God’s Majesty & Man’s Dominion

JDudgeon on July 23, 2023
God’s Majesty & Man’s Dominion
July 23, 2023

God’s Majesty & Man’s Dominion

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Passage: Psalm 8
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God’s Majesty and Man’s Dominion (Psalm 8)

The psalms, as we know them to be, are songs of praise to the Lord, acknowledging his greatness, sharing in his goodness, and worshiping His Holy name. These psalms contain humble responses of worship from God’s people to their Lord. When these psalms were composed, they came from a variety of scenarios and moments in the lives of God’s people.

Think of the several different types of psalms: Praise, Lament, Thanksgiving, Wisdom… all of the psalms share in the expression of worship to God, though they may differ in their composition. They all share in worship to God for who He is, and for all that He has done. Why do I mention this?

In Psalm 8, David praises the Lord for his greatness, and His majesty that is displayed in all of creation. In this recognition and praise in the Psalm, we will see that thankfulness, sorrow, the need for wisdom - these will all be responses that come from one after God’s own heart, just as that of the psalmist, David (1 Sam. 13:14).

The Majestic Name of the Lord

NOTE: The inscription that we see for Psalm 8 includes the term, “Gittith”, and though there is not an exact interpretation of this term, speculations have been made, and you may see in the ESV, that this is in reference to a musical or liturgical term, as we know these psalms would have been sung by an individual, or could have been later on in an assembly.

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (8:1a)

Right off the bat, David starts off with the statement, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name” – we already recognize here that David uses Lord twice, but differently – why? Throughout the Old Testament, we see the use of the Lord where the L is capitalized, but the rest is lowercase, and also the case where all the letters are capitalized (the ESV has a slightly smaller font for the 3 remaining letters).

The title, Lord, is used throughout all of the Old Testament, where, for example, we see a scripture such as Exodus 3:14, where “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”. When we see all capitals in any place in scripture, we know that it is in reverence to the Lord’s name, which is YHWH. This is God’s name, and the Lord’s name is to be honored and revered. Lord is not a replacement, but a sign of healthy fear and respect to the name of YHWH. This is why we can already start recognizing the amazing truth in the psalmist’s first words of the psalm – “O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

In All the Earth

When David says, “majestic is your name in all the earth”, he doesn’t say in the earth, but in all the earth. “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), and as we read in the next verse, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2)

God is the Creator of the earth. He is everywhere, and his glory fills the earth (Jer. 23:24, Ps. 139:7). Wherever one may be, the majesty of the Lord is there. God is majesty, so where God is, his majesty is. This psalm tells of the one, true God, who is the Sovereign Creator of all things, where everything is subject to his majesty/authority!

But let’s ask the question: what comes to mind when we hear majesty? Royalty? A King and Queen? A throne? A ruler of a country? Maybe we think of the power that comes with this title. A King or Queen is viewed as the highest level of authority in a country, and implies a high level of stature, a role of authority, over a country, population, etc.

God’s majesty can be compared to this, but we know that our understanding of royalty derives from God’s majesty; we know it because God is the Highest King. We know that all creation has been formed and given life by God. Nothing exists outside of Him (Rev. 4:11, Jn. 1:3), and nothing exists outside of his Sovereign rule and His authority. God’s majesty is not restricted to a select part of creation, or only applies to select people. The psalmist states that God’s majesty, his majestic name, is in all the earth, and that his name is to be praised!

We want to remember though that in the time of David, all of creation did not serve God as Sovereign Ruler of the earth. All of the earth did not submit and serve to Lord’s kingship.

Take the example of the enemies of David that we see surrounding the psalm – they plotted against the Lord (Ps. 2:1-2), rose against David (Ps. 3:1) are full of bloodthirst and deceit (Ps. 5:6), instead of humbly submitting and serving the “God of gods and Lord of lords” (Deut. 10:17). So, when the psalmist declares the Lord’s majesty – yes, all may not know and proclaim, and yes, not all the earth will praise the Lord, but, the children of God can say yes, and in submission, declare the Lord’s majesty.

Above the Heavens

“You have set your glory above the heavens.” (8:1b)

As we do see in verse 8 of this psalm, as well as commonly in the Old Testament, birds as we know them are referred to as “birds of the heavens” (Ps. 8:8) So, when the psalmist refers to the heavens, this can be in reference to the sky.

Here’s a question? Where is heaven?? Have any of us not wondered this as children, asking our parents, grandparents, our Sunday school teachers, our elders?? If the heavens referred to here are in reference to the skies, then would it be implied that heaven is in space – in a galaxy far, far away?

Genuinely though, haven’t we ever been in wonder of where this place of promise is? Haven’t we asked where God’s glory finds it resting place, if you will?

Throughout scripture, we receive a glimpse of this promise, of when for example we read scriptures like Revelation 21, that reveal to us the glory that is to come like we’ve never known, where there is no more sorrow, death, pain…

David would have not had Revelation, the Epistles, the words of Jesus, but… we do see the psalms alighting to dwelling in Lord’s house (27:4, 23:6, 122:1), but we also can know that the Israelites would have known of the Lord’s glory through the portrayal of the temple of the Lord, the Tabernacle, where the Lord was worshipped, and where, in the Holy of Holies, the presence of the Lord would appear. (Leviticus 16).

The Lord’s majestic name was known to his children – he was their Lord, and they were His people. They knew YHWH as holy, as sovereign, and as ruler of all creation. They knew that he was God, and he was deserving of all majesty and glory.

We can draw from this example, that just as God’s people had a small taste of God’s glory, God has set the same glory above the heavens… the NASB uses the word “displayed”, so God’s glory was displayed in the Holy place of the temple, and that same glory has been displayed throughout all the heavens! God’s name is so great, full of majesty, that it’s amazing that it was able to be known to the Israelites, and in that way!

This is to say that God’s majesty and glory go hand in hand. As God has set his glory above the heavens, he makes it known to his people. As makes it known amongst his people, God’s majestic name can fill all the earth!!!

From the Mouths of Babies

“Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.” (8:2)

So, as we have read, the psalmist starts by praising the Lord, proclaiming the majesty of his name in all the earth, and proclaims how the glory to his majesty is above the heavens. And now… we’re talking about babies. As you will notice in this psalm, this verse does not appear from first eye view to make sense with what the rest of the psalm is speaking about.

Many of us can understand what comes out of the babies’ mouths – which is babbling, crying, laughter. We encounter the joy of this, even on a Sunday morning just like this. John Piper explains it well when he says, “God can make anything he chooses simply to go out of existence. But instead, God chooses to defeat his enemies with babies.”

But in all seriousness, this is very true. God’s majesty consists of the Lord being all powerful – the God who created the heavens and earth, all creatures, all of mankind – and he spoke it all into existence. God spoke all of creation into existence, so there should be no debate that he can use the words of babies to still the enemy and the avenger.

God uses the weakness of man to bring praise to His Name! So, as the enemy and the avenger seek to make their name great, to have dominion – they will not succeed. The Lord’s majesty is above and conquers all. No other name is greater that His great Name, and he uses all creation for his glory in one or another – even through babbling babies.

The Heavens Declare

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,” (8:3)

We don’t know the exact dating on when the Psalm was written, but as we see the mention of opposition in enemies and avengers, it is safe to assume that this would have been at the time where David was fleeing from his enemies, fearing for his life. David could have been in a cave, looking to the sky when he wrote this Psalm, or at some other moment, but one has to take one glance to the night sky to see the beauty.

Have you ever went for a late night walk, or even just felt like stepping outside and looking to the sky? One can look anywhere in any direction, in any place, and can witness the beautiful, grand design of God’s creation to some degree.

David looks to the sky, and see’s the dark blue in the sky, covering all the sky that he can see from where he is, and within this dark, deep blue, he sees the flickering of constellations, stars glimmering in night sky, and he sees the bright moon, in which through it light is given to the night.

What would have been going through the mind of the psalmist as he looks to the vast galaxies that God has formed, standing in the midst of all?

Would he have been amazed, by how each star has been placed in it’s exact place, how they are designed to give off just the right amount of light in the dark sky? Would he have been a state of wanting to praise the Lord with all his might, praising him for the blessing of being able to witness his beauty? Would he been in a state of fear of the Lord, awestruck by the power that on display in that array?

And notice how David says, “the work of your fingers”. The heavens full of beauty and complexity, each star designed individually, the galaxies unknown – all of this is the work of God’s fingers – meant in the figurative sense, but if all of this was created from the Lord’s fingers, imagine the greatness within the entirety of the Lord, head to toe!

There is no doubt that God’s majesty was not on display, that his majestic name was not spoken through the wonderful sight that David saw, and that we are blessed to see so often. The heavens declare the glory of the Lord, as far as east to west! God’s glory abounds!

Majesty & Mankind

For God’s majesty to be displayed, there needs to be a display. Genesis 1 lays this out for us, as God created the heavens and earth, and everything within. Man was part of this creation (Gen. 1:26-27), and God created man with purpose and intention, as he did the rest of creation. But we know that man was created differently, in that God created man from the dust of the ground (Gen. 2:7), and God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen. 2:7). As we continue in psalm 8, keep a finger in Genesis, as we will see that Psalm 8 is a slight mirroring of the first chapters of Genesis, in that it is a picture of God’s majesty and man’s role, prior to the entrance of disloyalty.


“what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (8:4)

David’s expression of this statement could have been one of awe, of wonder, of fear… or David could have been overcome with the realization of God’s majesty displayed, and these and more could have filled his mind.

David sees the majesty of the Lord displayed, and asks why God even thinks of man, why God, the mighty creator, cares for man, who in the realm of God’s creation, is insignificant. God created man, which already instills that God had intentional thought of creating mankind.

Isaiah 43 speaks of the redeemed of Israel, and is verse 7, it reads “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” God has created formed, and called his people (Isa. 43:7)! When God formed man, the command was given to man to “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion” (Gen. 1:28) over all creation!! God is mindful in that he has created us, period!

God has formed us from the inside out (Ps. 139:13) – there is not part of us that he did not form together. We were “intricately woven in the depths of the earth” (Ps. 139:15). God was mindful in creating and forming us, and lest we forget, we are created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27)!!!

God’s has always been mindful of his creation, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), and we know that God has shown care to his people through every page of scripture, and every moment of history. All creation testifies of the Lord’s greatness and majesty, in that the Lord has shown abundant grace and mercy towards his creation, in remaining faithful to his promises that he has made to his covenant people.

At this time, God’s people would have the Torah, so they would have known the promises of God, and God’s faithfulness. Forefathers such as Abraham, whom God promised to make the Father of many nations, where in Gen. 15:5, the Lord said, “Look toward heaven, and number the starts, if you are able… so shall your offspring be.” God remained true to that promise, and remains true to every promise, every covenant that the God of all creation makes with his creation, so that he may care for them!!


“Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.” (8:5)

The psalmist uses the term heavenly beings. The ESV footnotes this term, and replaces heavenly beings with “God”, or features the Septuagint, which uses the term “angels”. Heavenly beings is a translation of the Hebrew term elohim, though throughout the Old Testament, the same term is used to refer to the one, true God.

Regardless of translation, the truth remains that the Lord has made us, mankind, lower than himself. We are not God, and we cannot be, though we know this temptation led to mankind disobeying God in Genesis 3.

You and I would not make a good god, if we are being honest with ourselves. Why did God make us lower than himself, lower than the angels? Jesus, the Son of God and Son of man tells us – “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5) God blessed us with making us lower – not so that we should be full of jealousy, but so that we may inherit the earth!

Remember Genesis 1:27 – God created us in his image!! God’s image is Majesty, God’s image is Ruler, God’s image is Lord! This does not mean that we have been given a divine lordship, but when the psalmist says that God has “crowned him with glory and honor”, this means that we are placed with the responsibility of bearing God’s image! We mere, weak humans, who are nothing without God, nothing compared to how great God is – God has chosen us to bear his name in caring for his creation, ruling over it, just as he has righteously done to us!

Man’s Responsibility

“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.” (8:6-8)

God has entrusted his creation to be governed, to be ruled by man that he has created – creation ruling creation. It should appear to us that if God’s majesty is “in all the earth”, it is set “above the heavens”, and even empowers the words of young infants to still the enemies and avengers, that it seems a little questionable why God needs mankind. Why does God need us?

Notice the similarity of Gen. 1:28: “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

“And God blessed them.” (Gen. 1:28). Mankind has been blessed by God, just as Jesus spoke in regard to the meek! After each day of the creation of all the created things, God said “it was good” (Gen. 1), but scripture says that God blessed man, and this creation also differs in that, at the end of the sixth day, God said “it was very good” (Gen. 1:31)

God does not need his creation; it can be said that creation needs God – it is dependent upon Him. The Majestic name of the Lord has dominion over all of creation, all of existence. In his majesty, the Lord delights in sharing his glory and honor with His creation, in which he bestows the special privilege upon man, whom is “blessed” (Gen. 1:28), so that his majesty may be proclaimed through us.

So, we are entrusted with having dominion over the works of God’s hands, and the psalmist adds “you have put all things under his feet.” (Ps. 8:6). If we go back to Genesis, and look at chapter 3, we know that man is cursed because of it’s disobedience to the Lord’s command of not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). Gen. 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

When the psalmist used the reference of everything beneath his feet, this verse must have come across the mind of David. This promise of the offspring that would crush the serpent’s head was the promise of the Lord that went through every covenant that God made with his people – through Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David, and did not end there.

This was the awaited promise that David would not see in his lifetime, but would go throughout the rest of the entirety of what we know as the Old Testament, that would not come till the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled – “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,  and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Isa. 7:14)

David may have just used this term as reference to God’s supremacy, his greatness above any opposition, or maybe, just maybe, it could be that David in faith knew that the battle had already been won, that dominion and power belonged to the Lord, and would remain the same, forevermore.

“Majestic is Your Name in all the Earth”

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

As may been noticed, we see the use of an inclusio, which in basic terms is where the same or similar statement is used at the beginning and the end of a section within scripture.

The psalmist uses this repeat as a helpful reminder and recap for the reader and hearers of this psalm. The Lord is majesty, majesty of the created things, and his name is majestic in all of it, whether it be in all the earth (8:1), above the heavens (8:1), out of the mouths of babies (8:2), in the moon and stars (8:3), through image-bearers of God’s image (8:5), or through the sheep, oxen, beasts of the field, the birds, the fish, and whatever creatures pass along the depths of the sea (8:7-8). God’s majesty is in it all!!!

God’s majesty is not just a characteristic or attribute of God, that can just be recognized, and then moved on from as if it doesn’t have any implications. If God is majesty, if He is Ruler, if he is the “only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15)… that means we are his people, his servants, his loyal subjects. This means that we submit to the will of the Lord, which means praising him in his majesty, and carrying out his command of dominion and rule which has been bestowed upon our heads, as he crowns us with glory and honor (Ps. 8:5).

Christ in Psalm 8

Now, not much has been said in regard to Jesus Christ - it has been lightly mentioned, but it was very much intentional. I mentioned before that Psalm 8 was a mirroring of the first chapters of Genesis, and alighted to disloyalty that does arise. Within Psalm 8, God’s majesty and his command for man’s dominion are the same. God never changes, and his word never changes.

The moment where disloyalty comes is when the serpent deceived man (Gen. 3), in making it appear that man can have greater dominion than what God had granted and given to them. We see the serpent, the devil, seeking dominion over what God has created good, just as we see with the enemy and avenger mentioned in verse 2 – the selfish desire to rule and destroy what God has made.

Man was instructed by God, bestowed with him the honor and glory of bearing the Lord’s name in having dominion over all the earth. But when man acted against the Lord’s command, against his Lordship, this picture of perfect dominion was distorted. You and I desired more than what the Lord had granted and provided – God crowned us with honor and glory, but we want to exchange it for a greater crown.

We cannot rule with dominion, if we first, do not subject ourselves to God’s lordship and rule. God’s name is the highest name, and his name has all dominion and power, and our lordship over creation can only come from Him.

God remains the Sovereign Ruler, ruling in majesty, but the standard of full submission and dominion cannot be attained by human will alone, by human strength alone. We need restoration, restoration back to how God originally intended.

How does this come to fulfillment – in Christ. Jesus came to redeem God’s people who instead of being in dominion, were bound in dominion by sin and death.

We cannot live out Psalm 8 out of our own. We cannot submit to the Lord’s majesty, and honor his name on our own. We cannot serve the Lord as humble servants on our own. We cannot have lordship over creation, caring for it, bearing the Lord’s name in all it’s majesty and glory – we cannot do any of this, on our own.

The wonderful news is that in Christ, we can!!

“For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Heb. 2:5-10)

The author of Hebrews literally applies these words from David in Psalm 8 to Jesus Christ, and reveals to us that it is only in Christ, that the words of the psalmist can come to true fulfillment.

The first 4 verses of this passage repeat the words of the psalmist, stating that all things have put in subjection under man’s feet, but then in the remaining verse, the author tells us that all subjection is in subjection to Christ. This means the lordship that has been granted to us through Christ, in that as Christ was “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2: 7), we share in it as well!

So what does this mean? We are able to live out Psalm 8 in Christ, as all things are already in subjection to Christ, but not yet!!

Already, Not Yet

In Christ, God’s people are able to carry out Psalm 8. We can bear the name of our majestic Lord in our dominion over what he has entrusted to us through Christ. The question remains – why does apply to me? And if so, how do I carry out Psalm 8?

We simply do what the Psalmist declares – praise the Lord, for his majesty is in all the earth. And in all of creation, have dominion, caring for God’s creation, as we continue to see the revealing of all creation in subjection to Christ – we are to have dominion, and God does the rest.

Paul clearly lays out for us what we are to do with these amazing truths.

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Eph. 3:8-11)

We, as the church, have been entrusted to make known to all truth of what is to come, to declare the amazing riches that we receive in Christ, to declare that God, who is the creator of all things, in front of our very eyes, is showing us the subjection of all things to himself. This is so that the truth and the wisdom of God, the “manifold wisdom of God”, can be made known to all, on this earth, and to the “rulers and authorities in the heavenly places”, so that all creation, on that day, can say in unison – “O Lord, Our Lord, how majestic is your name” (Ps. 8:1)!!

As we leave today, May we ask ourselves, and ask one another: Is all creation groaning? Is a new creation coming? Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst? Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?

And as we sing this last song, may we proclaim to one another, and to all the world:

He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave

From every people and tribe

Every nation and tongue

He has made us a kingdom and priests to God

To reign with Son

Is he Worthy of this?

He is!