Majestic God, Majestic People of God (Psalm 8:1-9)

In C. S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, Lucy and Aslan engage in an illuminating conversation. (Lucy is one of the Pevensie children, and Aslan, the lion, is the Christ figure in Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia.) Lucy hasn’t seen Aslan in quite a long time, and when she finally does, she says with surprise, “Aslan, you’re bigger.” The lion replies, “That is because you are older, little one.” Lucy asks, “Not because you are?” Aslan says, “I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

Believers around the world today would do well to keep growing spiritually, and in the process, find God bigger than they had ever dreamed. He still wants to do more through us than we ever could have imagined (Ephesians 3:20). For that to happen, the church of Jesus Christ must see God as completely majestic. We must also need to see ourselves as majestic, too—in him. No more of this self-condemnation, this negativity toward ourselves! No more excuses as to why we can’t be used mightily of God to do great things in our town in our time!

No, in Psalm 8, David invites believers, first, to marvel at the glory of God. Why? Because God’s name is majestic in all the earth (1, 9); he uses the weak things of this world to defeat his enemies (2); he has created this vast universe and everything in it (3); and he truly cares for the seemingly insignificant human beings he has made (4). Indeed, God is utterly majestic.

But David in Psalm 8 also invites believers to marvel at the glory of humanity, too. Why? Because God made human beings a little lower than himself (5a); he crowned human beings with glory and honor (5b); and he gave human beings authority over his creation (6-8). People are majestic, too! Created in God’s image, human beings have a lofty status in this universe.

John Piper has said, “You cannot worship and glorify the majesty of God while treating his supreme creation with contempt. You cannot starve the aged human and glorify the majesty of God. You cannot gas the Jewish human and glorify the majesty of God. You cannot lynch the black human and glorify the majesty of God. You cannot dismember the unborn human and glorify the majesty of God. You cannot treat the mixing of human races like a pestilence and glorify the majesty of God.” Amen. Human beings are majestic because they bear the image of the majestic God.

Yet, given the brokenness we find in this world—and in ourselves—there’s something about v. 5a that seems overstated (“You made humans a little lower God”), and something about v. 6b that seems incomplete (“You put everything under humanity’s feet”). That’s why the New Testament comes back to Psalm 8 a handful of times—all in the context of Jesus Christ and his mission restore the world and make all things new. So, in the entire sweep of redemptive history, Psalm 8 invites us also to marvel at the glory of Christ. 

Why? Because, in fulfilling (or “completing the vision of”) Psalm 8, Jesus has used the weak things of this world to defeat his enemies (Matthew 21:14-16); he has tasted death for everyone (Hebrews 2:6-9); he has conquered the death Adam unleashed by his sin (1 Corinthians 15:22-27a); and he has been made the head over all things for the church (Ephesians 1:22). Most surprisingly, he has crushed the head of the serpent, and he wants to do the same through us (Romans 16:20). In short, Psalm 8 is saying to believers today: Elevate your view of God, yourself, and your mission with Christ. May it ever be so in this New Year and beyond.

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