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How Excellent is Thy Name—Psalm 8

Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 6:00
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How Excellent is Thy Name

October 3, 2010

Lesson: Psalm 8

Key Verse: Psalm 8:6

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Introduction

O Lord our Lord: How excellent is the Name in all the earth!

God the Father so loved his chosen people that he sent his Son that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life. It was the night of the feast of the Passover when Jesus spoke these words, “Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him” (13:31–32). God is revealed and recognized in Christ. The Father is glorified, honored, and recognized in the Son.

To glorify God is to recognize him as he is revealed to us in Scripture. Psalm 8 begins and ends with these words of glory: “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” (Psa. 8:1, 9). The glory of Jehovah-God is to be honored as the “I AM” triune God who was and is and ever will be: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). The Lord our “Lord” is our Ruler, Master, Prince; The King of kings and Lord of lords. Our moral obligation to the Lord our Lord rests upon the truth that we are not to have any other authority above us other than God Himself (Ex. 20:3–5).

In the words of the Westminster Confession, “There is but one only, living, and true God; who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty” (WCF, Chapter 2: Of God, and of the Holy Trinity).

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O Lord our Lord!—Psalm 8:1–2: The God of Providence

The glory of the Lord is seen in his providential work on earth, whereby even the mouths of babes and nursing infants reveal the strength of the Lord; even as he deals with his enemies. Dare we take our Lord for granted? Dare we reveal our distaste for the work of our Lord by giving him a few hours of worship while satisfying our souls with the so-called blessings of this world? Is not our Lord worthy of our best efforts and greatest admiration in all that we say and do? These words of David, O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy Name, is a daily testimony of the Christian whose heart looks upon Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior.

The Lord has ordained that his strength, his will alone, will be put the enemy to flight. The wicked are unable to stand the Light of Life. Those who would bring punishment upon the Church, and therefore upon the King and Head of the Church—as if they are the ruling authority and interpreters of righteousness, truth, and justice—will find that they dig for themselves a grave that would swallow them up. For it is by the counsel of His own will our Lord brings about that which is right and just, “to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy” (WCF, Chapter 5: Of Providence).

Discussion: How is the great glory of the Lord seen in his work of Providence?

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Consider the Heavens!—Psalm 8:3–5: God has Ordained all Things

John Calvin writes that these words show “that God’s wonderful goodness is displayed the more brightly in that so glorious a Creator, whose majesty shines resplendently in the heavens, graciously condescends to adorn a creature so miserable and vile as man is with the greatest glory, and to enrich him with numberless blessings.”

We have within the Church today those who would bring the Lord down to their level, making themselves the interpreters of what it means to be a Creator, by making science the interpreter of his Word rather than Scripture being the interpreter of man’s scientific endeavors. A ‘long-day’ theory may seem to satisfy some of the world, but it does not please the Writer of Holy Scriptures. It is God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—who has not only created all things in a period of six days, but has ordained the moon and stars in their various orbits and purposes. Of this majestic Creator who, by the word of his mouth, brought all this beauty and wonder into existence, we may ask, “what is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

On the sixth day God created man after his own image in righteousness, truth, and justice. He was a moral creature, able to make moral decisions that would glorify his Maker. He was given dominion over the land and the animals, to be faithful caretakers to the glory of his Creator. Our Lord is mindful of men because they belong to him. Though sin has brought about a barrier between man and Creator, we are to be obedient to his Word, in the knowledge of his presence.

We are first products of the fall of man: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We have now been made new by the Spirit, to know that Christ paid the ransom price for our sins, giving to us a unique place in God’s Creation: a place of obedience and dominion in Christ Jesus. We are now, in Christ our Savior, adorned with divine glory, enabled to have dominion, enabled to practice righteousness and justice in all areas of life: church, family, work, and political. Paul, in writing to the Hebrews, asks the question raised by David, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Heb. 2:6). The word ‘visit’ means that we are “to look upon one with mercy.” Therefore, redeemed man is given a crown of glory and honor, setting the Christian over the works of his Creator and Savior (Heb. 2:7).

Discussion: In what ways are the goodness of God displayed?

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Adorned with Honor!—Psalm 8:6–9: King of Kings and Lord of Lords

The world and all its inhabitants belong to the Lord. The Lord has given to his redeemed people the responsibility to exercise dominion, to rule to the benefit of our Lord’s Creation and to his glory. All things are under the Kingship of Christ. All authority on this earth comes from Christ the King. For Christ must reign until he delivers up the kingdom to God, “even the Father, when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power; for he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26–26). We now reign with Christ and have the responsibility to serve him in righteousness, truth, and justice, whether it is in caring for the sheep of the field, or bringing his righteousness to bear upon the chambers of congress.

O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy Name in all the earth! The person of our Lord is most excellent and deserving of our admiration and obedience. We should proclaim his wonder and majesty in worship, in service, in our homes and work. He has set his glory before us, in the heavens and in his daily presence.

Let us, therefore, discipline our studies along with our voices and deeds of ministry, that the Name—the Person—of Christ be glorified and honored, along with the Father and the Spirit. The apostle Peter preached the Gospel that men might “live according to God in the Spirit” (1 Peter 4:6). He encourages us to be fervent in charity (unconditional in our love and mercy toward one another) (1 Peter 4:8). Peter continues, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ; to whom be praise and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:10–11).

Discussion: How is the honor of the Lord displayed in our lives?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2010 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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