How Majestic Your Name!
(H) For the director of the choir, with lyre accompaniment, a psalm of David. (1) Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic (is) your name in all the earth! You have set your splendor above the heavens. (2) Out of the mouths of newborns and nursing babies you have established strength because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. (3) When I gaze at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place, (4) what is man that you remember him, and the son of man that you pay attention to him? (5) You made him a little lower than the angels and have crowned him with glory and honor. (6) You cause him to rule over the works of your hands. You have put all things under his feet, (7) all flocks (of sheep) and herds (of cattle), also the beasts of the field, (8) the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. (9) Yahweh, our Lord, how majestic (is) your name in all the earth!
The first thing that should strike us as we observe Psalm 8 are the two identical declarations of praise to Yahweh which both open and close the psalm (vss. 1 & 9). The next is the juxtaposition of “the earth” and “the heavens” (vss. 1) and repetition of “heavens” (vs. 3). These terms point to the dual focus David maintains throughout the psalm. God’s glory is manifested both in the heavens above and on the earth below. Just as Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer taught his disciples to pray “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt. 6:10), so David’s attention switches back and forth between these two scenes of God’s activity.
First, David looks to the heavens to see God’s splendor displayed (second half of vs. 1). Then he considers God’s strength as manifested in the relative weakness of human infants declaring his praise in their unintelligible cries here on earth (vs. 2). David again looks to the heavens, the moon and the stars, describing them as God’s finger work (vs. 3). Finally, he returns his gaze to the earthly sphere with the question, “What is man?” (vss. 4-8). Though born in great weakness, human beings, bearing God’s image and likeness, are destined to rule over the works of God’s hands, the rest of creation. This great purpose for which God has created humanity proclaims his majesty and prompts universal praise.
I. (subject) Why God is so majestic in all the earth (1 & 9)
II. (completed) because of his glory manifested
- in creating the heavens (1b & 3)
- in creating humans to rule over the earth (2 & 4-8)
The majesty of God, manifested in his creating the heavens, is particularly seen in his creating human beings to rule over the earth.
Three great doctrines which the psalmist never mentions by name are set forth in Psalm 8. These truths, more fully developed throughout the rest of Scripture, help us grasp just how glorious God’s purpose for humanity is.
IMAGO DEI – Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26 & 27). While the Fall damaged that image, it did not obliterate it (Gen. 3). One of God’s great purposes in salvation is to restore in us the glory that we lost by transforming us into the likeness of his Son (2 Cor. 3:18).
INCARNATION – Messiah, the redeemer of all humanity, came to earth “in the likeness of human flesh,” bearing the image and likeness of God. The second person of the Godhead was forever incarnated as the God-man (Jn. 1:14; Heb. 2:14 & 15). By Jesus’ death and resurrection God provides a way for all who believe in him not only to be saved from their sins, but also to be guaranteed a glorious future as God’s sons and daughters, co-heirs with Christ, and destined to be like him and to reign with him.
GLORIFICATION – Though created a little lower than the angelic beings, redeemed humanity has a destiny far greater than that of the angels. We will be transformed into the very likeness of the Son and share in his glory (1 Jn. 3:2). No angel can look forward to that kind of future. These truths help us see why those redeemed by God’s grace should gladly declare, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”