Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jan 20 2019 - Psalm 8 – The majesty of God

Once, when travelling on a deserted road in Australia, we stopped to lie on our backs and look up at the sky. We had a wonderful view of the southern night sky with all its many stars and galaxies and the great sweep of the Milky Way. It was a breath-taking sight.

David the shepherd boy would often have watched over sheep by night and must have looked up to the sky above him and marvelled at the countless stars and the beauty of the moon with its changing face. The sight not only filled him with wonder at creation but also with awe at the one who had made all of this and whose power kept it daily in being. So he cries out, "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"

We know so much more about the universe around us with its 100 billion galaxies each perhaps, containing 100 billion stars as does our galaxy, the Milky Way. Such knowledge of the universe only increases our wonder as we look into the night sky and fills us with awe concerning the one who created it all.

Nor should the immensity of the universe make us feel small and insignificant by comparison. David asks, "What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" only to answer that we human beings have been "made a little lower than the angels", or perhaps, more accurately, "a little lower than God himself."

David echoes the opening chapters of Genesis where we read that human beings, male and female were made in the image of God and put in charge, under God, of all that he had made. They have been "crowned with glory and honour." There is something very special about human beings – about us. We are animals but more than mere animals. We were created to appreciate the wonder of the world that God has made, the intricacy, beauty and glory of creation. We have eyes to see its wonder even if we do not always look through the beauty of creation to the glory of its creator. And, as those created in the image of God, we have the ability ourselves to create things of beauty in art and in architecture and to appreciate the beauty of human achievement.

But the tragedy is that, despite all of our knowledge and capabilities, we have made a mess of God's world. We have not cared for it as God intended but have exploited the world for our own ends. We have not lived well with each other but have exploited one another and oppressed one another. Instead of reflecting the glorious character of God we have been intent upon becoming gods for ourselves. The image of God in us has been twisted and marred.

That is why the author of the letter to the Hebrews applies Psalm 8 to the Lord Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 2:5-9). Jesus is the one in whom God's glory is most clearly revealed – he is the radiance of God's glory. Though he was, and is, the living God through whom all things were created, yet he was made for a little while lower than the angels – he took upon himself human flesh. And he did so that we might see clearly all that we were meant to be as human beings, created to reflect God's glory. And one day Jesus shall return and make all things new. The world to come will be under his perfect and gracious rule and will radiate the glory of God in every part just as God intended.

Creator God, give us eyes to see your glory in creation and in ourselves as those made in your image. Help us to see your glory especially in the Lord Jesus and in his death and resurrection and to long for that day when his glory will be fully revealed, when all things will be made new at his return. Help us now to live in submission to our beautiful Saviour and to live towards the day of his coming. May his beauty, his glory, be seen in us.

Peter Misselbrook