and did restore Jesus to His glory as God, so too one day we will be elevated to be with our God, our Father.

This raises an interesting question. If God has made all the plans and provisions for us to enjoy this greatness, this honor, then how will we respond? Will we accept the honor, do His will and faithfully serve Him? Or will we reject it all? The choice is ours to make. What will you choose?

— Lester P. Bagley

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