Psalm 8 - LORD, How Excellent Is Thy Name

INTRODUCTION: This brief Psalm is attributed to David, and was intended to be used by the worship leader at the tabernacle of the LORD, and subsequently at the LORD's temple built by Solomon. There is abundant praise to the true and living God, along with some prophetic content. The New Testament provides two specific references to part of this Psalm.

NOTE: Scripture passages are from the 1769 King James Version.


A - LORD, HOW EXCELLENT IS THY NAME IN ALL THE EARTH

Psalm 8 "1 [To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.] O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens."

COMMENTS: The Psalm opens by speaking to the LORD (shown in the KJV in all capital letters), which in some translations is "jehovah" or "Yahweh." The original Hebrew term is used only to designate the self existing true and living God. Next those who worship with this Psalm declare that the Lord is personally their king and master as the second Hebrew name translated as Lord has that meaning. And we who trust in the LORD joyfully submit to his authority as we declare that his name is surpassingly excellent and far superior to every other name in all the earth. He has set His name even above all the heavens. There is absolutely nothing that is not under the authority of the LORD our God!


B - OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES

Psalm 8 "2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger."

COMMENTS: The LORD has ordered through his unparalleled authority even the smallest of children to praise him as a demonstration that authentic praise is not initiated from the knowledge or wisdom of any individual. Jesus directed attention to this Psalm when Jewish religious leaders were indignant of the praise being offered to him publicly by those they thought needed yet to be taught about God. Matthew 21 "15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? 17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there." The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers about this principle. 1 Corinthians 1 "25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, [yea], and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence." Paul also wrote this further declaration in his second letter to the Corinthians. 2 Corinthians 4 "6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

The strength of the LORD is displayed in specially appointed ways by him that will cause all his enemies to be still with no ability to resist his will. The LORD made preparation to go before Israel as they were beginning to move to enter into the promised land. Exodus 15 "14 The people shall hear, [and] be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. 15 Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. 16 Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be [as] still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, [which] thou hast purchased."

Near the end of the period of the judges in Israel, Hanna dedicated her son Samuel to serve the LORD with Eli at the tabernacle shortly after she had weaned him. Part of her prayer below shows that the LORD will silence his enemies while delivering his saints. 1 Samuel 2 "6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth [are] the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them. 9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. 10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed."

Samuel was directed by the LORD to anoint David to replace Saul as king of Israel because Saul did not wholly follow after the LORD. David wrote many Psalms throughout his life, and other men continued to write Psalms after Solomon had completed the temple to the LORD. Many centuries later even though Israel had so often wandered away from the LORD in the northern kingdom and in the southern kingdom, this had not changed the truth that the whole world must always be silent before the LORD. Habakkuk 2 "20 But the LORD [is] in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him." The temple at Jerusalem was plundered and destroyed by the enemies of Israel, but the LORD's holy temple can never be destroyed.


C - WHAT IS MAN THAT YOU ARE MINDFUL OF HIM?

Psalm 8 "3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."

COMMENTS: The Psalmist looked at those marvelous objects so far away in the sky, that have their purpose for the inhabitants of the earth, and it is stunning to realize that the LORD has created all of them. Then he carries his thoughts to himself and is further amazed that the LORD would give attention to and consider using man who has been made a little lower than angels in the order of all things. The son of man can be representative of the many generations of people after the first Adam who have continued to have that metaphoric "crown" of authority and honor over all else in the earth. But there also can be a prophetic element to the use of the phrase "son of man" who has been made a little lower than the angels. As the pattern in the Psalm continues, it is necessary again to see the connection of inspired scripture from the New Testament to parts of this Psalm.


D - YOU MADE HIM TO HAVE DOMINION OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HAND

Psalm 8 "6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all [things] under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, [and whatsoever] passeth through the paths of the seas."

COMMENTS: In the beginning God established authority for mankind according to his divine will. Genesis 1 "26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." When we consider the wonders of all the magnificence and diversity in the vast creation upon the earth, we should reflect in amazement as did the psalmist, that the LORD would give mankind dominion over all of it!

Of all the creatures in the earth that have the breath of life, only man was made in the image and likeness of God, and given dominion over all else in the earth. Man was made a little lower than the angels who serve God, but from Hebrews we find that the world that is to come will not be made subject to those angels. Hebrews 2 "5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:" This part of Psalm 8 referenced in Hebrews underscores the great gift of honor the LORD bestowed upon mankind.

Because Christ Jesus was made flesh as the Son of Man, we now await the time when the LORD will bring to total completion that which is further stated in the New Testament scripture. Hebrews 2 "8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." As we consider this next passage it will help to carry us to the close of Psalm 8 with the kind of exhilaration David must have felt as he was writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 2 "16 For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."


E - THE REPRISE OF JOYOUS PRAISE

Psalm 8 "9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all the earth!"

COMMENTS: The opening of this Psalm was an exclamation of praise that had welled up inside the writer. He then expressed some of the thoughts that may have flooded into his mind as he was overwhelmed by the evidence of God's power and grace that was all around him. He then returned to that same phrase in closing, to encourage personal expression of the highest praise to the true and living God, for all who submit willingly to his authority, as they proclaim the unsurpassed excellence of his name.

--- REFLECTIONS IN PRAYER ---

LORD God, you are my Master and I want to acknowledge that your name is above all other names and forever worthy of my highest praise, and of my recognition and submission to the authority of your Word. In considering all of your wondrous creation, I agree with the psalmist that only your loving grace has make mankind worthy of the glory and honor you have bestowed. I would rather be like an infant in your care with knowledge given through your Holy Spirit, than to have years of so-called personal achievement that wins the highest accolades of man. Thank you, LORD, for providing New Testament scripture that shows how this Psalm brings honor, glory, and praise to my Savior Christ Jesus. Oh LORD, my Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth! Amen.

Published 27 February 2015