Week 3: Psalms 8-10


Reading:  PSALMS 8-10

           Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week.  As we read, let us not do so in haste.  Take time to read each Psalm at least three times:  once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life.   There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.


PSALM 8: The Majesty of God

            Psalm 8 is the first hymn of praise in the psalter.  It is the first biblical text to reach the moon, when the Apollo 11 mission left a disc containing messages from seventy-three nations, including the Vatican, which contributed the psalm.  The psalm was appropriate because it proclaims the cosmic sovereignty of God and a remarkable affirmation of the exalted status and vocation of the human creature.  What is the human being, the psalmist asks, that you, LORD, remember and visit them?  Humankind is nothing compared to all of God’s creation, but God has nevertheless chosen us to occupy a central place as God’s partner in caring for the earth.  Claiming dominion over the earth without acknowledging God’s presence creates disaster.  We see destruction everywhere from eroding soil to polluted streams to the possible depletion of the ozone layer.  Psalm 8 is a reminder that the God praising and the earth-caring community are one.


PSALM 9 and 10: The Needy Shall Not Always be Forgotten

            Psalms 9 and 10 are together a song of the people of God who live in faith in the reign of God in the midst of the afflictions of history.  Together they compose an acrostic psalm; every second poetic line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.   There are some letters missing in the middle of the poem, but the pattern remains largely intact.

            At first reading, this poem seems to be a rather formless sequence of lines with shifting topics and function s, perhaps determined in an arbitrary way by the requirements of the alphabet.  But the composer had an overall plan.  The congregation is personified as an individual and then given the role of the “lowly”, poor and afflicted.  The role of the wicked enemy is assigned to the nations.  The situation reflected in the composition is that of the postexilic congregation of the faithful whose life is beset and threatened by conditions and incidents caused by the succession of peoples who held power over them.

            The whole, then, is a prayer.  It begins with thanksgiving for the history and salvation in which the LORD has disclosed his reign by his judgment of the nations.  It laments the present situation in which nations act with impunity and call the kingship of God into question.  It asks for the intervention of the LORD to judge the nations and deliver the lowly.

            Psalms 9-10 leave the faithful where Jesus’ proclamation of the reign of God leaves them.  We are invited both to enter the reign of God as a present reality (Mark 1:14,15; Luke 17:20-21) and to await its consummation (Mark 13:23, 28:31; Luke 21:29-36).  As we wait, we pray as the psalmist prayed in Psalms 9-10—as one of the “poor” and the “helpless.”





This is the Psalm in hymn form.  Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension. 


PH 162 O Lord, Our God, How Excellent

We’ve attached a video clip for a different version of a musical adaptation of Psalm 8 below.


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