Jun - Aug 2019

Psalm 8: Awe of God

Barry Rodriguez

Jun 2, 2019

We're going to be exploring the book of Psalms and what it can teach us about engaging with the raw, honest emotions of our faith. The book of Psalms is a collection of songs and poems written over hundreds of years of Israel's history. Each one played a role in Israelite religion.

The Psalms can:

  • Invite us to lament the brokenness of our world if we're usually happy being blissfully ignorant.

  • Encourage us to find joy and comfort when we're wallowing in sorrow.

  • Teach us to marvel at mystery when we're usually just logical and rational.

  • Show us how to acknowledge our shame when we're used to just covering it over.

The Psalms are Jewish meditation literature. First of all, they're Jewish. The Psalms are rooted in the worldview of ancient Judaism, and they are chock-full of references to ideas and imagery from the rest of the Old Testament. Second, the Psalms are meditation literature. Meditation in Jewish tradition was a way of dwelling on an idea or image, rolling it around in your mind and heart, and acknowledging that the Holy Spirit is breathing through it and speaking to you in fresh ways. Finally, the Psalms are literature. They're poetry. They use imagery and repetition and language to evoke emotions in us. Feelings. The Psalms are a book for the heart, not for the head.

Psalm 8
1 O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,[b]
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers
the moon and the stars you set in place
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?[c]
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God[d]
and crowned them[e] with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority
7 the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
9 Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

That is the beauty of the Psalms. Of Jewish meditation literature. It awakens our faith, it engages our emotions, and it leads us to pray in a new way.