Monday, January 17, 2022

God’s Favor Toward Mankind (Psalm 8)

"For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor" (Psalm 8:5).

David sets before us in Psalm 8 the wonderful power and glory of God in creation. He is so enraptured by God’s benevolence that he focuses on God’s infinite goodness toward man in creation. In all of nature, the glory of God shows forth most abundantly. But none so glorifies His goodness like His condescension to man. Calvin says, “Although the infinite majesty of God shines forth in the heavenly bodies and justly keeps the eyes of men fixed on the contemplation of it, yet His glory is beheld in a special manner, in the great favor which He bears to men, and in the goodness which He manifests toward them.”

It is a truly wonderful thing that the Creator of heaven and earth, whose glory is so surpassingly great, should bestow on lowly man His favor and blessings. This is even more apparent when you compare the greatness of God to the finitude of man. David makes this contrast even more forceful by using the Hebrew word enosh, which is rendered man, expressing the frailty of man. To Calvin, refusing to be thankful to God for His favor is brutish: “Whoever, therefore, is not astonished and deeply affected at this miracle, is more than ungrateful and stupid.”

David is not highlighting the greatness of man in this psalm but the extraordinary goodness of God in stooping to bless man. Despite man’s unworthiness, God in His goodness demonstrated His infinite grace by making him a little lower than the angels—in the image of God, immortal, moral, and religious. He also gave him external dominion over creation. Although, by the fall of man, this estate has been almost entirely ruined, there still remains some of the blessings that God displayed for him.

The fullness of these blessings are realized in Christ and will be completely restored to believers at the consummation of His kingdom. Then the saints will reign with Christ over all creation. This passage is applied to Christ in Hebrews—not as an interpretation of what David meant but as an application to Christ’s humiliation and resurrection. He who was made a little lower than the angels is now crowned with glory and honor. With Him all the elect will reign and reap the blessings of an infinitely good God.

Though we are infinitely lower than God, He has ordained that we rule. In the image of God, we are above animals. What movements today in our educational and political systems contradict this truth? Seek to respond to those who say man is the same as, if not lower than, plants and animals.