O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8:1, ESV
Having been read and sung by millions for over 3000* years, certainly various Psalms have been found to be more favored than others. According to many sources, Psalm 8 classifies as one of the most beloved in the entire psalter. Derek Kidner writes that “This Psalm is an unsurpassed example of what a hymn should be, celebrating the glory and grace of God, rehearsing who he is and what he has done, and relating us and our world to him, all with a masterly economy of words, and in a spirit of mingled joy and awe.” (New Bible Commentary.)
Attributed to David, the psalm begins and ends as a beautiful hymn of praise with a declaration of God’s majesty: “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Sandwiched between these declarations, David sings of the Lord’s majesty on display in the wonder of His creation, a theme common throughout the Psalter.
Psalm 19 asserts that “The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (v. 1, ESV) And the first thirty-two verses of Psalms 104 develops this theme more fully, boasting that “You [God], are clothed with splendor and majesty…[You] set the earth on its foundations…[and you] covered it with the deep waters as with a garment.” (TRB)
Doubtless, the believer recognizes evidence of God’s fingerprints in the grandest of all creation, the heavens, but also in the most insignificant. The Lord is even aware when a sparrow falls to the ground: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” (Matthew 10:29 NIV). And since the founding of the Church, an affirmation of God as creator is a non-negotiable for the true believer. We learn as much in the first line of The Apostle’s Creed where it declares “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” The Apostle Paul takes this theme a step further in Romans 1:20 when he warns, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (NIV).
But the true beauty and appeal of Psalm 8 is in-between the declarations of God’s majesty and interwoven within “the works of [HIs] fingers, the moon and stars” (TRB). It’s here we find an affirmation of God’s unequaled love for mankind. Yet, contrasting the splendor of the universe and the whole of God’s creations, man is easily looked on as insignificant: God is rightfully on the throne and in the grand scheme of his creation we recognize, in humility, that on a cosmic scale we are inconsequential. Setting aside his pride, in verse 4 David poses the question “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (NIV) But by His grace we’ve been made “a little lower than angels” and we’re crowned with “glory and honor.” In Psalms 8 we read, or sing, a love song where God is the lover and we are his beloved.
The story is told of a lady who did not become a Christian until later in life. One day, while admiring a most beautiful blue summer sky with a friend, the friend asked “Now how could you grow up looking at that and not believing in God?” “Oh, I believed in God,” she replied. “I just didn’t think I mattered to him.” **
We matter. We are loved. So much so that He sent his only Son to redeem us from “the sin that so easily entangles us.” (Hebrews 12:1 TRB)
* “Psalm 90 may be the oldest Psalm, written by Moses (around 1450 B.C.)” – Found in online article from psalm91.com, 18 Amazing Facts About The Book Psalms You Don’t Know, August 10, 2020
** Taken from Psalms in Focus, A study of Psalms from the Readable Bible, a devotional guide produced in coordination with The Readable Bible (TRB) and the Southern Baptist’s Woman’s Missionary Union.
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