1/03/2015

What is Man (Psalm 8)

Psalm 8:1-9; 4, 1a, 9

"...what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Ps 8:4, 1a, 9, NIV)

Regarding Psalm 8, Derek Kidner eloquently and succinctly writes:

"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 enonomy of words, and in a spirit of mingled joy and awe. It brings to light the unexpectedness of God's ways in the roles he has assigned to the strong and the weak (2), the spectacular and the obscure (3-5), the multitudinous and the few (6-8); but it begins and ends with God himself, and its overriding theme is 'How excellent is thy name!'"

J.I. Packer says, "we are at the end of 4 centuries of God shrinking." God (seemingly) gets smaller while we get bigger. The Bible does not see it this way. David did not see it this way. We must not see it this way.
Questions:
  1. For what does the psalmist praise God (1)?
  2. How has God chosen to silence his foes (2)?
  3. What prompted the psalmist's amazement over God's care and concern for man (3-4)?
  4. How was man exalted when God created him (5-6)?
  5. What things were placed under man's feet (7-8)? Has man maintained his dominion over the earth (Heb 2:5-8)?
  6. Who now has authority over heaven and earth (Heb 2:9; Mt 28:19; Eph 1:20-22; 1 Pet 3:22)?
  7. Contemplating God's majesty and man's dignity, how does David conclude his psalm (9)?
References:
  1. Motyer, J Alec. The Psalms. New Bible Commentary. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1994.
  2. Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1 - 72: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 1973. (Psalm 8: Crown of Creation.)
  3. Zemek, George. Road Maps for the Psalms: Inductive Preaching Outlines Based on the Hebrew Text. Valencia, CA: The Master's Academy International, 2006. (Psalm 8: Praise from the Puny.)
  4. Psalm 8 -- The Song of the Astronomer.
    1. God's majesty in creation (1-2).
      • God's name and glory (1).
      • God's power over enemies (2).
    2. Man's dignity over creation (3-9).
      • Man's insignificance (3-4).
      • Man's exaltation (5-8).
      • Man's response (9).
  5. The Lord's Excellent Name. Praise God for:
    1. His glory (1-2).
    2. His grandeur (3-4).
    3. His goodness (5-8).
    4. His greatness (9).
  6. The Glory of God (and why self-esteem does not work). Psalm 8:1-8 Study questions. Psalm8 Diagram.