How Majestic is Your Name! Psalm 8

by | Pastor's Blog

How Majestic is Your Name! Psalm 8

by | Apr 23, 2022 | Pastor's Blog

I memorized a lot of Bible verses as a kid, hundreds of them. You may ask, what motived a young boy to learn so much Scripture? Part of it was our church culture. Scripture memorization was a big part of our children’s and youth ministries. A bigger reason, though, was that my parents pushed my siblings and I to commit Scripture to memory.

To be honest, my motivation was not always spiritual. Sometimes mom would tell me to memorize a verse as a punishment for my actions. (Believe me, learning a Bible verse was much better than getting spanked!) On many other occasions, it was part of our family devotions. Regardless of the reason, I am eternally grateful for parents and a church that challenged me to memorize Scripture. Most of the Bible verses I know today, I learned as a kid.

One of the passages I learned early in my childhood was Psalm 8. It is a psalm that is still ingrained in my memory. As a matter of fact, if you put me on the spot, and asked me to quote Psalm 8 today, I think I could still pass the test. This great psalm has become a part of my biblical memory bank.

Psalm 8 is the first hymn in the book of Psalms. Most of the previous psalms are prayers spoken by people who are suffering. Psalm 8, though, focuses not on human misery, but on God’s majesty. There is no doubt that this psalm was written to be sung. David directed it to the Choirmaster of Israel, and even told him how it was to be sung – According to the Gitteth. No one is certain what the term “Gitteth” means. Some think it was an instrument native to the city of Gath, while others think it was a specific style of music. Whatever the meaning, don’t you wish we had the original musical score?

This psalm highlights the fact that humans are God’s agents on earth. It echos the words of Genesis 1:26-28 stating that man has been given dominion over God’s creation. Nevertheless, this psalm is not

about man, but rather about man’s Creator. This is the only hymn in the Psalter that is spoken entirely to God.

David begins by praising the Lord for His majestic name. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! The name Lord comes from the Hebrew term Yahweh, which is God’s covenant name. It originates from the Hebrew verb “to be.” It was first used in Exodus 3:14 when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush and identified Himself as “I am that I am.” This name points to God’s eternal self existence. No one created Him and no one sustains Him. He exists in and of Himself.

Majestic is a royal term. Few of us in the western hemisphere truly understand royalty. The word is often used in Scripture to speak of nobility. It has the idea of magnificence, might, glory and power. There is no doubt that God, above any other human ruler, is truly majestic.

One writer said, “to comment on verse one is kind of like commenting on the splendor of the Grand Canyon. Words can’t really do it justice. You just need to get out of the way and let people see it.” ( – “God’s majesty or ours”)

Yes, God’s magnificence, might, glory and power are clearly visible. We don’t need to describe them or define them. We just need to get out of the way and let them shine for themselves. David highlights two aspects of God’s revelation that demonstrate His majestic greatness. First of all, God’s creation reveals His majesty.

Have you ever sat outside on a clear night and been amazed at all of the stars in the sky? There is something mesmerizing about the sky on a clear night. I remember as a boy, laying on the grass in our back yard and staring up at the sky. We lived away from the city lights, so we could see countless stars. Occasionally, we would see a star falling from the sky. Those of us who live in the city, miss the magnificence of the heavens.

Imagine David out on a Judean hillside at night tending to his sheep. No lights, no distractions, nothing to hinder the clear visibility of

God’s vast heavens. Of course, David did not have a telescope to see the stars, planets and galaxies like we have today. What would he have thought if he had known everything we know today?

“The sheer vastness of outer space and the coordination of it all is astounding. If you could travel 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. To cross the entire universe as we know it would take you 20 billion light years.” (National Geographic World, Jan., 1992, p. 15)

v. 1a – You have set your glory above the heavens.

v. 3 – When I look at your heavens, the world of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

To see the immensity of God’s great universe is to realize our own smallness. It should cause us to cry out, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” In other words, from a human perspective – God’s greatness highlights our smallness. He is macro, we are micro. He is immense, we are insignificant. He is majestic, we are sinful.

There is a second aspect of God’s divine, majestic revelation that is alluded to in this great psalm – God’s majestic name is revealed in the incarnation of Jesus.

Most Bible scholars agree that this psalm is not a messianic psalm. It other words, it was not written by David with the intention to point its readers to the coming Messiah. Although that was not David’s intention, the New Testament repeatedly quotes this psalm to show the humility and exaltation of Jesus.

Here are the four times this psalm is used in the New Testament:

Matthew 21:16 – Jesus quotes Psalm 8:2 in response to the praise of the crowds on Palm Sunday as He traveled through the streets of Jerusalem.

I Corinthians 15:27 – Paul quotes Psalm 8:6 to show how Jesus will destroy all His enemies, including death.

Ephesians 1:22 – Paul uses Psalm 8:6 to show Jesus’ authority over all things.

Hebrews 2:5-8 – The writer of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8:5 to show that Jesus is greater than the angels even though in His incarnation He voluntarily made Himself lower than the angels.

In our fallen humanity, we could not and cannot completely fulfill God’s desire for us. There is one man, though, who completely fulfilled it – Jesus Christ. The purpose and majesty of Psalm 8, which so easily eludes us, has become a reality in Jesus.

As with all of Scripture, Jesus is the complete fulfillment of Psalm 8.

So, what is the point of this psalm? Seeing God in all his glory helps us to see ourselves in our fallen humanity. We cry out like Isaiah after his vision of God in Isaiah 6:5 – “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.”

Yet, in spite of our utter lack of magnificence, God through Jesus has showered us with His majesty. Although we were made a little lower than the angels, because of Jesus, we are able to be crowned with glory and honor (Psalm 8:5). If that doesn’t make you want to sing a hymn of praise, I do not know what will.

Did you notice that David ends the psalm the same way as he begins it. Why is that? In a beautifully poetic way, David shows us that from beginning to end, God alone is worthy of our praise.

Have you worshipped Him today? Take a few moments and sing out with David. Praise God for His majesty, His magnificence, His power and His glory. He truly is worthy of your praise.

Finally, let me encourage you to take my mom’s challenge and memorize this psalm. You can do it!