Meditations on the Psalms
This is the first Psalm in the book of Psalms that sings God’s glory and majesty without responding to sin and rebellion of the wicked. The Psalmist, king David, does acknowledge the truth of man’s rebellion, but in a way that does not suggest the debilitating impact upon God’s creation.
In this Psalm the Holy Spirit speaks in the third-person about God and God’s Son. The Spirit uses the proper name of God, YHWH, the Everlasting One, recognizing God’s preeminence over creation. God is Lord, which means firm and strong, the master and king, the Authority over all authorities. While all of the Psalms recognize God’s ultimate authority, they reveal an attitude of disdain those people who rebel against God show toward their Creator. In contrast to the wickedness of the rebellious, the Psalms also emphasize the blessedness of those who take refuge in Him. All of the Psalms are written by God the Son and poetically speak about His work in both redemption and judgment.
Psalm 8 is written for the choirmaster, or the chief musician, just as Psalm 4. David wanted the choirmaster to teach this Psalm to the people, to be performed under his direction, during times of worship. The instrument used is unknown, but is called a Gittith, possibly from the city Gath, a city where David left the Ark of God after the death of Uzzah. “So David But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household” (2 Samuel 6:10-11 ESV). The instrument Gittith is used for three Psalms, Psalm 8, 81 and 84.
We do not know why David composed this Psalm, other than his love for and worship of God. As a shepherd, the young David would live with his sheep, not leaving them at any time during the day or night. Watching sheep and keeping them safe, gave David time to contemplate the world in which he lived. His musical and poetic talents, inspired by the Holy Spirit, often resulted in a song. David intimately knew God and expressed himself, his love for and trust in God throughout his life.
Psalm 8 shows the absolute authority of God over all creation and the absolute authority given to Jesus by God over all creation. David recognizes the place of God over creation in the first and last declaration of His majesty.