Monday, March 11, 2013

Psalm 8 - and about Psalms in general

Hoverfly on single rose - closeup

Psalm 8

How Majestic Is Your Name

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

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

Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

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

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

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


For the next couple of days we will look at Psalm 8. Before we begin, we will look at somethings we have already learned about the book of Psalms.  We will also discover a few more facts about Psalms.

The book of Psalms is made up of five smaller books of psalms. Psalms contains the most chapters (150) of any other book of the Bible. Isaiah is second in size with 66 chapters. The word psalms comes from the Greek word psalmoi. This suggests the idea of a "praise song," as does the Hebrew word tehillim. It is related to a Hebrew concept which means "the plucking of strings." It is a song to be sung with the accompaniment of stringed instruments. The Psalms is a collection of worship songs to be sung to God by His people. This collection of 150 songs was the first hymnbook for God's people. It was compiled to assist them in their worship of God. It was a collection of many types of songs which was eventually known as the Book of Praise.

The songs are very beautiful. There is however, no rhyme or rhythm to the songs. The psalms use parallel structures. They use repetitive devices such as keywords, refrains, synonyms and keywords. Other literary techniques employed in the psalm are figures of speech, direct speech, ellipses, reversals, surprising turns, question and answer. God inspired the writes of the psalms to create verses that are beautiful when translated into any language. There are duplicate psalms: Psalms 14 and Psalm 53 ; Psalm 40:13-17 and Psalm 70 Psalm 60:5-12 and Psalm 108. A number of psalms are acrostic in Hebrew with the first word of each verse or stanza beginning with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet (Psalms 9-10, 25, 34, 37, 119, 145). Psalm 18  is the same as  2 Samuel 22 .

Psalms is written by more human authors than any other book in the Bible. It is a literary collection from many men such as David, Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon, Moses, Heman, Ethan, and others. It was written over a very long period of time, approximately nine hundred to one thousand years. The first psalm written was Psalm 90  It was written by Moses during Israel’s forty years of wilderness wandering in the wilderness.  This was probably around 1410 B.C. Most of the 150 psalms were written during the reigns of David and Solomon (1010 - 930 B.C.)  The most recently written of the Psalms is Psalm 126 . This psalm was most likely written  by Ezra. Ezra composed it after the time of the Babylonian exile, as the Hebrews returned to Judah. It was therefore written around 500 B.C., or possibly even later, around 430 B.C..

Psalms is the most quoted Old Testament book in the New Testament. Of the 360 Old Testament quotations or allusions in the New Testament, 112 are from the Psalms. Surprisingly,  Psalms contains more messianic prophecies than any other Old Testament book, other than possibly Isaiah. It reveals the Messiah as the Son of God (Psalm 2) and son of man (Psalm 8) in his obedience (Psalm 40:6-8), betrayal (Psalm 41:9), crucifixion (Psalm 22), resurrection (Psalm 16), ascension (Psalm 68:18), and enthronement (Psalm 110).

The various psalms are often categorized by literary types. These categories indicate the different subject matters the psalm addresses or the styles in which they were written. It is sometimes helps, to identify the category to better interprete the psalm. There are a number of different listings of the types of psalms. A single psalm can be categorized under more than one category. Below is one list of the type of psalms. It also includes examples of psalms of that category:
  1. Wisdom psalms. These are instructive psalms that  provide practical guidelines for godly living and give direction for righteous living in the pursuit of God’s will (Psalm 1 Psalm 119)
  2. Royal psalms or Messianic psalms. these psalms describe the coming messianic rule of the Christ, these psalms portray him as the undisputed sovereign King over heaven and earth (Psalm.2  Psalm 18).
  3. Lament  or Mourning psalms. These are emotionally charged psalms that record the writer’s heart crying out to God for divine deliverance from trouble, pain and sin. (Psalm 3  Psalm 35).
  4. Imprecatory psalms. These psalms invoke God’s wrath and judgment upon the writer’s adversaries who were God’s enemies. They are often very brutal and controversial. The psalmist calls upon the Lord to punish the wicked and defend him as he carries out God’s work in the midst of his persecutors (Psalm 7  Psalm 40 )
  5.  Thanksgiving or Praise psalms. These psalms express a deep gratitude and praise for God’s abundant blessings.  They can be praises of an individual or of the nation.  (Psalm 8 Psalm 124).
  6.  Pilgrimage psalms. These are festive psalms for celebration and praise for God.  The people would sing them as they traveled to Jerusalem for their annual feasts (Psalm 43 Psalm 84 ).
  7.  Enthronement psalms. These psalms describe the majesty of God’s sovereign rule over all his creation.  They laud the providential care by which He sustains, controls, and directs all he has made (Psalm 48 Psalm 99).

O Lord, our Lord,  how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens.   

Yahweh, our Lord Two words normally translated “Lord” are used here. The first is Yahweh (yhwh), God’s personal covenant name to Israel and the second, Adonai ('adon), conveys the sense of “master.” The psalmist, David, exclaims that Yahweh is Master.  Yahweh is the personal God of Israel. He is the only God. The majesty of His name is known throughout the entire earth.  God has placed His splendor and glory in the heavens. The heavens also celebrate and reflect the Glory of God.  That was the work of just His fingers. God's glory is not only in the sky, but in the heavens above the sky.

When I was young, still in grade school I loved to garden.  My grandfathers (both my mother's and father's side),  and my wonderful great-grandfather (mom's side) were  avid gardeners. I was privileged to learn from all three of them.  I did a lot of gardening with them and then at home myself. A friend gave me a rosebush for my birthday. I never would have expected that I would go crazy for roses. I soon had more that 40 rose bushes and was evaluating test roses for Jackson & Perkins. I began to grow unusual old rose, like the chestnut and moss roses as well. 

Keeping the roses healthy was not a terribly difficult task.  Water, sun, air flow, soap trimming, mulch  and deadheading was about all that was required.  The one big problem was Japanese Beetles.  They were attracted to the fragrant roses, and would eat them from the moment the bud would begin to open.  There are not many native animals that will eat this unwelcome exotic insect. Ducks and a few other birds will eat them, but they prefer the larvae.  Skunks are one of the few mammals that will eat the adult and larval Japanese beetle.  My pet skunk, Jennifer, would devour the bugs. But that was little help to rose care. Jennifer was not able to enjoy, understand or even notice the beauty of the rose.  She would tear the flower and bush apart to find the the beetle prize. Jennifer just didn't care about the beautiful, fragrant, colorful rose.

I occasionally take Hoover, our fox terrier, on short walks.  He seems to enjoy them, but I can't take him on a long walk.  He is everywhere and pulling at his leash. One evening we were treated by a magnificent sunset––perfect colors, wonderful clouds, beautifully silhouetted trees. It almost took my breath away.  I was compelled to stop to admire the masterpiece.  Then I paused to praise and thank the Artist who created this masterpiece.  Hoover was only interested in sniffing at the ground and digging in the grass.

How wonderful that God made man such a splendorous world to live in.  He made man capable of seeing the beauty of this magnificent universe. God instilled in mankind a sense of Wonder.  God did not place this sense of wonder in the animals over which we have dominion.  We stand in awe of God and His creation. We have the ability to see the Creator in his creations. Who is not moved by the view of  majestic snow capped mountain, the ocean waves breaking on the rocks, the fragil beauty of a blooming flower, the glory of star studded night sky, or the surprise of colors in an unexpected rainbow. This glorious planet and the heavens demands our attention.  We must know that it did not happen by accident. We must know it was created by design.  We must thank God our Creator and the creator of all for this beauty and wonder. The glory belongs to Him. O Lord, OUR Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Is He your Lord?  Have you chosen to thank Him and glorify His name?

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