Psalm 8

PSALM 8

For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them 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:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

If you drop into bookstores from time to time or scan the online bookseller sites, you’d have noticed something about the books people buy. In greatest demand are books with titles like “Unleashing Your Potential”. “Personal Motivation” titles. “Self-Development” titles. All written to help you to unleash your potential.

Psalm 8 also reflects on our potential. It seems one night David looks up at the stars and is struck by the vastness of the universe. And as he contemplates God’s immense power and gazes upon the sheer enormity of his creation, David is overtaken by a sense of his own puniness. What really overtakes him in that light is a sense of privilege. For despite our smallness, God appointed us to rule over all his wonderful creation. All God made, he placed under our control, “under our feet”.

The writer to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 8 but interrupts the quote at the end of verse 6. “Under their feet?” Really? Who is this man of Psalm 8? It was Adam’s calling, but he didn’t fulfil his potential. It was David’s calling, but he didn’t fulfil his potential either. None of us have. The writer to the Hebrews concludes that this Psalm is not true of any of us. It’s only true of one person who has ever lived: Jesus (see Hebrews 2:8-9). In his death and resurrection Jesus has fulfilled the potential of Psalm 8 and also made it possible for us to fulfil our potential.

The sheer number of ‘Unleash Your Potential’ type books actually reminds us that something is wrong with humanity.  We yearn to be strong and self-sufficient but know we are weak.  We are especially reminded of our weakness and vulnerability during the current attack from a tiny virus.  Where can we find an answer to our problem?  The answer is only found in God’s book, as we encounter the man of Psalm 8: Jesus Christ. It’s only through Jesus’ suffering for your sins that you can be forgiven and gain a share in his victory over death. It’s only in Jesus that you can unleash your potential.

Head: What have you learnt about Jesus from Psalm 8? What have you learnt about yourself?

Heart: How does it make you feel that he has achieved what no-one else has?

Hands: Think about how you would respond to somebody who might say in the current crisis, “I feel so helpless.”

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you That Jesus is the man of Psalm 8. Thank you that he had all creation at his feet, stilling the power of creation, the wind and the waves. Thank you that he has death at his feet, stilling the power of death. Thank you that he invites me to share in his victory, placing death at my feet. Thank you that in every way he is the one who enables me to fulfil my potential. May all I love also fulfil their potential in him. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.