O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8:1a, 9
Psalm 8 uses the phrase above at the beginning and end of the psalm as a sort of frame. The phrase is poetic, beautiful and very descriptive.
In Hebrew, there are two different terms that are translated as “Lord” in many English translations. The first one is Yahweh (Jehovah) and the second is Adonai. Yahweh carries the meaning of “I AM WHO I AM” or “He who causes to be.” He is the one who spoke into existence all of creation and He is the one who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. This name must be respected (Exodus 20:7). It is beyond human understanding and embraces all His Divinity.
A reflection on this repeated verse might tell us a few things about the nature of the Divine.
God’s name is intimate.
In addition to the meaning described above, it is important to know that Yahweh, even with all of its intended grandeur, is also considered his personal name. This is how He called Himself to the Hebrew people. The use of a personal name indicates that God wants more than blind obedience. He initiated a relationship with His follows. He makes Himself accessible. The great, amazing Divine who created all things, is also available to us in our most secret place. He meets us where we are. He wants personal communication with His creation. He wants us to know him relationally.
God’s name is authoritative.
By attaching this Name to the term “lord,” the psalmist indicates that the personal God of Israel is also its ruling sovereign. He is in charge. He is certainly the supreme God above all things, but He is also “Adonai” who takes interest and charge of human affairs. David is showing the God who rules over all creation is the same God who has personally chosen the Israelites above all peoples to be a priesthood to the world.
God’s name is effective.
The double name indicates that God is the creator of everything and the one who gives order to everything. He is agent of both creation and re-creation (order). For Christians this carries the idea of God as Creator and Redeemer. We owe our existence to Him. He made us. And we also owe our redemption to Him. He remake us when the first version needs improvement.
God’s name is regal.
The word “majesty” carries with it magnitude and power and even suggests miracle. God operates in openly. Even as His name is intimate and He connects with us in a secret place, His domain also remains the public sphere. He is at work in the world, operating for the world to see. His creation is majestic to witness, His action on our behalf profound to consider.
God’s name is available.
Earlier we saw where the Lord makes Himself accessible. Now the end of the phrase expounds on that idea. He makes His names accessible to all people. There is not limitation on who can know Him. His name is majestic in all the earth. The psalmist declares that the name of the Lord should be worshiped openly and universally.
God’s name is marvelous.
David repeats the stanza in verse one again in verse nine. He reinforces the majesty of Yahweh by singing again of His Name. His name is marvelous. His name is magnificent. He is greater than the enormity of the universe and in comparison we are hardly anything. But in His majesty, He makes Himself available to us.
The following link is to "Blessed be Your Name" by Matt Redman. As you listen to it, may you be blessed.