Today we will spend some time reflecting on Psalm 8, a psalm of David that is closely tied to the narrative of both Job, and the writer of Hebrews (as well as several other passages in Scripture.)
Psalm 8 is the first psalm of praise in the psalter, and comes at the end of a series of Psalms about suffering (Ps. 3-7) that certainly resonate with Job. Yet just like Job, the Psalter brings us into a time of great praise of Yahweh at the end of the suffering, almost as if the suffering itself has allowed us to see God’s glory and majesty in every aspect of creation, and the result is praise!
I think the key to understanding Psalm 8 is verse 4:
“…what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”Psalm 8:4 NIV
Again, this verse resonates with Job’s questions as well:
“What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention…”Job 7:17 NIV
When we consider the vastness of creation, the glory of God proclaimed in the heavens, why in the world would God care so much for us?
Verses 5-8 answer the question posed in verse 4 by returning to the Garden of Eden and the mission we are given to co-rule creation with Yahweh (Gen. 1:26-28). David then lists out all the creatures from the days of creation (Gen. 1). God has subjected creation to us! He created us to co-rule creation with him. What an awesome responsibility!
This is the imagery that the writer of Hebrews draws upon, directly quoting verses 4-6, and then makes the following statements:
“In putting everything under them (mankind), 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 lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death…the pioneer of our salvation perfect through what he suffered.”Hebrews 2:8-9, 10 NIV
Psalm 1 gives us a great picture of who the Messiah should be; one who mediates on God’s scripture day and night. Psalm 2 ends by telling us “Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Messianic King).” Then we see a period of suffering in Psalms 3-7, and Psalm 8 celebrates that humanity has all creation subject to them, and the Hebrew writer points that image to Jesus, the firstfruits of the resurrection. We too will ultimately join with Jesus in our resurrection, but at the moment we are still bound by the constraints of our human bodies, and the effects of sin in our lives.
But for now we do have a job. We have responsibility from Yahweh to co-rule creation under the Lordship of our Messiah Jesus, in order to establish his kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven.” Since everything has already been subjected to Jesus (including you and me), we serve at his pleasure. We follow him and him alone! We carry out his mission on earth.
What an awesome responsibility we have! And the only fitting answer to such an awesome responsibility is praise!
“Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”Psalm 8:9