How Majestic is Your Name in All the Earth
By Lee Jones
If we’re not careful, we can get wrapped up in ourselves. That’s a huge problem for pagans, because basically all the folk religions of the world put man at the center of everything. Even systems in which there are billions of God’s in their fictional pantheons, the human devotee must maintain the good graces of the gods, provide for their needs, or use them to get benefits for themselves.
But even in the church, among YHWH’s redeemed, we run the risk of getting puffed up with pride. Some would even call themselves sinless and victorious here and now, not needing God for any more grace or mercy than they’ve already received.
If that’s toy, here’s Psalm 8 to disabuse you of that notion.
Though we have been crowned with glory, as the psalmist writes here, we still needed the King of Glory to take a crown of thorns and bear our sins before we could be reconciled to the One True God.
The refrain that bookends this psalm is a wonderful and plain confession of YHWH’s glory. The LORD’s name is more majestic than anything we’ve seen on this earth. But not only is he YHWH, he is our Lord (Adonai in Hebrew). This is a title for God, and was a designation that could be used for any human authority also. This term is often coupled with God’s covenant name (YHWH, shown as LORD in English translation). He is transcendent and all-powerful, yet making himself plainly known to his covenant people.
We zoom out to consider the greatness of God and our comparative smallness. Verses 3 and 4 give an excellent contrast: God’s fingers put the moon and stars in the ordered heavens, so why should he give even a passing thought to puny mankind?
Yet he not only considers mankind, but he made us his greatest creation. He gave Adam’s race a crown of “glory and majesty” and set him to rule over God’s handiwork across the whole earth, land and sea.
We are nothing. We have no cause to brag on ourselves, because only by God’s grace do we as humans have value. And we have immense value because God caused humanity to bear his image, and God redeemed a covenant people for himself by the blood and righteousness of his own divine son in human flesh. He alone is our propitiatory sacrifice.
Though we have been crowned with glory, as the psalmist writes here, we still needed the King of Glory to take a crown of thorns and bear our sins before we could be reconciled to the One True God. He called us and brought us to repentance of our sins. Only by repentance and faith, trusting in Christ’s work on our behalf, can we sing with thankful hearts this refrain:
O YHWH our Lord
How majestic is your name in all the earth.
Glory to God alone.