From Chuck Lane
Questions for The Book of Psalms
Calvary Christian Fellowship
Questions (w/ some answers) for Psalm 8.
1. Who is the Psalmist?
- In Psalm 8, David is writing about “God’s glory and man’s dominion,” with an inscription “To the chief Musician upon Gittith.” Psalms 81 and 84 also directed “To the chief Musician upon Gittith,” the Gittith referring to a type of lyre. The word Gittith is said to be taken from the name Gath, and was an instrument known in Gath, colonized by what may have been some of the first Phoenicians (ancient Greek? maritime explorers), encouraged to settle in the land by the Egyptians, with whom they became allied with against the Ethopians, sometime during the forty years after the Exodus. And, of course, we know that David became familiar with Gath some 400 years after Moses, when he fought Goliath of Gath, and later sought refuge there from King Saul of Israel, on two separate occasions. David plays the Gittith
2. Who is/are the speaker(s)?
- David, whether he fully realizes it or not, is telling us about the humanity of Christ and his ultimate victory as Man, the Word become flesh. Psalm 8 is the bookend Messianic Psalm opposite Psalm 2, with Psalms 2-7 (Absalom’s rebellion) in between. Messianic Psalms are so called because they are quoted with direct reference to Christ in the New Testament.
In the first case, Psalm 2, if you recall, provides the astounding prophecy of mankind’s rebellion (remember we are in the Genesis section of the Psalms) against God and His anointed 1,000 years before the events:
- Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? [Ps. 2:1]
- The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying [Ps. 2:2]
Then, in the New Testament: The Acts of the Apostles 4:24-27, all is revealed, including the identification of “his anointed,” how and by whom will this rebellion begin, and the course that it will take:
- The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ [Act. 4:26, c. Ps. 2:2]
- For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus whom thou ha anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together [Ps. 4:27]
Why? Unbelief. Yes, atheism, which was alive and well by the time of David, although there were no atheistic nations until the 20 th Century, polytheism had grown out of its own rebellion against the one true God, had become the predominate form of religion “worldwide,” and was itself being rebelled against by the populism of atheism by David’s time.
- And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, LORD, THOU ART GOD, which has made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain thing? [Ps. 4:24-25]
Church, are we today as sure to say today “LORD, THOU ARE GOD” as they were when during the early “church” (body of Christ). Or even as sure as David, 1000 years before, when atheism was taking hold, even against the Law, even when not one of the 10 Commandments were given against atheism. One could argue there were no atheists when Moses received the Law around 1400 BC. You certainly can’t argue that now in the 21 Century, where God is not only being left out and left out purposely, but those of faith, the dwindling numbers of those who believe, are under attack from all sides . . . and those attacks are becoming more vile, more vicious, more confident.
3. Who is the audience?
- All whom believe in the One true God, who sent His anointed, His only begotten, to redeem the world from their sin . . .
4. List those described in the Psalm? How are they described (adjectives used, actions given, consequences prescribed)? Examples from the Bible? Do you know people like this?
- O L ORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens [Ps. 8:1]
Here the LORD is celebrated as our Lord; God and man, glorified together through creation of which He is the head. This is a confidence statement of His position, place and time(lessness), from whence He will come again when He comes again as who He is.
O L ORD our Lord.
That He is the only begotten Son of God is what makes Psalm 8 the second of the 16 Messianic Psalms of the 150 Psalms. To believers, Jesus says: John 14:6-14 . To unbelievers Jesus remains consistent in saying who He is: John 10:22-30
- Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger [Ps. 8:2]
In Matthew 21 upon the triumphal entry those in the temple were saying “. . . Hosanna to the son of David” (Matt. 21:9); to which the chief priests and scribes condemn with “Do You hear what they are saying?” Jesus’ reply? “Yea, have ye ever read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou has perfected praise? (Matt. 21:16; see Ps. 8:2, written 1000 yrs. beforehand by David, his ancestor, through who God made His promise).
This was His first entry, when He came as a man, the Word became flesh. When we are told: Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt.1 8:3). When He comes again, in the clouds, there will be no mistaking Him, for He will establish His millenial kingdom on earth. In the meantime, we must become as little children, walking by faith, born again and understanding that our purpose is to glorify Him.
Before He is glorified, however, when He comes again, there is something He must do. Remember the gittith? The Latin Vulgate and Greek Septuagint have another translation of gittith, other than a lyre, which means “winepress.” We know the Lord experienced “the winepress” for us on Calvary. In Isaiah 63:3, however, we are told that when He comes from Edom, He will say, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. It causes me to reflect on the godless nature of Esau, one willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup for lunch.
“. . . Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness” (Malachi 1:2-3).
- When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained [Ps. 8:3]
He ordains everything. He moves the stars in their courses with the ease of finger play, and once created he brought light and spoke it into recreation with a Word . . . but when it came to our salvation, He prayer was so earnest in the Garden of Gethsemane, His sweat fell as drops of blood. The difference between the temporal and the spiritual . . . sins of the spirit vs sins of the flesh; or Love your God and loving your neighbor.
- What is man that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? [Ps. 8:4]
He became as one of us; was baptized, cleansed, when he needed no cleansing, to identify with us. Yes, we love Him because He first loved us. But His love cannot save us. Some say we are not worth saving. It’s His grace, and his grace alone, because there is nothing we can offer Him. And that is why He is our glory, rather than the other way around.
- For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour [Ps. 8:5]
He made His appearances in the Old Testament as the angel of the LORD, but in the new testament He came as a child, born of a virgin, to live and die as a man in a world He truly created.
- Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet [Ps. 8:6]
When he comes again, He will reign in His millennial kingdom. My guess is that it will be a type of benevolent autocracy, the Beatitudes the rule of law. Something not unlike the Garder of Eden was to be, until we, who had dominion over that, threw it all away.
- All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
- The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas [Ps. 8:7-8]
We are told that in nature, through His creation, we can learn that there He is. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
- O L ORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! [Ps. 8:9]
Do we end our prayer the same way we begin, with praise, and joy and hope?
the 3 R’s.
5. What do you think the speaker is feeling and how do you relate?
6. How is this Psalm quoted in the New Testament? http://www.jesuswalk.com/psalms/psalms-NT-quotations.htm
7. What other scriptures are brought to mind through the content, and how might that enlighten or expand the subject of the Psalm. (Column notes, chain references, commentaries, etc.?).