As though David continues his worship service, he opens his mouth and shares a message from God, which is the major theme of this composition. We can imagine his standing before the people and preaching about the needs of humanity and the grace of God.
First, he considers the pitiful inadequacy of humanity. Read verses 3 and 4 slowly. Think them over and enter into the mental picture David has in mind.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him? (Psalm 8:3-4)
The Hebrew word translated "consider" is the common verb meaning "to see, behold, take a look." David was out among the splendor of natural phenomena. As he looked about him, he was gripped with the startling realization of God's greatness. Every one of us has had that experience. When we glance heavenward, we are struck with awe. We "take a look" at the expanse, and invariably, we are overwhelmed!
David refers to God's creation as "the work of Your fingers." Creating the universe was nothing more than "finger work" for God; salvation, however, represents His "arm work" (Isaiah 52:10; 53:1; 59:16; Psalm 77:15, KJV).
In asking the question, "What is man?" David uses a rather uncommon term for man. Enosh comes from a Hebrew verb that means "to be weak, sick, frail." In other words: "In comparison to your splendor and majesty, O Lord, what is puny, weak, frail humanity?" According to David, God overlooks our lowly status and acts on behalf of humanity in two significant ways: He takes thought of him and takes care of him.
What do these things mean? The first statement—"take thought of"—means that God remembers us, while the second phrase—"care for"—means He pays attention to us. What an amazing truth! If the daily grind of feeling overlooked has you in its grip, here is a thought worth massaging: the God who created all the magnificent surroundings of the universe actually remembers and pays attention to puny individuals like you and me. It is easy to believe that God has too many other things to concern Himself with than to care about us. Peter reminds us, however, that "[God] cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). God never overlooks His own!
This prompts David to reflect on the grace of God.
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. (Psalm 8:5-8)
In spite of the vast difference between God and man, David declares that the Lord has set His love upon us and has given humanity a place of dignity and importance in this world. We are made lesser than angels in terms of power, but we are, nevertheless, crowned with glory and majesty. Moreover, He gave us the responsibility and privilege of ruling over the world as His vice-regents (Genesis 1:28-30). Hebrews 2:6-9 applies these verses to Jesus Christ, making this section of Psalm 8 messianic and prophetic. Historically, however, it is applicable to all humans. While Jesus is the Son of God, we share this honor and responsibility with Him. Amazing!
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.