Bible: What Does Psalms 8-11 Teach Us About Mankind and God's Justice?
Jesus Rebukes the Pharisees
Psalm 8-11: Mankind: God's Vicegerent/Yahweh: The God of Justice
"Out of the Mouths of Babes"
David frames this song of praise with a refrain addressing the LORD and exalting the glory of His reputation/character (name) [vv. 1, 9].
He asserts that God has ordained that the youngest child should rebuke the worldly wise and mighty by praising Him.
[Jesus quoted this verse when He accepted the worship of small children who apparently knew His identity.
By so doing, the Lord repudiated the unbelief of the rabbis who bid Him to silence the little ones (v. 2; cf. Matt. 21:16, 17)].
Paradise Restored: Saved Mankind's Realm
Hell: Whose Destiny?
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The Saints Will Rule the Earth
The psalmist stands amazed that God should concern Himself with people in light of the surrounding glories of the universe (vv. 3, 4; Ps. 144:3).
Yahweh has, in fact, lifted human beings to the exalted position of vicegerent over the Earth (v. 5; cf. Heb. 2:7).
[God's original plan for human beings included their dominion over all creation, but Hebrews 2:8 says that not all things are yet under humanity’s rule.
It is reasonable to assume that the millennium will see the fulfillment of this purpose.]
Praise for Salvation
Verses 1-2 record the psalmist's exultant praise for God Himself, testifying to the LORD’s works.
He rehearses how God vindicated him yet destroyed his enemies (vv. 3-5).
Addressing his foe directly, David admits that the former has had his day of destruction, but asserts that one day the LORD will judge the world.
In other words, he states, "Enemy, you will pay for your deeds" (vv. 6-8)!
Besides announcing that certainty, David also declares that God will protect the oppressed believer (vv. 9-10).
The psalmist exhorts the people to praise their enthroned LORD and testify that He remembers to save the humble (vv. 11-12).
He himself then asks for mercy in order that he might declare God's salvation (vv. 13-14).
The LORD uses the very devices of the wicked to judge them (vv. 15-16).
After a brief meditation, David considers the destinies of the wicked and the poor: the former group that forgets God will go to Sheol, but the latter the LORD will save (vv. 17-18).
The psalmist calls upon the LORD to frighten the nations into a sober assessment of their frailty (vv. 19-20).
[Salvation to David was not merely a selfish desire fulfilled, but an opportunity to glorify His Savior].
Jesus: The Righeous Judge
The LORD: God of Justice
The psalmist questions the LORD about His apparent absence from scenes of trouble in which the wicked persecute the poor (vv. 1-2a; cf. v. 11).
He desires that these proud, wicked ones should fall prey to their own devices (v. 2).
In verses 3-11 he delineates many of their characteristics: pride of life (v. 3a), ungodliness and unrighteousness in both speech and thought (vv. 3b-4, 5b-7, 11), ill-gotten prosperity (v. 5a), and predation of the innocent and poor (vv. 8-10).
Next, he asks God to act on behalf of the humble by “remembering” the taunting thoughts of the wicked (vv. 12-13).
[Three times the psalmist records what the wicked says in his heart (vv. 6, 11, 13); on each occasion, the evil person denies that God will ever judge him for his deeds.]
Acknowledging that God has seen every deed and that He cares about the weak, he calls for Yahweh to root out every evil and repay it (vv. 14-15).
By His majesty and power, the LORD has rid Israel of His enemies (v. 16).
The psalmist prays that God might now answer the prayers of the humble for justice (vv. 17-18).
[The psalmists always depict God not only as the Defender of the poor and helpless, but also as the One who will bring about justice at the right time].
God's Love: The Same for All?
Does God love all people equally?
God is Sovereign
David, trusting in the LORD, finds it appalling that his advisor(s) should tell him to turn tail and fly like a bird, because his enemies are taking aim at him (vv. 1-2), and the situation appears hopeless (v. 3).
[Note the rather famous question: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?]
The psalmist looks to his omnipresent Sovereign who tests the righteous (with a view to approval), but hates the wicked (vv. 4-5; cf. James 1:3, 12).
[So much for the doctrine that God loves all mankind equally!]
Evildoers will inherit a fiery judgment from righteous Yahweh, but the upright will see the LORD’s face (vv. 6-7).
[The faithless see trouble and are afraid, but the steadfast believer knows that God is still on the throne and is forever on the side of the righteous].