“Oh LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your Name in all the earth.” (Psalm 8:1a, 9)
Today, we come to a psalm directed for use by the “choirmaster” …so it is meant to be sung in a congregational setting – heard by all the people, to inspire all the people.
It begins with a declaration. It ends with the same declaration. God, our God, is majestic. Excellent. Praise-worthy. Of ultimate honor and glory. He deserves our most unreserved praise. He deserves the best, most expressive praise we can give Him. He is worthy of us losing our dignity so that He might be properly recognized and glorified.
This is hard for many of us. We have been trained that God deserves our ultimate reverence (and He does)… but there are times when He also deserves for us to lose ourselves in His Presence. The One Who is wisest and most glorious of all deserves the times when we become like fools in our praise of Him.
I am a baseball fan (I actually played baseball through my college years) so I’ve seen a few games. There is nothing quite like the moment of drama when your team is down by a run in their last at-bat and your last batter has a chance to win the game. And when he connects with the ball and drives in the game-winning run… what happens? The whole stadium of fans erupts with unreserved cheering. All the players of the winning team rush onto the field to surround the hero of the day and celebrate his achievement.
It is a wild, harmonious cacophony of relentless praise… that will be mostly irrelevant the very next day (when the two teams gather to play another game).
What David is telling us is that our LORD deserves that kind of response, from our uncontainable hearts, whenever we realize just Who He is – and how utterly amazing He really is. This is His framework for the rest of the Psalm. David is telling us why, and how much, our majestic God deserves our utmost praise.
He really begins with his very first phrase… “Oh LORD, our Lord!”
David uses two words that are expressed as a duplication in our translation. But the two words are very different and tell us two very essential things.
The first word used is God’s Own personal Name. YHWH…
Most of us know that this is how God described Himself to Moses (at the burning bush experience). Moses had been given a divine task… to go back to Egypt and to be the one through whom God will deliver His people from slavery. In the course of the conversation, Moses asked a bold, but important, question: “Who shall I say sent me?”
God responds with: “YHWH (I AM THAT I AM).” “The self-existent One.” “The One Who is, Who was, and Who will always be.” The God Who captures David’s attention is eternal – He has always been there… He will always be there.
The second word is more personal. It is “Adonai.” Lord. Master. The One we obey. The One Who takes care of us… as His Own people.
This would be a bad deal if your “Adonai” was some cruel, heartless dictator who only cared about himself and what he wanted. But this “Adonai” has revealed Himself as a God of infinite mercy and love – Who, by His very nature, seeks to give to those He loves.
So David’s focus is the foundation of all relationship with Almighty God. He is eternal. He is all-powerful. And He has chosen to love us as His Own. He is a good, loving, and personal “Adonai” Who deserves our highest and most emphatic praise.