BOOK ONE Psalms 1–41
This psalm is a solemn meditation and admiration of the glory and greatness of God. It begins and ends with the same acknowledgment of the sublime excellency of God’s name. God is to be glorified for making Himself known and for making use of the weakest of the children of men to serve His own purposes. This psalm is, in the New Testament, applied to Christ and the work of our redemption.
Psalm 8 – Psalm of David
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! 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. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honour. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen—Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!
He is ours and we are His
Henry says – In verse one of Psalm 8, David admires how plainly God displays His glory. He addresses himself to God with all humility and reverence: O Lord our Lord! If we believe that God is truly the Lord, we must acknowledge Him to be our Lord. He is ours and we are His, for He made us, protects us, and takes special care of us. He must be ours, for we are compelled to obey Him and submit to Him. We must own this relationship not only when we come to pray to God. But when we come to praise Him, as a reason to give Him glory.
We can never assume we can do it with sufficient affection if we consider how brightly God’s glory shines even here. How excellent is His name in all the earth! The works of creation proclaim to all the world that there is an infinite Being, of power and perfection. The sovereign ruler, powerful protector, and bountiful benefactor of all the creatures. How great and how magnificent is His name in all the earth! The light of it shines in men’s faces everywhere (Rom. 1:20). If they shut their eyes against it, that is to their detriment.
He is the brightness of His Father’s glory
At one time the name of God was great in Israel only. Yet now due to the gospel of Christ there is no speech or language where God’s name is not heard of. The utmost ends of the earth have now been made to see God’s great salvation, Mark 16:15, 16. How much more brightly it shines in the upper world: You have set Your glory above the heavens. On this earth we only hear of God’s excellent name, and praise that, but in heaven the angels see His glory. The Lord Jesus has been exalted to the right hand of God. He is the brightness of His Father’s glory and the express image of His person. God has set His glory above the heavens, far above all principalities and powers.
How powerfully He proclaims it by the weakest of His creatures (Ps. 8:2): Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings have You ordained strength, or perfected praise. Matt. 21:16. This intimates the glory of God in the kingdom of nature. God takes care of little children (when they first come into the world the most helpless of all creatures). They are under His special protection and He has caused nature to so care for them. “This is such an instance of Your goodness, as may forever put to silence the enemies of Your glory, who say, There is no God.”
That no flesh may take glory
In the government of this lower world He makes use of the children of men, some who know Him and others who do not (Isa. 45:4). All have been babes and sucklings. Sometimes He is pleased for such as these to serve His own purposes in the ministry. The apostles were looked upon as babes, unlearned and ignorant men (Acts 4:13). The gospel is called the arm of the Lord and the rod of His strength. This was ordained to work wonders not from the mouths of statesmen, but from a company of poor fishermen. We hear children crying, Hosanna to the Son of David, when the chief priests and Pharisees would not own Him, but despised and rejected Him.
To this our Saviour replied ‘Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?’ (Matt. 21:16) and by it stilled the enemy. Sometimes the grace of God appears wonderfully in young children, and He teaches them and makes them to understand, who are but newly weaned from the milk (Isa. 28:9). Sometimes the power of God brings to pass great things in His church by very weak and unlikely instruments to confounds the wise. That no flesh may take glory in His presence, but the excellency of the power may show itself to be of God, and not of man, 1 Cor. 1:27-28.
Out of the mouths of babes
This He does because of His enemies, because they are insolent and haughty, that He may silence them and put them to shame. Acts 4:14; 6:10. The devil is the great enemy and avenger, and by the preaching of the gospel he has been silenced in a great sense. Let us give God the glory due His great name, and of the great things He has done by the power of His gospel. Our exalted Redeemer rides forth conquering and to conquer. Praise is perfected (that is, God is in the highest degree glorified) when strength is ordained out of the mouth of babes and sucklings.
David goes on to magnify the honour of God by recounting the honours he has put upon man, especially the man, Christ Jesus. David is led to admire the favours of God toward man through the consideration of the brilliance of the heavenly bodies, which are within view (Ps. 8:3): I consider Your heavens in particularly, the moon and the stars.
Our Father in heaven
To man He gave an erect countenance that he be directed to set his affections on things above. We must always consider the heavens as God’s heavens. The heavens, even the heavens, are the Lord’s (Ps. 115:16). They are the place of the residence of His glory and we are taught to call Him Our Father in heaven. They are therefore His, because they are the work of His fingers. He made them. The stretching out of the heavens needed not any outstretched arm, it was done with a Word. He made them like a piece of work which the artist makes with his fingers.
Even the inferior lights, the moon and stars, show the glory and power of the Father of lights. They provide us with a matter for praise. The heavenly bodies are not only the creatures of the divine power, but subject to the divine government. God not only made them, but ordained them, and the ordinances of heaven can never be altered. Yet He who resides in that bright and blessed part of creation also takes notice of such a mean creature as man. He humbles Himself to behold the things done upon this earth.
What is man that You are mindful of him
When we consider of what great use the heavens are to man on earth, and how the lights of heavens are divided unto all nations. (Deut. 4:19; Gen. 1:15), we may well say, “Lord, what is man that You should settle the ordinances of heaven with an eye to us and to our benefit? Our comfort and convenience have been taken into consideration in the making of the lights of heaven and in the directing of our journeys!”
“Lord, what is man (the word enosh meaning, sinful, weak, miserable, a creature so forgetful of You and our duty to You). That You are mindful of him, that You take notice of him and of his actions and affairs. That even in the making of the world You had a regard for him! What is the son of man, that You visit him. That You not only feed him and clothe him, protect him and provide for him but have visited him as a friend visits another. You are pleased to converse with him and concern Yourself with him!
Man is a worm
Though man is a worm (Job 25:6), yet God regards him, and shows him an abundance of kindness. Man is, above all the creatures in this lower world, the favourite and darling of the Divine. For he is of a very honourable rank of beings.
We may be sure man takes precedence of all the inhabitants of this lower world. For he is made but a little lower than the angels (Ps. 8:5). Lower indeed, because by his body he is allied to the earth. Yet by his soul, which is spiritual and immortal, he is so near akin to the holy angels. A little lower than they, and so next to them. He is for a little while lower than the angels, while his great soul is cooped up in a house of clay. But the children of the resurrection shall be isangeloi—angels’ peers. (Luke 20:36 nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection).
You have crowned him with glory and honour. He that gave him his being has distinguished him, and qualified him for a dominion over the inferior creatures. For, having made him wiser than the beasts of the earth and the fowls of heaven (Job 35:11). He has made him fit to rule them. Man’s ability to reason is his crown of glory. Let him not profane that crown. He is invested with a sovereign dominion over the inferior creatures, under God, and is constituted their lord. He that made them, and knows them, has made man to have dominion over them, Ps. 8:6.
God has put all things under man’s feet
This rule was given at creation (Gen. 1:28) and was renewed after the flood, Gen. 9:2. God has put all things under man’s feet. He specifies some of the inferior animals (Ps. 8:7, 8), not only sheep and oxen, which man takes care of and provides for. But also those which live in another element and pass unseen through the paths of the seas. (Jam 3:7) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. He also has liberty to use them. Rise, Peter, kill and eat, Acts 10:13. Every time we eat of fish or of fowl we realise this dominion which man has over the works of God’s hands.
This is a reason for our subjection to God, our chief Lord, and to His dominion over us. This refers in particular to Jesus Christ. We are taught to prove the sovereign dominion of Christ both in heaven and in earth. This is that man in Heb 2:6-8 of whom God has crowned with glory and honour. He made Him to have dominion over the works of His hands. The greatest favour that was ever shown to the human race, and the greatest honour that was ever put upon human nature was exemplified in the incarnation and exaltation of the Lord Jesus.
God visited Him
We have reason to humbly value ourselves and thankfully admire the grace of God. That Jesus Christ assumed the nature of man and humbled Himself. He became the Son of man, a partaker of flesh and blood. Being so, God visited him. It is said in Heb 2:9, For the suffering of death, He was crowned with glory and honour. God visited him. Having laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. He visited Him with a rod and with stripes, that by them we might be healed. He was, for a little while (so the apostle interprets it), made lower than the angels. For He took upon Himself the form of a servant and made Himself of no reputation.
In that nature, He is exalted to be Lord of all. God the Father exalted Him, because He humbled Himself. He crowned Him with glory and honour, the glory which He had with Him before the worlds were made. He set Him not only as the head of the church, but gave all things into His hand. All creatures are put under His feet and even in the days in the flesh, He gave some examples of His power over them. For He commanded the winds and the seas, and appointed a fish to pay His taxes.
Set ourselves to give glory to our Lord Jesus
With good reason then David concludes the Psalm as he began, Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. In singing and praying over this Psalm, though we must not forget to acknowledge, God’s favours to mankind. In particular the usefulness of inferior creatures to us, yet we must especially set ourselves to give glory to our Lord Jesus. By confessing that He is Lord we submit to Him as our Lord and patiently wait until we see all things and all His enemies made His footstool.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Home of Creation Have no fear, wonders are unfolding Ever more and more to the longing eye. Know that you will be guided as you dwell In the Secret Place of the Most High. Remember all the wonders of the universe In that Secret Place were once thought out. There all your wonderful plans evolved. Let not for a minute your heart be in doubt. It is the home of Creation Where is perfected the tiniest flower. And there you are also able to Share in creative power. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Prayer for the Day
Father I come to You. I acknowledge You to be my Lord. You are mine and I am Yours, for You made me, protect me, and You take special care of me. May I ever be compelled to obey You and submit to You. May this be the reason I come to pray to You and praise You, as a reason to give You glory. I ascribe to You the glory due Your great name, and of the great things You have done. For You my exalted Redeemer ride forth conquering and to conquer.
May You be praised and so in the highest degree glorified. Cause me ever to set my affections on things above, not below. All things belong to You. The heavens are Yours for they are the place of the residence of Your glory. Just as Christ taught us to pray Our Father in heaven. They are work of Your fingers. Your made them.
Even the moon and the stars show Your glory and power. You have ordained the heavenly bodies as not only creatures of divine power, but subject to divine government. Yet You who resides in that bright and blessed part of creation also takes notice of such a mean creature as me. Man who is so mean, sinful, weak, miserable and so forgetful of You and our duty to You. Yet You are mindful of me and take notice of me and my actions and affairs.
I shall not die anymore
You not only feed and clothe me, protect and provide for me but have visited me as a friend visits another. I thank You that You are pleased to converse with me and concern Yourself with me! whilst my soul be cooped up in this house of clay, but as a child of the resurrection I shall not die anymore, for I will be equal to the angels and am a son of God. My ability to reason is my crown of glory. Let me not profane that crown, but use it to glorify You.
You have invested me with sovereign dominion over the inferior creatures for You have put all things under man’s feet. We are taught to prove the sovereign dominion of Christ both in heaven and in earth. May I prove it with my life, through my words, thoughts and actions. I praise and I thank You that my iniquity was laid upon Christ on the cross. By His stripes I might be healed. Christ is head over all things and all things are in His hand. Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth.
May I never forget to acknowledge Your favours to mankind. May I especially set myself to give glory to the Lord Jesus. I confess that He is Lord and I submit to Him as my Lord and I patiently wait until I see all things and all His enemies made to be His footstool. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.