Saturday, August 6, 2011

Psalm 8 - Majesty

Well, this is a little different from the previous few psalms, even though it is still written by David.  Here's what I understand to be the basic ideas of Psalm 8:

  • Verse 1 - The Lord is majestic. 
  • Verse 2 - He has ordained the praise of children to silence his foes.
  • Verse 4 - Man is nothing in comparison to the awesomeness of God's creation.
  • Verse 5 - God has put man in a place of honor.
  • Verse 9 - The Lord is majestic.
When I was growing up, my church used to sing a song based on Psalm 8 - all the time. The video below isn't exactly high quality, but the singing reminds me of what it was like at church growing up.

The song is so simple and repetitive and while there's nothing innately wrong with that, I think that combined with the frequency with which we sang the song made me immune to the complexity of what Psalm 8 is saying.  

I did a quick search on Bible Gateway and found that the word "majestic" is used only 14 times in the entire NIV translation of the Bible, six of those times being in Psalms.  The word majestic is an adjective meaning showing majesty.  According to the Google online dictionary, majesty means "impressive stateliness, dignity, or beauty" or "royal power."

In thinking about just the words majesty and majestic, I know that I have never taken the time to truly let this psalm sink in.  Majesty is a HUGE word.  It's awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping power and beauty.  It's supreme dignity and worthiness.  How could I ever have let myself believe that Psalm 8:1 could be written off as being a simple statement, neatly wrapped up in a repetitive song?

I'm not going to pretend I have this at all sorted out in my head.  It says that "through the praise of children and infants [God] has established a stronghold against [his] enemies, to silence the foe and avenger."  So, God makes children praise him, which quiets his enemies?  How and why would that work?  I feel like I'm missing something here, so if you have any insight into this, share it with me.  

I challenge you to read Psalm 8:3-4 and NOT feel small and insignificant.  God made every intricate working of the universe, from the things we can see and generally understand to things we can't even begin to comprehend, even things we aren't even aware exist.  Then, he made humans.  

Keeping in mind how much significance I should have (none) I read Psalm 8:5-8.  What a startling contrast to the last two verses.  Man should mean nothing in comparison to the enormity of creation.  Yet, God created man to be just a little bit lower than angels.  He made man to rule over everything he created.  What responsibility.

Now that I've taken time to really start digging in to Psalm 8, I can't believe I ever just skimmed through it, thinking, "Oh yes, here's the one about how majestic God is.  It reminds me of that song..."  The very last verse of the psalm repeats the first one, "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!"  For the first time in a very long time, I understand how inconceivable the majesty of God really is- and more than that, I feel it.  

Do you know that feeling you get when you're trying to remember something, but you just can't.  Well, when I try to think of a way to explain how thinking about the majesty of God has made me feel tonight, I get that tip-of-the-tongue feeling.  So, I'm just going to end with a list of synonyms for the word majesty:
  • grandeur
  • greatness
  • illustriousness
  • nobility
  • stateliness
  • power
  • sovereignty
  • supremacy
  • excellence
  • perfection 
  • loftiness
  • eminence
  • prestige
  • splendor
  • merit
Maybe that will help someone else comprehend how incomprehensible the majesty of God truly is.  I've been blindsided by it tonight.  It's seemed like forever since I've felt like I could praise God this easily, without a hint of cynicism or bitterness.  

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I grew up singing that song, too! :) Great post!!