Psalms 8 begins and ends as a psalm of praise to God; however, in the middle there is a strange, unexpected shift—it is almost as if this psalm praises humanity.
The moves of this psalm are easy to track.
The majesty of God! (v. 1)
The reign of God (v. 1a-2)
The Wonder of Creation (v. 3)
The Wonder of Humanity (v.4-5)
The reign of Man (v. 6-8)
The majesty of God! (v. 9)
We have already noticed that this psalm is wrapped in praise to God. God’s name, thus, his person, is magnificent, excellent, splendid! There is no doubt to the psalmist who is worthy of praise, for God has set his glory in the heavens, the created order of the universe. Even children and enemies acknowledge this. The works of his fingers include the moon and stars, and yet . . .
If God rules the heavens, then man rules—yes, that is the right word (v. 6)—over the earth. Everything is “under his feet”: animals, birds, and fish—the works of God’s hands are now under man’s feet, yet . . .
Why? Because as the psalmist ponders, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of many that you care for him?” The parallelism points to the simple question: “Why would God care for us?” I really want to know the answer to this one. Yet . . .
When we hear the answer, it is not what most of us expect. To me, “because he loved us,” while still not explaining it, helps a little. Yet what the Holy Spirit says through David is beyond belief. You see, God made humans in the created order to be “lower than the heavenly beings; God gave humans “glory and honor.” Yet . . .
Even the translators had trouble with what this text actually declares. “Heavenly beings” is the Hebrew word for “God.” There is no real reason to not translate the word as God here, unless you believe God would not think that highly of humans.
So the next time someone asks you, “Who do you think you are?” you can answer them, “Just below God.”