1/6/2019 2:57:29 PM
The Winepress of Grace
“For the director of music. According to gittith. A psalm of David.
LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.
LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psalm 8, NIV)
This psalm is an interesting follow-up to Psalm 148 which we investigated in our last message. We noticed last time that perhaps David was recalling some of the things he wrote previously in Psalm 8 when he authored Psalms 145-150. For instance, Psalm 148:1-4; “Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.”, sounds very similar to Psalm 8:1, 3-4; “LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. …When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them…”
Psalm 8, written by David nearly three millennia ago, is a prayer to God. David addresses it to the “LORD” [Yahweh, The Ever Present One] and “our Lord” [Adonai, “the Director, Ruler, Judge, Supporter of men." (Adam Clark)] We are told in the title that it is “According to Gittith”, a tune that may have originated in Gath and played as a hymn of celebration while grapes were being pressed, for gittith means winepress.
This psalm celebrates and hallows God’s name as majestic. God’s majesty is reflected in the heavens, the work of his fingers, the moon and the stars, which he has set in place.
God’s majesty is also reflected in the strength that even the weakest and most vulnerable people on earth [children and infants] display when they innocently and simply praise the Lord. Childlike faith is the strongest weapon God has given us.
- It gives us access to the kingdom; as Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
- It “shames the wise and the strong; and it nullifies the proud.” [I Cor. 1:27-28]
- Faith is the one and only gift we have which allows us to live in God’s grace, both now and forevermore.
David notices the grace of God to mankind when he prays; “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” Considering the majesty of God displayed in His created handiwork and realizing how comparatively weak and powerless we are, David is wonderstruck that God even notices us. Not only is He mindful of us, God crowned us with glory and honor and made us rulers over the works of His hands.
At this point David stops, concluding with a reprise of what he said at the beginning; “LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” But even though David stopped here, this psalm was carried forward to the most amazing display of God’s grace and majesty in all the universe; the coming of Christ to save the world man’s sin has ruined.
Jesus quoted this passage to His indignant accusers in Matthew 21:16. Jesus did wonderful miracles in the temple area, and as He received the praise of children who cried out “Hosanna to the Son of David!” his enemies asked, “Do you hear what these children are saying?” “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise?’” This identified Jesus of Nazareth with God the LORD and our Lord.
And the writer of Hebrews quoted Psalm 8:4-6; “‘What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.’” [Heb. 2:6-8] Then Hebrews 2:9-17 adds; “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. … For this reason, he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.”
Psalm 8 is a prayer that will help us understand how to approach our majestic God in prayer. It is also a Psalm that points us to the most wonderful display of God’s majesty; Jesus Christ who died for our sins. The psalm was set to a tune named “winepress.”
At Communion we remember the Lord’s death, until He comes. We eat bread to remind us that Jesus, the Bread of Life, suffered his body to be broken for our sins. We drink juice that has been pressed from grapes to remind us of Jesus’ blood that was shed to make atonement for our sins.
By faith, we celebrate these things and we rejoice, in all humility, that because of Christ, we are exempted from “the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty” for Jesus tread the fury of the wrath of God in our place. [Rev. 19:15]
And thus, we too should sing, “LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
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