Psalm 8: The Majesty of God’s Name

Psalm 8 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
    to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
    and crowned him with glory and honour.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
    you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
    and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

God is majestic! I love how this psalm reminds me of this simple and profound truth by drawing out a series of contrasts. Every contrast highlights the difference between God and ourselves, and in-so-doing, highlights the majesty of God.

It is through our weakness that God display’s His strength vv1-2.

They say dynamite comes in small packages.

Even though God’s glory is above the heavens, it is through infants that he establishes his strength. There are few things in the world more weak and helpless than babies and yet it is precisely the weak and helpless through which God chooses to establish his stronghold against his enemies.

What does this mean? The very existence of children brings glory to God because they point so clearly to Him as the Creator. When those children sing his praise, their witness becomes a powerful refutation of all who would deny Him. This is literally true of children but also applies to those who are scorned because they praise God. Lane puts it so well when he comments:

This praise is also a bastion against the forces of evil (v. 2b), hence Jesus’ use of it on encountering his enemies when entering Jerusalem (Matt. 21:16). The fall of the angels deprived God of some of his worshippers; they drew man after them and nature too revolted. But God’s reply was to enable the universe to continue to function as an expression of his glory (v. 1). (Lane, E., 2006. Psalms 1-89: the lord saves, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.)

It is through our unworthiness that God display’s His love vv3-4.

When we see the stars on a clear night we can only be in awe of the power and greatness of the One who made them. So why on earth would God care about humanity when they are not even visible from the nearest star? The answer is that God has chosen mankind to bear his image in a special way as those who are crowned in glory and who rule over creation. The Psalm presumes that we understand that God is not only aware of people but loves and cares for them. We are nothing and yet God loves us.

It is through Jesus that God display’s His majesty vv5-9.

This Psalm is not only quoted by Jesus in the New Testament, it is also quoted about him. The author of Hebrews says;

“At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2)

In Jesus we not only see the “glory of humanity” of which God is mindful, we also see the God who is mindful of humanity. Jesus is both God and man. In his humanity is he the perfect “image-bearer” of God’s glory. As God, Jesus is the most complete expression of God’s “mindfulness” of humanity. He is God, who humbled himself enough to take on human form, in order to save the people he cared so much about.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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