Saturday, 15 January 2011

Psalm 8 - An exposition

One commentator on this Psalm commented that ‘this psalm is an unsurpassed example of what a hymn should be, celebrating as it does the glory and grace of God, rehearsing who He is and what He has done, and relating us and our world to Him; all with a masterly economy of words, and in spirit of mingled joy and awe’. This psalm magnifies the glory of God in creation and how God is able to use the weak things of this world to shame the strong. Are you a timid soul? Rejoice for God is able to use you to His glory and praise. Let your feet dance that this mighty God does not overlook the weak and the poor but he delights to crown them with glory and honour.


Vs 1 LORD, our Lord. Here is an immediate recognition that Yahweh is our Lord, that He is our God. He is the God of Israel, the champion of mercy and the Lord of glory. He is incomparable and unrivalled, He is undisputed and worthy to be praised. Our God is great and sweet thus the psalmist declares how majestic is your name in all the earth. Pause here a while and consider the majesticness of God. He is the all wise God, three in One, uncreated, self sustaining, all powerful, His love never fails. He moves in mysterious ways to perform His wonders, His purposes are unfolding every hour, and yet we may ponder on His majesty for all eternity and not come to a fitting end. His excellencies are awesome, no words can describe or reach the depths of how excellent it is and thus an exclamation and praise is sufficient to express the wonder of His name. The excellencies of Jehovah is not only majestic in Israel but it is majestic in all the earth. You have set your glory in the heavens. The earth alone cannot contain the majestic nature of God namely His glory and thus it is spread across the whole universe, it fills every corner and cringe and yet it is not enough. Heavenly creatures are in advantage to daily witness in sight the wonders of God’s glory for they see it in its radiance of splendour. When Ezekiel was privilege to have a vision of God He described God’s glory like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds of a rainy day.  And we who are called here below, have the gospel preached to us, we have the Son of God, the sum of all God’s glory and we may behold Him with the eyes of our mind and rejoice in His sweet glory. The children of God have a greater advantage than the heavenly creatures for this Glory we may know intimately and the by this Glory are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next. Oh I declare My God and Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth, how delightfully majestic is your glory!


Our God is a glorious God who reigns with power and majesty and He subdues all of his enemies without effort. He only needs to move His fingers and all of His foes would soon scatter and dispersed to the end of the earth never to rise again. He only needs to send forth His lightning and bend His bow, He perhaps may rain thunder and brimstones to silence His enemies but we see that Our God is an infinitely wise God and He has prepared another way to silence the rebels. Vs. 2 Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Did the children of Israel not cry out ‘Hosanna!’ when they witness the arrival of their Christ? With joy they declared their Hosannas and did it not silence the enemies of Christ and thus God’s enemies. We answer in the affirmative. The Pharisees were brought low by the testimony and praise of children and infants.  The so called wise men of this world cannot dispute with the inexpressible joy of the saints and the weekly gatherings that sees many poor and weak souls brought to their knees to declare the praises of God. No reason could break such a chord  and wise men are left silenced and flabbergasted. The Marty’s of old died with sweet joy declaring the faithfulness of Christ and thus sang their way with praises to heaven silencing any satisfaction of their adversaries but glorifying God.  


Vs 3. When I consider your heavens. Oh here is a reflective man, a considering man, and what better things  to ponder upon than the heavens of God, than the works of the creators hand. It is a marvellous task to endure in such activity and many who have considered the heavens above have been left with an in-print of awe upon their souls for the magnitude of the universe is beyond comprehension. One can only look and marvel at such a creator and minds who are wise would immediately bend their knees and praise such a creator for a wonderful creation. An artist work displays his glory and excellency likewise the heavens display the glory of God. But what we see now does not compare to what we shall behold in the new heavens and the new earth for this creation is marred with sin, it has been corrupted and yet it declares with a sounding speech the glory of God. The works of his hands, the moons and stars, yea those burning lights in the sky are millions of years away from us but yet we see the sparkle of their awesomeness. The sun lights our way and yet it is but a shadow an unworthy shadow of the true glory and radiance of God. God is a kind and gracious creator, his works is filled with beauty and love. He takes the uttermost care in His designs that physicians and scientist are driven to their most intellectual heights and yet cannot comprehend the vast measure of discovery that yet alludes them. Will you not consider the works of the Lord and marvel at them? Will you not join the psalmist upon a humble consideration and say when I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, vs. 4 what is man that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them. Notice that the heavens and the earth belongs to God, it does not originate from an evolutionary process but from the fingers of God, it bares the fingerprints of Yahweh and thus only Him is worthy to receive glory and praise. Heathens in the past and present have been foolish to worship created things rather than the creator , they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to like reptiles, birds, mortal humans and animals; this is despicable and an abomination; their condemnation is just. We must not be found in the same shoes, but we must rightly give glory to God and worship Him alone. Indeed creation is vast and large and the humbled soul will declare with great humility to His God that what is man that you are mindful of them, human beings that you should care for them. Job under different circumstances asked the same question, Job asked ‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, that you give them so much attention, that you examine them every morning and test them every moment? Will you ever look away from me or let me alone for an instant? (Job 7:17-21). Indeed what is man? We know that man was made in the image of God, in His perfect image He created them. Man is to be after God’s own heart reflecting his glory and displaying it for all creation to marvel. Man was the crown of all God’s creation for it was after the creation of man that God rested. Man was placed in the garden, the paradise of milk and honey, the paradise of steadfast love and life. Man had the presence of God at hand and could see with fleshly eyes the wonderful nature of God. But oh, look at how man has fallen, they trampled the law and defamed His holy name. God should have longed abandoned man to their vices but neigh our God loves His creation and yet He still loves man with an unquenchable love that leads the Psalmist to reflect that what is man that you are mindful of them, human beings that you should care for them. The care of God surpasses that of a Mother or a nurse especially towards His elected ones. For He knows when they sit and when they rise; He perceives their thoughts from afar. He discerns their going out and lying down; He is familiar with all of their ways. Before a word is on their tongue, God knows it completely; oh such care is to wonderful for me, such love is to much for my soul to bare; what a wonderful creator, what a majestic God. 


The psalmist continues his discourse on how God bestowed his care and love for man. Vs. 5 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. It is right for the psalmist to say that man is a little lower than the angels because angels are also created beings. Although we are apt to think them as supreme beings and far superior to us; let us be wise and say that man is only a little lower than the angels and in the age to come this position will be changed for when the sons of God are revealed in glory and honour, they will sit in positions far higher than angels and in fact will also judge them. Vs.6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet. The writer to the Hebrews gave a wonderful exposition of this passage and his commentary is inspired and here is what he wrote. ‘In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. But we do see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death so that He might taste death for everyone.  In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their faith perfect through what he suffered’, (Heb 2:8-10). The crowning and glory of man will take place at the return of Jesus when man will be able to fully exercise these rights, although the sons of God possess these divine rights at present yet they have to wait to fully exercise them. Therefore believers do not be covetous or want your neighbour’s good; but be patient and give freely for all things are yours because of Christ and when you enter into glory you shall reign over all things for all eternity. This life is but a fading flower, our years are only seventy and the stars could live for millions of years but God is concerned for our welfare and He delights to care for us for He knows our frame. Man is to rule vs7-8 over all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the bird in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. This was the same command that God gave to our first parents and we see this authority being exercised at present but under a fallen world; but when the Messiah comes in His glory and with his holy angels, Men shall rule over all in complete righteousness. 


The Psalm finishes as it starts, vs. 9. LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Our prayers should also finish as it starts, hallowed be thy name in all the earth, in all men’s souls hallowed be thy name, to yours be the glory and power for ever and ever, amen. 


K.Oni

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