Greg Breazeale speaks on Psalm 8:1-9
Series: Summer Preaching Series 2013
Names are powerful. All kinds of emotions come to mind when you hear a name. Hitler. Oprah. Lebron James. Brad Pitt. Steve Jobs. Justin Beiber. Rick Warren. The Austin Stone.
This is the point of Psalm 8. There is one name above all names. Only one resounds through all the earth and human history. It is O, Lord. The word is Yahweh, meaning, “I AM.” It’s God personal, revealed, intimate, private name He’s made known to all of us.
He said to Moses, “I am who I am.”
Yahweh, our Lord, our Master, our King. How majestic, how lofty is your name in all the earth. Not just in Israel. He’s not some tribal, local, or national god. He’s the world’s God. Other nations had their gods; Syria, Babylon, Egypt. But no one said their god was the God of gods and the Lord of lords. Then Israel came along and claimed their God was throughout all history, tribes, tongues and nations. He’s not just Israel’s God or the American’s God or the Christians’ God.
He’s the God of gods and Lord of lords.
All peoples, tribes and tongues know Him either as Lord their Judge or Lord their Savior. Why?
There are three reasons why. Because of...
• His glory
• His love
• His grace
There is no other God that has as much glory and love or who shows as much grace. Whoever your god is, whatever you’re giving yourself to tonight; pleasure, relationship, career, power, no other god can give you, or do for you, what this God can.
God’s name is so high, because He set His glory in the heavens. There is no god worth more than Him. None more valuable, affluent, influential, innovative. None are above Him.
The word for glory in Hebrew means something like weightiness or heaviness. When something happens that is weighty and significant, it’s glorious. It’s known to all.
God wants, deserves, is worthy and even demands all significance, renown and fame. He alone is worthy of this.
You see it in two ways in Psalm 8:
• In the heavens.
• In helplessness.
In the heavens.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Psalm 8:1 (ESV)
By saying heavens, he means the things out there and up there: stars, the moon, planets, galaxies, the solar system, mountains, trees, grass, animals. All you see that we didn’t make constitute the heavens. The heavens are shot through with God’s glory. Everything about them are screaming and announcing how glorious He is. He made them in fashion to magnify His name, not theirs. They exist for glory, but for His, not their own.
The heavens are not idolatrous. They know their maker, the One who fashioned and formed them.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1 (ESV)
John Calvin called the world the theater of God. Everything exists to shout how glorious God is.
Psalm 104 mentions all these animals: the lions, the mountain goats, the rock badgers; and then ends with, “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works” (Psalm 104:31). Creation is announcing the glory of this God.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. Psalm 8:2 (ESV)
God is so powerful and mighty He can use the weakest to overcome the mightiest. The way God is most glorified in you is not through your might or intellect, but through your weakness. He is magnified and made glorious through your pain and suffering.
Infants are so helpless. They can’t feed or change themselves. But in that, there’s so much power. They decide when you sleep and when you go out. You are a slave for eighteen years while taking care of them. They’re so powerful over you.
It’s the same with us and God. The more we know Him, the more we need Him. It’s in weakness where Paul says Christ’s power is made known through us.
I read a book that helped me figure out who God was, what He wants and what He’s about. T. Stoner wrote in his book, The God Who Smokes:
God believes that He is the most worthy, most majestic, magnificent, glorious, stunningly beautiful being in the universe. That to Him alone belong honor and glory and praise forever.
He is the “good, but not safe” God that C.S. Lewis talked about. He is blazing with glory. That’s why His name is so majestic and high and powerful.
Some of you are wasting your affections on everything else but Him. You’re giving yourself over: your mind, emotions, talents, money, to everything except this God, who is blazing and beaming with light and glory.
David looks up and sees how big the heavens are. Then he looks at himself and wonders why God cares about him. Have you ever asked yourself that question? We see how vast everything around us is; yet God seems to care about us. This appalled David.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place Psalm 8:3 (ESV)
Think of the heavens: creation, the Earth, solar systems, stars, mountains, rivers. Think of the sheer size of the universe we’re in. Consider it’s beauty. While our arts are constantly being critiqued, it’s interesting to realize that no one critiques creation. No one looks at the sunrise and suggests the contrast is off and could be better. Think about its constancy.
4 A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Ecclesiastes 1:4 (ESV)
The VCR used to be awesome. Then God saved us with Blue Rays. But those will go away too. Things are born and then they die, but the earth remains forever. It’s almost indifferent to us. The sun, moon, seasons, tides, all do their thing without much concern for us. David considers all this.
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:4 (ESV)
God shouldn’t care; He has so much stuff to love. Man is merely a flea, a temporary spec on the canvas of history. Creation and the world continue. We need to wrestle with this.
17 What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, Job 7:17 (ESV)
5 Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; 6 how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm!” Job 25:5-6 (ESV)
God shouldn’t love us. We’ve rebelled; we’ve stiff-armed our Maker. The mountains and oceans have not. But Romans explains that because of our sin, it’s all groaning to be set free from bondage.
We struggle with God’s love for us in two ways:
• We think God can’t love us, because...
We’re too sinful. Our past is too scandalous. We’re too busted, broken, addicted. Most of our life is a dance to try and make God love us. We try to bend God’s arm to bless us..
• We think God has to love us, because...
We’re so likable. We’ve been good. He’s God, He’s required, by His nature, to love us.
Both of these are wrong. The Bible disarms both of these ideas. God has no obligation to you. He sees nothing good in you that moves Him to love and bless you. But, Scripture is clear that He continues to pour out His love and mercy on those who know Him. He has made us the objects of His love.
I’ve seen throughout my life times when God should have left me in my sin; when my heart motives have been very dark. He should not have been loving me, but poured His love on me.
God’s gaze is always on you. He never takes His hand, His presence or good direction from you. All that happens in life is Him moving towards you for good.
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. Psalm 8:5-8 (ESV)
He has Genesis one in mind here. God made man and woman. Then He told them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Theologians call this the Cultural Mandate. It means to go make culture; cities, government, music, art. To advance, build, educate and make the world; to have dominion over the entire world.
Though man is small and a maggot essentially in God’s eyes, He still gives us authority and rule over the earth. We should be ruling and having dominion over all these things. We try to do this. Yet, there’s a problem.
The world is not as it ought to be. Rather, you see chaos. For the most part, we can’t even rule ourselves; our passions, lusts, desires, greed. We can’t rule our own hearts, much less creation. So it’s all gone wrong.
Look at your own heart and life. Consider how things plague you; suffering, temptations, sins, sickness, death.
Our prayer bulletin recently had two prayer requests next to each other. The first was praising God for the baptism of a young boy. The second was for the healing of a brain surgery for a thirteen year old. That’s what life is; praising God for life and pleading with God to save and heal.
Hebrews 2 quotes Psalm 8, highlighting how God has given everything over to man.
5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? 7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, 8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. Hebrews 2:5-8 (ESV)
We don’t see Psalm 8 dominion yet. Rather, we see pain, chaos, tornadoes, tsunamis, death, suffering, human trafficking and more. It’s not subject to him yet. It needs an answer.
9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9 (ESV)
Jesus tasted the curse and death of the fall for everyone. He embraced it. Psalm 8 needed a Savior. So God sent His son to the world to live in our place, die in our place and then rise for our victory. Now He is above every name. He’s the God who became man to rescue us and bring us to God.
Jesus is the King of Psalm 8. One day He will right all the wrongs and set this world right. He will renew all things in His sovereign power and timing.
Is He your King? Is His name majestic to you? Are you obeying Him in everything He says? Do you trust Him? Does He move you? Are you in love with this God the way David was?
If Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2 are right, then Jesus Christ’s name is above all the names in all history, peoples, tribes and tongues. This changes everything for us.