THOUGHTS FROM THE PSALMS

PSALM 8

Meditating on Psalm 8 is like unwrapping a present with multiple wrappings, or, rather, opening a present in which there are multiple gifts, each gift containing within itself yet another gift.

The first truth that impacts us in this Psalm is the majesty and glory of God evident in the universe - his name is 'majestic' in all the earth [verses 1, 9]; his 'glory' is more extensive than the heavens [verse 1]; even little children see this evidence and praise him [verse 2].

This truth is dependent on the foundational truth  that God is the creator [verse 3]. The power and the glory of the natural world reveal the greater power and glory of him who is the Creator of that world.

Lest we should mistake this concept of God as Creator with creation concepts found in human myths and legends,  we are taken to another truth, a truth that finds its first expression in the opening chapter of the Bible: that when God created 'man' he made him the pinnacle of creation - a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honour, with authority over all other living creatures [verses 4-8; Genesis 1:28]. This is a truth known only by revelation - known only because God himself has spoken and made it known.

And this truth, this role and purpose of 'man' in the universe, causes David to ask the puzzled question: 'What is man that you are mindful of him?' There is a problem here that David cannot solve. There is a discordant note here from which David cannot escape. He knows what 'man' is like - his psalms are testimony to his own sinfulness and to man's inhumanity to man - and yet, here is this other truth made known by God at the very beginning of human time: that in the beginning God crowned 'man' with glory and honour, and that God gave 'man'  dominion.

Compared to the 'heavens' - that universe of multiple galaxies of which modern scientists are discovering more and more - what is 'man' that God should care for us? In terms of physical size, insignificant. In terms of splendour, irrelevant. In terms of perfection, nil. In terms of giving glory to God, terribly flawed.

And here we uncover another truth, a deep and powerful truth, that there was one man who was not flawed. One man who did not fail. One man in whom the power and the glory of man was seen in perfection. One man in and through whom the power and glory of God was made known: that man was Jesus Christ [Hebrews 2:5-18].

We do not, at this moment, see 'man' crowned with glory and honour, but we see Jesus Christ, our Mediator, our Representative, crowned with glory and honour.

In this truth is our hope, our guarantee, our surety, that we also, whom he has redeemed, will one day, beyond this interim of failure, also perfectly reflect the glory of God, and in so doing, attain also that glory for which we were created [Colossians 1:27; Hebrews 2:10; 1John 3:1-2].

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2008.