"Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens." - Psalm 8:1
To meditate upon Psalm 8 and to write some thoughts about it is like coming to a beautiful and breathtaking clearing on a rugged mountain trail. The truth overwhelms the mind the way that beauty saturates the senses. God's name is the most majestic, the most glorious thing in all the earth. Before it all power in the universe, were it combined and multiplied exponentially, trembles and bows in subservience. His glory, says David, is set above the heavens. Since space is infinite in scope (another of God's built-in object lessons about His own nature woven throughout the universe), then David's statement means that God's glory and power are of a higher order than something which cannot be measured. And rightly so, for all created majesty and power is derivative, but God's stands independent.
David then turns to meditate on the smallness of the human race: “What is man that you even take note of him, Lord? He's so small and insignificant!” That is actually the crux of the whole treatise in Psalm 8: only a glorious and majestically powerful God could set an insignificant creature like man at the head of His created works. Were it not for the spark of intellect, God-like heart/character, and creative ability with which God endued the human race, we would be almost the lowest of all the mammals on the food chain. We are, intrinsically, nothing except what God has made us to be. So David, in the “humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13) turns the very fact of man's glory and pre-eminence into a meditation on God's majestic name, for only a majestic God could set a bit of clay so high.
"That is actually the crux of the whole treatise in Psalm 8: only a glorious and majestically powerful God could set an insignificant creature like man at the head of His created works."
One final lesson from this Psalm is the benefit that comes from asking David's probing question: “What is man, that you are mindful of him?” We tend to become inflated in our own conceits. We are impressed by our achievements - our technological advances, the breadth of our knowledge as a result of our scientific inquiry into this universe, our successful imitation of creation for our purposes (creating mechanical arms that are stronger than ours, mechanical flying devices faster than a bird, mechanical swimming devices that go deeper than any fish), etc. But we forget the humility of David's question in Psalm 8:4... and the corresponding humility of John the Baptist in John 3:27: “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven,” and Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you didn't receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” And God delights to remind us of these truths by pointing to the immensity (space) or the strength (rhinoceros) or the ferocity (lions) of His creation to keep us humble. He did so with Job and David, who both received the same lessons in humility. We would also do well to heed them.