We begin today with Psalm 8. Yes, it’s one of my favorite Psalms. It is a Psalm of praise to God for His creation. The creation itself shows forth the majesty of God, which is why David starts and ends with “YHWH our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth” (8:1, 9). God is set above the heavens (v. 1). He is invisible, because no one can see His glory and live (see Ex 33:18-20). I think David may have even had this Exodus passage in mind, as He describes God as above the heavens, yet His name as great in all the earth. And His name is proclaimed by His creation (see Psalm 19:1).
In verse 2 David contrasts the weak of the world with the strong of the world. The praise of the weak (the Septuagint translation includes “praise”, though it is implied in the Hebrew) makes them stronger than the strength of the world. Jesus quotes this in Matthew 21:16 after His Triumphal Entry (from the Septuagint). David is awed by the heavenly bodies, which themselves are below God Who is above the heavens (v. 3). It makes David wonder why God made man, who is lower than the heavens, uniquely in His image and cares for him uniquely (v. 4). David says man was made a little lower than the “heavenly beings” (v. 5), meaning angels. As the image of God, man has an inherent glory and honor. David is likely referring to the creation mandate in verses 6-8 (see Gen 1:26-30).
But there is more to this Psalm than that. The writer of Hebrews says that verses 4-6 refer to Christ and the coming subjection of all things to Him because of His finished work on the cross (Heb 2:5-9). With that understanding, there is a deeper spiritual meaning behind this Psalm.
God used the weak (Jesus in His humanity) to overcome the strong – the enemy (Satan) and the avenger (a reference to death – it is a word used of capital punishment in the Torah, as in Ex 21:20). God cared so much for man, that He sent His Son as One of us. He Who’s glory was above heaven was made a little lower than the heavenly beings in His humanity (see Phil 2:6-7). And the glory and honor are His as a result of His atoning death (Heb 2:9a – see Phil 2:9). God has put all things under Christ’s feet, and at His return will have all of creation subject to Him (see Ps 110:1 – see Phil 2:10-11). His is the name that is majestic in all the earth (see Phil 2:9b and Acts 4:12 and note the name given “under heaven”).
Psalm 14 is a condemnation of those who do not see God’s majesty in creation, and who do not call on the Name given for salvation as we just saw in Psalm 8. It is the fool who denies God (14:1). Because of who they are, corrupt people, they do corrupt deeds (see Gen 6:11-12). This is a universal trait of fallen man (“none” does good – see Rom 3:10-12). God looks for those with understanding who seek Him (v. 2), and there are none (v. 3 – again, Rom 3:10-12). In verse 4, we see that this is applied to those who are not God’s people. This is unregenerate man.
Verses 5 and 6 reveal the truth, even though our experience may tell us otherwise at times. God is against them, and for us. They would hinder and even destroy us, but God is our refuge (see Psalm 91 and what we said about this yesterday). The Psalm ends with a prayer for salvation for Israel, and a restoration of their fortunes. This restoration of fortunes is prophesied of often by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. But they were speaking from the point of view of the captivity. Think about Israel’s circumstances under David. They were anything but unfortunate. They needed no earthly salvation. This shows us that David himself was looking forward to a different salvation. He is looking to Christ.
Psalm 28 is a prayer (28:1-5) and an answer to that prayer (vv. 6-9). David starts with a cry to God to hear him, because it is only because God is with him that David is any different from those who die in their sins (vv. 1-2). David pleads to not be counted as a sinner (v. 3) because he knows what the just recompense is for sin (v. 4). In verse 5, the “they do not regard” is literally “they do not perceive” or “they do not understand” the works of the Lord. These are the fools David spoke about in Psalm 14. They have a sure end.
In verse 6, David blesses God for hearing “the voice of my please for mercy,” which is what he prays God would do in verse 2. God has answered David’s prayer. He has not counted him among the wicked, the workers of evil, those who “go down to the pit.” He has counted him righteous. Therefore, YHWH is his strength and protector. David trusts in Him (v. 7). God is the strength and protector for all his people (v. 8). He brings salvation and is their shepherd (v. 9). What this Psalm is, is a sinners prayer, and a guarantee that God will answer.
Psalm 29 is a song of praise that describes YHWH as the one true God. David pulls from pagan beliefs about their gods, and ascribes to YHWH the real power over the forces of nature. It begins with a call for even the heavenly beings to give God the glory and acknowledge His power (29:1). This is a reference to the heavenly beings we saw in Psalm 8 (whom God is above), but it is also a reference to the “gods” of the nations. Even they should fall and worship the true God of the universe (v. 2).
David then describes God as a powerful storm. God is so powerful that with but a word He directs the oceans and seas (vv. 3-4). By His word, the power of God rules the land, breaking even the strongest trees (vv. 5-6). By a word, God controls the destructive powers of the world (vv. 7-8). By His word, God creates life, and destroys, revealing His glory (v. 9). God sits enthroned – He rules – over the flood (v. 10), likely a reference to the Flood (this is the only place this Hebrew word for flood occurs outside of the Flood narrative in Genesis), meaning He as King of the universe holds judgment in His hand. Yet the power of God David talks about, He gives to His people, and grants them peace. He is both Savior, and just Judge. He is both love, and wrath.