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Allen S. Maller

Prophet David’s Zabur Psalm 8 and Climate Change

Psalm 8 is a joyful admiration of the glory and majesty of the one and only God; and of God’s universe. It begins and ends with the acknowledgment of the transcendent excellency of God’s personal name. (See also “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above earth and heaven.” Psalm 148:13)

Psalm 8 explores the theme of God’s majestic splendor and at the same time humans great potential to care for and improve life on our planet. God has created us in His image and graciously crowned us with glory and majesty. He has assigned mankind the role of ruling over His creation.

Humans are expected to be aware of the natural balance of nature and to care for God’s gifts. We are the only species that can conscientiously hurt or heal our planet. Prophet David, King of Israel’s psalm 8 should be the anthem of those who are committed to overcoming the dangers of global warming.

Psalm 8 should remind humans every day: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you set in place. What is mankind that you should be aware, human beings that you should even care? You have made them a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
and you put everything under their feet”

And above us is the sheer vastness of outer space. At the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second, it would take you 8 minutes to get to the sun. To go from the sun to the center of the Milky Way would take about 33,000 years. The Milky Way belongs to a group of some 20 galaxies known as the Local Group. To cross that group, you’d have to travel for 2 million years. The Local Group belongs to the Virgo Cluster, part of an even larger Local Supercluster, which is a half-billion light years across. We ourselves, and all living things, use the energy that comes from sunlight to grow and to live. Al this was created by God 13.8 billion years ago.

So Prophet King David begins Psalm 8 with the exclamation, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth” The first word translated “Lord” is the Hebrew word, YHVH, God’s personal covenant with Israel name. It stems from the Hebrew verb, “to become.” God revealed it first to Moses at the burning bush when He said (Exodus 3:14), “I will become who I will be.” It points to God’s forever ongoing potentiality.

Since God is the only uncreated being in the universe the second “Lord” is the Hebrew word “Adonai,” meaning ruler or lord, and refers to the one God’s 99 names; everyone’s connection to God’s creation of everything on earth and in the heavens above.

Psalm 8 For the director of music. In gittith style. A psalm of David.
1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory in the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of children and infants
you established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the covetous ones.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you set in place,
4 What is mankind that you should be aware,
human beings that you should even care?
5 You have made them a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
and you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

About the Author
Rabbi Allen S. Maller has published over 850 articles on Jewish values in over a dozen Christian, Jewish, and Muslim magazines and web sites. Rabbi Maller is the author of "Tikunay Nefashot," a spiritually meaningful High Holy Day Machzor, two books of children's short stories, and a popular account of Jewish Mysticism entitled, "God, Sex and Kabbalah." His most recent books are "Judaism and Islam as Synergistic Monotheisms' and "Which Religion Is Right For You?: A 21st Century Kuzari" both available on Amazon.
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