What is the right way to read? While much could be said here, just think for a moment about how you feel when you read? Do you feel anything? You should. Reading with sensitivity helps shed light on the meaning of text. Perhaps this is one reason some feel reading the Bible is difficult: they read without feeling. I find it difficult to read Psalm 8 without attention to feeling. This psalm is the epitome of awe. Ask me what “awe” means, and I will bring you here. Why? The reasons are manifold, but here is one:
Take yourself outside at night in a place with little or no light pollution and look up (and it’s difficult to look up at the night sky with your mouth closed). Survey all you see from the top of a high place (any mountain or building will do). Stand on the beach and note how far you see before your eyes gaze over the edge of the planet into space—try to imagine everything you don’t see under the water. It’s all quite amazing, when you try to wrap your brain around it all. Interestingly, this becomes the point: we (humans) are the crown of God’s creation. Words just don’t communicate what this means, hence we need the experience to understand it.
I’ll toss this in here: structurally, everything the Psalmist says in Psalm 8 filters down and away from this one point. If you were to draw a picture of the flow of thought in this psalm, you would get an hour-glass with the finest point being verses 4-5. Do you see yourself there? The crown of God’s creation?
Then the Psalmist says that man is created “a little lower than elohim” (that’s the Hebrew word for God). What is meant here is that man, the crown of God’s creation is (literally) “in need of God.” What becomes significant here is that man is said to be crowned with glory and majesty. How can this be if God says He shares His glory with no-one (Isaiah 42:8)? The answer to the question actually lies in Psalm 21. I don’t want to do your thinking for you, so permit to help you discover the answer: What is the crown of gold God sets on the head?
How does God make His glory known? What does He share with man that reveals His glory? This is important because while mankind is the crown of God’s creation, we are only His children by virtue of Creation. We need God as a spiritual Father, hence we need His salvation to receive the full blessing through restoration of relationship with Him. Only then can we be what God intends. We are made for so much more than we are and we will never be more until we find life in salvation and are crowned with glory that honors Him!