Psalm 8:1 devotional
“O Lord our Lord, How Excellent is Thy Name.”
About one thousand years before the birth of Christ, King David who reigned over all of Israel, wrote Psalm 8 to celebrate God’s glory as Creator.
This song of praise encourages our heart and mind to contemplate the One God who alone bears the Most Excellent Name in all the earth.
The Authorised Version reads “How Excellent is Thy Name”. The Berkeley, Version says “How glorious”. The Revised Standard Version, the New American Version and the New International Version all translate the text “How majestic is your Name”. God’s Name is that by which He is known. His nature is His Name. The Name He bears is the nature of His being; that nature by which He reveals Himself to us. Men do not give God a Name—He gives Himself one, or rather, many names as expressions of His relationship to His creatures. In this first verse of Psalm 8 two names of God are mentioned and translated “Lord”. The first is Jehovah (or Yahweh) LORD, and the second name is Adonai, Lord.
God’s revelation fixed the meaning of the word Jehovah (Exodus 3:14). The context of this passage teaches that He who declares Himself as the “I AM” (I AM the God of your father … ) is the One who in effect can say “I WAS” (Exodus 3:6). Furthermore, there is a sense in which the context suggests also that He who says “I AM” can say “I WILL BE … ” (Exodus 3:12).
New Testament teaching takes up this theme in Revelation 1:8—“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty”. There is only one possible answer to the question “What will He be?” He will be what He has been!—Self-existing, ever-present, the eternal unconsumed and unchangeable God. (Exodus 3:2, 6) God is Adonai—“Lord”. Implicit in this form of God’s Name is the concept that He is “Lord of Lords” and “Lord of all the Earth”. He is the Ruler to whom everything is subject, and to whom man is related as servant and steward. The Lord IS the ruler of heaven and earth!
The exhibition of His Name
“How majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” The created order, which can be seen all around and within us, reflects God’s glory. (Psalm 19:1, 20). The glory is contained within the universe but is not confined by it, for He has set His glory “above the heavens” or “higher than the heavens”. While the material universe expresses His glory, it does not, nor cannot exhaust it, for even “the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee”. (1 Kings 8:27) The writer, Job, (Job 26:13,14) reminds us that what we see about us is only a faint glimpse of God’s essential glory; “By His breath the skies became fair; His hand pierced the gliding serpent. And those are but the outer fringes of His works; how faint the whisper we hear of Him! Who then can understand the thunder of His power?” This excellent greatness of God we see imprinted upon the tapestry of the created order, and the heavens are like a hanging veil beyond and above which God conceals the totality of His glory. But even the glory we can perceive, constrains us to say with awe …
“My God, how wonderful Thou art
Thy Majesty how bright!
How beautiful Thy mercy seat
In depths of burning light!”
To continue to ponder upon His glory is to sense something of His unimaginable splendour:
“How beautiful, how beautiful
The sight of Thee must be
Thine endless wisdom, boundless power,
And awful purity!”
“Father of Jesus, love’s reward,
What rapture will it be
Prostrate before Thy throne to lie
And gaze … and gaze … on Thee.”
It is into that indescribable place of glory that the Lord Jesus has already entered on our behalf. He, Jesus, has “passed through the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1) The Mediator, the God-Man, our representative before our Father-God, has entered the glory, “The holy and glorious habitation”. In the words of the writer to the Hebrews, we see Jesus now “Exalted above the heavens”. (Hebrews 7:26) “He who descended is He who also ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:10) God has put His “excellent” Name in this One, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has given Him a Name above every Name, this One who is “the glory of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
The exclamation evoked by His Name
“O Lord, our Lord …”. Our attention is drawn to what A.W. Tozer calls “an exclamatory sound that is hardly a word at all and that scarcely admits of definition.” Tozer also said, “We Christians should watch lest we lose the ‘Oh!’ from our hearts”. Let’s not lose the ‘Oh!’ from our adoration of God! There is a real danger that we shall fall victim to the prophets of poise and purveyors of tranquility and Christianity reduced to a mere evangelical humanism that is never disturbed about anything nor overcome by any trances of thought or mountings of the mind.
This simple exclamation ‘Oh!’ is more eloquent than learned speech and probably dearer to God than oratory! The Apostle Paul knew something of it when he exclaimed in his letter to the Romans “O the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God …” (Romans 11:33)
In the opening portions of Psalm 8 once again we are made aware that God is full of majesty; that there is a beauty which God reflects, and which He is; and with the writer David we say in worship, “O Lord our Lord, How excellent is Thy Name in all the Earth!”