*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Psalm 8:6-9 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Psalm 8:6
  • Psalm 8:7
  • Psalm 8:8
  • Psalm 8:9

All of God’s creation was given to Man to rule over, from the animals on land to the fish in the sea. David concludes his psalm by repeating his awe at God’s majesty and mysterious ways.

David reflects on the fact that God gave humanity dominion over all of creation. God has made humans to rule over the works of His hands. The works of God’s hands refers to God’s creation of the earth, as we will see in the list that follows.

God has put all things under man’s feet (under his authority). The “all things” will apply to “all things” regarding the earth. The Psalm makes this clear by now describing the breadth of the “things” he has in mind. God has placed humans over livestock, including the sheep and oxen and the beasts of the field. Even though some of these are quite mighty in strength and speed, God has placed humans in dominion over them. Further, God has placed humans as stewards over the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea. God’s design was for humans to serve as steward over all things that have breath on the earth. We saw this in Genesis, when God brought the creatures to Adam for him to name all the animals (Genesis 2:19). The act of naming is an act of dominion.

God’s original design included placing humans as stewards over Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. Beasts, birds, and everything in the ocean. All of these are the works of God, His creation, yet He has put them under the governance of humans. God began with the first Adam, then restored what fell through Jesus, the second Adam.

David could have written this Psalm after reflecting upon Genesis 1:26, which states:

“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’”
(Genesis 1:26)

In Genesis 1:26, God states clearly that His purpose in creating humans was for them to “rule” over the fish, birds, cattle, and creeping things. All creatures. David’s reflection, quite reasonably, resulted in total amazement. Particularly since humans were chosen over angelic creatures. Of course, the Holy Spirit also inspired David to prophesy regarding Jesus, the Son of Man.

Why did God do this? Why does God take thought of humans and why does He care for us? We are like infants and nursing babes. We are made a little lower than the angels. David’s answer to this question is quite amazing. God did this in order to silence Satan, the accuser (verse 2). God appointed humans to have dominion over the earth. To rule the earth in harmony with God, with one another, and with nature.

Romans tells us the entire creation groans, waiting for all things to be restored to its proper balance, which requires humans to obey God:

“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.”
(Romans 8:19-22)

Thankfully, because of the redemptive work of Jesus, the original design for humans to reign over the earth has been restored. All authority has been granted to Jesus, because of His faithful obedience, even unto death (Matthew 28:18b; Philippians 2:8-10; Hebrews 2: 6-8a). Although this restoration will not occur completely until Jesus returns a second time, there are glimpses of it here and now. When believers walk by faith in the obedience of Christ, and by His Spirit, they bring a little bit of restoration into their sphere of influence. It is Jesus’ desire that all follow Him in this manner of living life as a servant leader, and He will greatly reward all who do so.

Biblical Text

6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
9 O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!

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