Psalm 8: When We Shine Like Stars

Read Psalm 8.

When a person in the ancient Near East looked up at the night sky, they didn’t merely see the moon and stars, planets and comets—they saw the heavenly host, a cast of gods shining down on the earth in supernatural glory. That is why, for example, God forbid the people of Israel from bowing down to worship “the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array” (Deuteronomy 4:19).

But the Bible doesn’t discount the idea that there is a heavenly host; it actually reinforces it. There are the sons of God (Genesis 6:2; Job 1:6), watchers (Daniel 4:13), cherubim (Genesis 3:24), seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), angels (Genesis 19:1; Hebrews 13:2), and (at least one) archangel (Jude 9). What the Bible reveals is different than the pantheons of pagan religious systems—there is only one uncreated and eternal Triune God with a capital G—but there are lesser spiritual beings in the heavenly realms who are sometimes also called gods.

In Psalm 8, David considers the heavens—“the moon and the stars”—and then wonders at God’s care for human beings (vv. 3–4). When we understand that David is not talking about a chunk of rock orbiting the earth and distant balls of flaming gas, his logic begins to make sense.

The heavenly host who have remained faithful to God reveal His glory (v. 1), and they do it well—just as they were created to do. But you and I fall short (Romans 3:23). We, too, were made to reflect God’s glory. That’s what bearing His image was all about (Genesis 1:27). But in our sin, none of us reflect the glory of God as we should. So, Jesus came to set things right.

Scripture tells us, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus bears God’s image and reveals His glory perfectly, and one day, so will all who know Him: “And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man” (1 Corinthians 15:49). We become more like Christ each day as we walk by His Spirit, but when He returns we will be transformed, glorified, and made like Him (1 Corinthians 15:42–44; 1 John 3:2).

But that is what will be.

David, in Psalm 8, meditates on our current reality. Right now, even though we have failed to live up to our task as His image-bearers—even though we sin and rebel and sometimes live as though God doesn’t even exist—He has “crowned [us] with glory and honor” (v. 5), and He has put everything in this world under our dominion (vv. 6–8). God has been awfully good to us.

We have been made a little lower than the angels (v. 5), but only for a time. We will, one day, join with the heavenly host in reflecting God’s glory as we should. And when we do, we will “shine like the brightness of the heavens,… like the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3).

“LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8:1, 9).

What is this all about?

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