Paradigm Shift: Psalm 8:1-5

Understanding things for the first time

To the Chief Musician. On the instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David.

1 “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 honor.”

Psalm 8:1-5, NKJV

As I read this over and again, I was particularly struck by the power we have to extol God. And that is truly remarkable! We can make Him great, and then expand that greatness into the world around us. We can choose to reflect His glory, and kingdom. That is quite amazing, to give our Father that attention.

We influence others by our witness and worship.  It’s when we esteem Him, that we finally begin to announce His ascendancy and preeminence in our world. Now we know that we don’t adjust Him by doing this. For He is completely unchangeable and sovereign.  But certainly your worship and obedience somehow matters!

Commentary

V. 1, “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.

David as a king is vital not only to his kingdom— but, the Kingdom. I believe he understands that he can influence the universe by what he declares. The word David chooses from his Hebrew vocabulary is “excellent.”  This word is defined as, ‘to possess outstanding quality or superior merit; remarkably good.’

V. 2, gives us a paradigm shift of focus. It isn’t just the universe (v. 1). Rather it is a complete (and totally) different direction. It’s now on babies, and nursing infants. These are frankly the most weak and vulnerable in our society. David takes us through the magnificent complexity of the planets and stars, right into the homespun innocence of a nursery, cribs and teddy bears.

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?

David now shifts back to the physical universe. He would’ve been very aware of the stars as he shepherded his flock. The Milky Way was a spectacular display of a creative power over his head. He saw the orderly movement, and attributed it to a Creator. David had no telescope, so he could only see maybe ‘one billionth’ of what we see today with our Hubble Telescope.

David does have a profound question though. He thinks through this display of magnificent creation to “man.” Why, and what is man? How can this Creator even slightly consider a human baby? And why does it matter even? These must be asked if we are to be people of integrity and truth.

V.5  ” For You have made him a little lower than the angels,
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.”

David both answers his questions, and expands them out further. He understands the theology of a creative order. However he makes it seem a trifle fantastic. Just a little lower— and yet crowned! David is perplexed and hopeful, at the same time.

bry-signat (1)

Lord of the Starfields: Psalm 102:23-25

starfields

23 “He broke my strength in midlife,
    cutting short my days.
24 But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever,
    don’t take my life while I am so young!
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth
    and made the heavens with your hands.”

Psalm 102:23-25, NLT

I guess one might say, that the psalmist is having a “midlife crisis.” One part of this crisis, is thick with a feeling of brokenness. He feels the ragged edge of his life, a roughness that offers nothing, but a type of pain.  We understand God’s love– but can we handle His discipline?

“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power  is perfected in weakness.”  Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 

“Before God could bring me to this place He has broken me a thousand times.”

Smith Wigglesworth

Commentary

V. 23, He broke my strength in midlife,
    cutting short my days.”

Our human strength has its limits. And God doesn’t respect them. The psalmist describes the effort of God to demolish any strength we just might muster. His intention is very good. He only wants to bust us of our own strength.

Verse 23 explains why He is hard on us. Anything good we might generate has just been bulldozed under. Our lives have been shattered, and He is the culprit. He does this, in order to save us.

V. 24, “ But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever,
    don’t take my life while I am so young!”

Crying out to Him is the way we make ourselves heard. The psalmist recognizes that God is indeed God. He only wants us to acknowledge Him.

In terms of the life the psalmist lives, he acknowledges God is fully and completely in control of it. He can prolong it, and He can end it, at His whim.

The psalmist is at the special place where God could simply stop his existence on earth. And we see him making a plea for mercy. It seems he wants God to make him a special case.

V. 25, “Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth
    and made the heavens with your hands.”

There is an awareness of God’s creative sovereignty that the psalmist builds upon. He has an understanding that from the very beginning, God has put this planet on something very solid; a solid foundation of a commitment to us.

The psalmist looks up to the beautiful stars– he sees the Milky Way, and some bright planets. All that God has made, is visible and quite profound. He looks up at the stars, and everything he sees is a creative work of God’s hands– creating, and sustaining His masterpiece.

Simply, we can only anchor ourselves into all that He has done. When we embrace reality, we shape ourselves into people God wants, and seeks.

*

ybic, Bryan