Psalm 8 – Is this where it ends?
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We have spent this month reflecting on the importance Scripture places on investing in the next generation, on discipling our children and youth. We have followed salvation history from Genesis 1 through the Old Testament, the gospels and the rest of the New Testament. And we conclude our reflective journey today in Psalm 8. Psalm 8? Is this where it ends? Surely, we should conclude in John’s Revelation of the new heavens and the new earth! Come with me to Psalm 8, a psalm of lofty praise amid dark valleys of lament and pain to see why our journey ends here.
V.1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! This joyful refrain bookends Psalm 8 and so we should expect the psalm to give us reasons why our Lord’s name is majestic in all the earth. God’s name is an extension of himself. Where his name is, God is also – and his name is majestic in all the earth. We hear the same promise from the lips of Jesus at the end of Matthew´s Gospel (‘…and surely I am with you always…’ Matthew 28:20) so there is no way you can go where your God and Saviour is not. What a comfort!
Psalm 8 forces us to consider the paradox of our human existence. V.3-4 compares humans with the majestic vastness of the heavens
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him…? – Psalm 8:3-4
We are so small, so irrelevant in the expanse of inter-galactic space. In the words of outspoken atheist, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, we are ‘so petty, so local.’ If that is all there is to say about our existence, we have no basis for any coherent morality or dignity and no destiny or hope worth speaking of. As Christians, we cannot leave the matter there, for the Bible does not leave it there.
Psalm 8 quickly moves on to affirm the inherent dignity of human life (v.5-8)
You have made them [humans] a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet… - Psalm 8:5-6
We are created beings and our Creator God has invested us with great dignity and worth, here coming from the job given to us – to rule the world and all that is in it as God’s ‘kingly representatives.’
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8:9
The New Testament applies Psalm 8 further, showing us that Jesus is the ultimate fulfilment of Psalm 8. He is the one under whom God has placed all things (1 Corinthians 15:27, Ephesians 1:22), He is the one whom set aside his equality with God (Philippians 2:6f) to take on flesh in order to ‘taste death for everyone’ and bring ‘many sons and daughters to glory’ (Hebrews 2:9-10).
Jesus quoted Psalm 8 in the Temple following his Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem. Matthew 21:14 tells us Jesus had just healed many who were blind and lame …
But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they [the chief priests and teachers of the law] were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“ ‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. – Matthew 21:15-17 (Psalm 8:3)
As Jesus was heading to the cross, it was the children who knew who he was and it was the children who responded to him rightly. It is because of the cross – and the empty tomb – we can live with a real hope and a certain destiny.
As we await the appearing of our blessed hope (Titus 2:13), how will you encourage the children and infants, the teens and young adults, in your life to join you in shouting ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!”?
It will all end, and all begin, when He comes. But until He does, we’re not there yet, and I hope your journey with us through the Scriptures focussing on children and youth, has helped you see the privilege and responsibility of investing in the next generation, of discipling our children and youth that they might grow to be mature, life-long disciple-making disciples of Jesus.
The Lift Up Your Hearts devotional series for the month of March 2021 are provided by Canon Craig Roberts, CEO of Anglican Youthworks in Australia and his colleagues. Today’s devotion was written by Craig who is also the leader of Gafcon's Youth and Children Network. You can find more of Youthworks excellent resources here.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
Anglican Missions Africa (AMA). In February and March, AMA has organised missions in 26 secondary schools in Kenya, taking the gospel to 35,000 teenagers. Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit has led the outreach, and 8,750 have responded, giving their lives to Christ. Thank God for this ministry and pray for the next stage of providing discipleship clubs.
To access daily prayer requests click here: