But here is the interesting thing. When the psalm gets around to describing man specifically, it describes him as being "a little lower than the heavenly beings" rather than "a little higher than the beasts." It could have been written the other way around. If man really is a mediating being, as the psalm maintains, it would have been equally accurate to have described him as slightly higher than the beasts rather than as slightly lower than the angels. But it does not, and the reason it does not is that, although men and women have been given a position midway between the angels and the beasts, it is nevertheless man's special privilege and duty to look upward to the angels (and beyond the angels to God, in whose image women and men have been made), and so become increasingly like God, rather than downward to the beasts, with the result that they become increasingly beast-like in their behavior.

Yesterday we concluded by making the observation that it is quite astonishing that the God who created this vast universe should actually care for us. Yet that is what he does. And not only that. Not only does God think of us and care for us, which is what verse 4 asserts. He has also crowned us with "glory and honor" (v. 5), which means that he has given mere human beings, mere specks in this vast universe, a significance and honor which is above everything else he has created.

Psalm 8 is quoted a number of times in the New Testament, on one occasion by Jesus. He had entered Jerusalem in triumph on what we call Palm Sunday. While he was in the temple area, healing the blind and lame who came to him, the children who had observed the triumphal entry continued to praise him, crying, "Hosanna to the Son of David." This made the chief priests and teachers of the law indignant. But Jesus replied, referring to Psalm 8, “Have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’” (Matt. 21:16)?

It would be difficult to say anything negative about any one of the psalms, since each is a part of sacred Scripture and is given to us by God for our benefit. Yet we cannot escape feeling that some of them stand out above others. This is true of Psalm 23, probably the most beloved psalm in the Psalter. It is true of the very first psalm, Psalm 19, Psalm 100 and more. It is also true of Psalm 8, to which we come now.

The second half of Psalm 7 is an expression of David's deep confidence in God, a section not much different from what he has said in the preceding psalms and will say many more times in what follows (vv. 10-17). David says that: 1) God will protect him, being his shield against foes; 2) God is righteous, expressing his wrath against evil every day; 3) God will judge his accusers, if they do not repent; and 4) God has arranged things so that evil eventually brings judgment on itself.