The eighth psalm is another psalm of David. The import of the psalm is glorious, and the Gittith probably refers somehow to the joyful aspect and nature of the psalm. “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. . . .” (Ps. 8:1-9).
We see first how the creation gives glory to God. The details of this psalm are sandwiched between two examples of high exultation (vv. 1,9). God’s name is excellent in all the earth, and His glory is above the heavens.
We should then note victory out of the mouths of babes. Those who hate God and resist His will are defeated by Him. God defeats them in the words of babies (v. 2). Who shuts down the railing atheist? The answer of this psalm is the jabbering baby in the back of the sanctuary. He is the one who silences the foe and the avenger.
Of course this relates to humility. When a man with a right heart considers the work of God’s fingers in the heavens, he is abased and overwhelmed. Part of this is because God continues His kindnesses on our tiny level (vv. 3-4).
But despite a humble man’s awareness that he is merely a piece of clay, God has nevertheless placed him just beneath in the angels in rank (v. 5), and has crowned him with glory and honor. The Lord Jesus came and occupied this place that was a little lower than the angels, and in so doing, He exalted that place forever.
We therefore see true dominion: man is steward of the earth, and God has made him vice-regent over all beasts, birds, and fish (vv. 6-8).
We should carefully note the anchor points of this psalm. This psalm is frequently quoted in the New Testament, just as the 2nd Psalm was, and we must use these quotations as anchor points in our interpretation of it. If we do not, then we will miss the point of the psalm entirely. One of the great tragedies in biblical commentary is how infrequently believing Christians take at face value the authoritative words of the New Testament on what an Old Testament passage means.
We have already commented on one of these places — “out of the mouths of babes.” Jesus quotes the second verse of this psalm when certain self-important theologians were distressed over the behavior of children at Christ’s triumphal entry of Jerusalem (Matt. 21:15-16). There is also a possible allusion to this psalm in Matt. 11:25. God has hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them to babes. And to this day, theologians continue to shoo babies away from Jesus.
And all things have been placed “under His feet.” Whose feet? In the book of Hebrews, the apostle Paul applies this psalm to mankind in Christ.
“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:5-9).
We see the same thing in 1 Corinthians. Here Paul applies the psalm to Christ.
“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:25-28).
Paul emphasizes this theme in Ephesians also. In Christ, mankind comes into his dominion.
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23).
Mankind is in the process of growing up to his maturity in Christ. But in recent times, our difficulty in understanding covenantal identity has really crippled us. Jesus Christ is not the isolated perfect man. Jesus Christ is the new mankind, He is the new Adam, He is the new race of man. And all who are in Him are included in this glorious new dominion.
The ruin created by the first Adam is being repaired in the person and work of the second Adam. We are invited to see the restoration of the entire earth in Christ — and if we are more dependent on our newspapers than on the Word of God, the author of Hebrews both encourages and admonishes us. We do not yet see everything subject to mankind in Christ, but we do see Jesus Christ, and to the extent we see Him by faith, in line with what the New Testament teaches about this, the world will be subdued under the preaching of the gospel.
Everything has been placed under the feet of Jesus Christ. But we are His body; we are His feet.