275 – Psalm 8 – But we see Jesus
I’ve talked about it before, and it bears mentioning here in Psalm eight. Sometimes chapter and verse markings are distracting to us. Remember that God did not inspire Chapter and verse divisions, they are man’s invention. They are, however, handy to the biblical discussion. I love that I can follow along on a Sunday morning with the Pastor when he is talking about a particular passage because he gives the address (Book/Chapter/Verse). Without a commonly shared addressing structure, we would not have time to get on the same page.
When we sit down to do our own study we must make extra effort to not allow the numbering to distract us from the text. Let me show you what I’m talking about by quoting Psalm 8:3-4.
Psalm 8:3-4 (NKJV)
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
4 What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
Do you see what I’m talking about? Verses three and four are actually one sentence. Three ends with a comma, but the sentence-ending punctuation, a question mark, in this case, isn’t encountered until the end of verse four. These two verses, as packed with meaning as they may be are a single thought.
What can we know from these two verses? The first step I would take is to identify the antecedents of the pronouns “I”, “you/Your”, “Him”, and “son of man”.
“I” is obviously the author, whom we know to be David from the title of the Psalm.
“You/your”, is undoubtedly Yahweh Elohim as identified in The first four words of verse one (“O [Yahweh], our [Elohim]).
The first “him” in verse four is also easy to identify because its antecedent is in the first part of the verse, “…What is man…”. The second “him” pronoun refers to the “son of man”. This one seems harder.
If we stay only in Psalm eight we have no idea to whom this “son of man” is referring. Do we call this a mystery and simply move on? No. Let’s look at some additional verses.
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying: “What is man that You are mindful of him, Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels; You have crowned him with glory and honor, And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
Thank you New Testament author of the book of Hebrews for quoting Psalm eight. Because of you, we now know the “son of man” of Psalm eight to be Jesus (Hebrews 2:9)!
As an aside, the hermeneutical practice of considering additional verses to the passage we are studying is called correlation.
Now that we’ve identified our pronouns let’s consider the question raised by the Psalmist in verses three and four.
Read verse three again. Have you ever peered into the night sky observing all the stars and felt small and insignificant? This is the condition in which the Psalmist finds himself. All of creation is so wonderful and expansive who is man that you would think of him and the son of man that you would care for (visit) him?
The answer to the question, “who is man”, seems to go unanswered. But “who is the son of man”? That’s actually answered by the remainder of the Psalm and repeated in the Hebrews reference.
Please read Psalm eight in its entirety and see if you don’t agree with the Psalmist’s declaration in verse one and repeated in verse nine.
Psalm 8:9 (NKJV)
9 O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!