Biblical Poetry: Discipleship in Psalm 8

1Lord our Lord, your name is the most wonderful in all the earth!
    It brings you praise everywhere in heaven.

From the mouths of children and babies come songs of praise to you.
    They sing of your power to silence your enemies who were seeking revenge.

I look at the heavens you made with your hands.
    I see the moon and the stars you created.
And I wonder, “Why are people so important to you?
    Why do you even think about them?
Why do you care so much about humans?
    Why do you even notice them?”

But you made them almost like gods
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You put them in charge of everything you made.
    You put everything under their control.
People rule over the sheep and cattle and all the wild animals.
They rule over the birds in the sky
    and the fish that swim in the sea.
Lord our Lord, your name is the most wonderful name in all the earth!

(Psalm 8, ERV)

This beautiful Psalm or song is a wonderful poem. It uses imagery throughout the poem, and takes us on a quick journey from the largest part of the universe to the smallest parts, from the farthest reaches to the nearest responsibilities. It contrasts the wonder and majesty of God to us humans who truly are small and insignificant when we look at the vastness of all creation.

The Psalmist reiterates at the beginning and end of the poem that God’s name is the most wonderful name is all the world. We know God by His names. They reveal His character. This poem definitely praises His name as Creator. But it also acknowledges His name as Savior when we think of how He is mindful of us—He knew we needed a Savior from the beginning, and He had a plan. When I read the ending, the Psalmist talks of the responsibility God has given us and then praises His name again. Which name is He praising here? God our Wisdom and Counselor? God our Father? God our Sustainer? God our Helper? Or maybe it is just a reminder that even though God has given us responsibility and a place of honor in creation, we must always look to Him and remember HE IS GOD, we are not.

I see two very important lessons for us as disciples in this psalm.

#1: We are responsible to care for the earth.

Yesterday was Earth Day, and of all the people on earth, we should be the most willing to care for it. It is our God-given responsibility handed down from generation to generation since the days of Adam and Eve. We should be leading the way in caring for the earth and it’s animals and plants and people.

#2: All of creation glorifies God.

When we look at the earth and the beauty of creation, our focus should immediately be like the Psalmist here who praises God for what He has done. We should never become so enamored with the creation that we neglect the Creator. Instead, it should point us to the Creator and help us understand His heart even more as we see the intricacies and beauty of what He has made.

It should fill our hearts with gratitude as we recognize that in all the enormity of creation, God is aware of us, of you and of me and each and every other person in the world. He is personal. He knows us individually and knows us better than we know ourselves. And yet, He is God! Why would He care about us, especially when we fail Him so often? Why does His love extend to us not just in little droplets but in a lavish waterfall of His grace and love? It is overwhelming to try to grasp this truth.

As I’ve thought about Earth Day and about this Psalm, my heart just echoes the Psalmist and rejoices:

Lord our Lord, your name is the most wonderful name in all the earth!

As parents and grandparents discipling our children, we hopefully can show them the glory of God found in His creation. I often remember nature walks and the many discoveries we found on those adventures. We would bring back the rock, flower, leaf, discarded snake skin, shell, or old bird’s nest and marvel at creation. But we fail our kids if we stop there. The end of that exercise should be a prayer of gratitude and acknowledgement of the One who created all things and knowing His name and character.

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