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Crowned with Glory and Honor (Psalm 8)

Series: Psalms (Worshipping God)
  • If I told you that the message of this Psalm was, “he is crowned with glory and honor” — who would you naturally think this Psalm is about? Probably the God of Israel. But the shocking message of this Psalm is that God has crowned humans with glory and honor. Read Psalm 8.
  • Don’t get David wrong though. He didn’t write this Psalm to exalt or praise humans. He wrote to exalt God. Notice how this Psalm is bookended in verses 1 and 9. “Oh Yahweh, our ruler, how majestic is your name in all the earth.” David wrote this Psalm to help us appreciate how awesome God is for exalting humans to such a high position in his created order.
  • What is that position? That’s what we want to appreciate this morning. Not only will this help us appreciate another aspect of our identity, but it will help us understand our hope too. So we can better praise God for his kindness to us.

 

Psalm 8: God uses weak things to accomplish his purposes

  • In this Psalm, David brings out shocking contrast: God’s name is majestic in all the earth; yet, he is so majestic because he uses such weak things to accomplish his purposes. David gives two examples of this.
    • 1. Verses 1-2: God does not use mighty rulers to silence his enemies, he uses infants and babies to do that. One way this is seen is in Jesus’ life: when Jesus’ enemies denied and criticized him, children were the ones who saw the truth and silenced them by crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
    • 2. Verses 3-8: (where we will focus) God uses weak humans to rule the works of God’s hands. But, what is so impressive to David about that?
  • When he looks at the sky, the moon, and the starts - he sees them as the direct work of God’s fingers. Do you remember when you used to look at the universe from the perspective? I remember when every day, sunset, thunderstorm, starry sky, wild and beautiful animal appeared to me as an amazing wonder prepared by God.
  • Here’s why that perspective is important: when David sees the massiveness and wonder of God’s creation… he is suddenly struck with awe. Awe for God yes. But even more, awe for God’s care of us and awe that God would put us in charge of it all.
    • He says in verse 4, “What is man?” Think about it. What are we? We are skin and bones. I am weak, shameful, sinful. I was made from a bunch of dirty and when I die I will become dirt. I am a bag of dirt!
    • And yet, we have been made just a little lower than the Elohim - the spiritual beings. We have been crowned with glory and honor. Not only do we have dominion over all animals everywhere, verse 6 is pivotal: we are given dominion over the works of his hands and all things are put under our feet. David thinks back  to Genesis 1:26, “Let us make man in our image…” and let them have dominion over “all animals” and over “all the earth.” God made so much that is big and beautiful — and he gives us dominion over it all.
    • It is fascinating to me: God has all power and wisdom, yet he’s decided to share and delegate authority to spiritual beings and to humans. Truly, he is majestic!

 

Everything Is Not Yet Under Our Feet

  • And yet, look at verse 6 again. Is this something that is true now? When mosquitoes bite people and millions die from diseases - do we have dominion over the works of God’s hands? When, in 1931, floods in China killed millions, and in 2010, over 300,000 were killed in earthquakes in Haiti — can we say all things are under our feet? When, as happened this week, a thunderstorm causes a Christian friend’s car to hydroplane — killing him and taking him from his family — can we say then that al things, all powers, even death are under our feet?
  • If you said, “No,” you are in agreement with Paul and the writer of Hebrews. In fact, in the way the NT authors quoted and alluded to this text and texts like it, they clearly tell us that the dominion and authority this text is talking about is reserved for our future experience of eternal life when we reign with Christ in the resurrection in the world to come.
  • Notice how Paul points to the future fulfillment of this text in 1 Corinthians 15:22-28.
    • See powerpoint chart.
    • Vs. 22-23 — Here’s his point: Sin and death ruined Adam and everyone after him. But Christ is a new Adam creating a new humanity. All in Christ will be bodily raised in the end as Christ was. What will happen then? Notice vs. 24-28.
    • Christ will destroy every rule, authority, and power. Notice how Psalm 8:6 is present throughout the text (see powerpoint underlining). 
    • Now, what some say is this: “this means Psalm 8 wasn’t talking about humans, it is talking about how Christ will have dominion.” I don’t think that is what Paul is saying about Psalm 8. I think Paul is respecting the original context of humanity having dominion; however, Paul’s point here (and the rest of the NT) is that Jesus is the first new human to have what we who follow him will one day have. Jesus is the first human to conquer and have dominion over all the earth. 
  • Even if you aren’t sure that this is the idea of 1 Corinthians 15, this is exactly the idea of Revelation 3:21, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” 
  • Notice also how the Hebrew writer says this plays out in Hebrews 2:5-9
    • There is a world to come and angels are not the ones who will have control over it.
    • Psalm 8 testifies that everything will be put in subjection to the feet of mankind/humans — nothing of God’s creation will be outside our control!
    • Yet, we don’t see that picture as true now, do we?
    • (see powerpoint underlining of pronouns)
    • But, we do see Jesus who was lowered to our position for a little while (beneath angels), but then - because he suffered and was obedient - he was crowned with glory and honor and exalted above angels. **Jesus has been perfected and has become and is becoming the first human to have the glory and honor humans were always meant to have.
  • John Piper summarizes this well in his “Look at the Book” series on Psalm 8.
    • God created man to have dominion.
    • Man was ruined by sin and death.
    • Jesus as the representative man deals with sin.
    • In him we [will SK] regain dominion over the creation.

 

Four Ways This Responsibility and Hope Impacts Life Now

1. This helps us appreciate dominion as some of the stuff of salvation and eternal life (2 Timothy 2:10-12). 

  • If we fall in a pit and someone embarks on a dangerous rescue mission and dies in the process of rescuing us, we would say, “They saved me.” But why would we be so glad?
    • Because we aren’t dead in the pit. Removal of negative circumstances.
    • Because life as it was supposed to be before the pit can be restored to us (with a newfound appreciation for our lives too). Restoration of living in the real world.
  • We always talk about how Jesus died to save us - as we should. He saved us from sin, punishment, death, and hell. But what have we been saved to? What is the substance of the eternal life that we are promised? What kind of life is being promised and restored to us? This is what Psalm 8 is pointing to: dominion over everything.
  • 2 Timothy 2:10-12 points to this as well. Why does Paul work so hard to make sure the elect obtain salvation? Because: the result is eternal glory, life with Christ, and reigning with Christ. What a great hope - everything that overpowers us and ruins life in this world will be put under our feet in the world to come.

 

2. Knowing this reminds us to pay closer attention to the authority and responsibility we have now (cf. Luke 19:11-23 and 1 Corinthians 3:8, 12-15).

  • We see this in the parable of the minas in Luke 19 and the parable of the talents, don’t we? In the parables, workers are given a certain amount of money to use while the master is gone, and then their future responsibility is determined based on how faithfully and effectively they used what they were responsible for. “Because you have been faithful in very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.”
  • The same is true for us. It is so easy for us to say, “Well, I’m just a human, just a dirtbag, what can I do?” We may only be dirtbags, but we have all been given time, money, abilities, situations, and responsibilities. How lame would it be if we focused on how much others had, but how little we have. We are stewards of what we have been given. Our hope is to reign with Christ in the future world - but who would give us great responsibility and great possessions if we aren’t faithful with the little we have now?
  • So, how are we doing at carrying out our responsibilities? At home? In the church? At work? Are we glorifying God with the abilities, resources, and authority we have been given? How are we treating the people and animals who are under our care? If we rule well, what great hope we have!

 

3. We are reminded that this path to glory and honor was pioneered by a path of suffering (Hebrews 2:9-10).

  • Notice Hebrews 2:9-10. Jesus was only crowned with glory and honor after he proved his obedience through suffering. One of the harsh realities we have been reminded of with Ruth’s NICU stay recently is that we have to conquer by the same path.
  • If we want the crown, we have to carry a cross. Why is suffering and testing always a qualifier to the crown in Scripture? It proves our willingness and humility to be subject to the head of all even when we can’t make sense of what is going on. It shows trust. I’m willing to make an employee a manager when I see that - even in stress - they humbly follow my policies. If we want the crown, we must carry a cross — endure.

 

4. We are reminded of how majestic Yahweh our ruler is (Psalm 8:1,9).

  • When we see that dirtbags like us have been and will be given so much, it doesn’t simply make me see myself in a different light, it makes me see our God in a new light too. How gracious, generous, and trusting is our God?
  • Seeing this makes me go back to Psalm 8:4 and say, “What are humans that you are mindful of us?” It makes me say, “O Lord, our lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”
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