Wednesday of the Festival of Trinity – Psalm 8

1O LORD, our Lord,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
   to still the enemy and the avenger.

 3When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
   and the son of man that you care for him?

 5Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
   and crowned him with glory and honor.
6You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
7all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
8the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

 9O LORD, our Lord,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

The Psalter is a strange and mysterious book. It often confounds us. How do the prayers of ancient believers become the Word of God to me? The psalter is divided into five sections. The first two psalms seem to form an introduction. That would make this psalm the sixth psalm in the first section. If you go to the last section of the psalter and count in six psalms from the end you will come to Psalm 144. In that psalm you will find that it asks this very same question, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” It gives a slightly different answer. Why has the Spirit of God to moved things this way? Why does this question serve as a sort of bookend to the whole psalter? I have no idea.  

We find ourselves in the week of Trinity, a time when we contemplate great mysteries of the faith and wonder at the very nature of God. It is a week of many questions and not very many answers. We might find that disturbing. We would very much like some answers. Our world is regularly convulsed by sin, our reaction to sin, and the lingering after-effects of our reactions to sin. We saw that play out in the recent pandemic and continue to feel the effects of that time. For the traumatized portions of our society, it might still feel like an ongoing nightmare. What is a man or woman that God would be mindful of us? We seem to be subject to impersonal forces like disease, economics, and others. We might even begin to wonder if God does have us in mind at all. The psalmist looked up to the stars of heaven and felt very small and wondered what God had in mind. Could God’s attention be upon a solitary Israelite staring into the Milky Way? Why would God care about us? Yet, the psalmist goes on to say, God has cared and made us little lower than the angels and crowned us with glory and honor.

I cannot speak to why God should love his creation so much that he would take up our human nature in order to suffer and die for our sins and be raised for our justification. I can only attest that he has done just that. With the psalmist I can say that God’s name is indeed majestic because he has saved me. Say it with him today. You are in God’s hands. He establishes his strength in strange ways, even out of the mouths of children, even out of your mouth.

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