Psalm 8:1 meaning

King David praises God, who is the Essence of Existence and the Master of all Creation.

Psalm 8 is a psalm of praise which reflects on God’s glory as well as the glory He has destined for humanity, which is (amazingly) to rule the earth. Psalm 8 is quoted by Jesus. It is also quoted in the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 2:6-8a) to illustrate humankind’s fall into sin and separation from our God-given purpose to reign over the earth in harmony with God. Hebrews 2 tells how the Son of God has reclaimed that purpose and inheritance, and tells us we can share in this restoration, and be restored to our purpose through following the example of Jesus.

Psalm 8 is a Psalm of David, written by King David, who composed most of the psalms. It was written to be sung as a praise song, for the choir director to use in worship, on the Gittith. It is unknown what the Gittith refers to; it was possibly a musical instrument.

David begins by addressing God: O Lord, our Lord. The first word translated Lord is the Hebrew word Yahweh, which is the proper name of God. It means “to exist.” God is the essence of existence. When Moses asked God His name, he answered “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14). As the New Testament states:

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17)

But David adds that this Yahweh, the One who is the essence of existence, is also our Lord. The second instance of Lord translates the Hebrew word “adown.” So O Lord, our Lord is essentially “Oh Essence of Existence, our Master.” The emphasis is upon God as our creator and designer as well as God as our supreme ruler. Both aspects of God will be fully relevant in this psalm.

David praises God to the ultimate degree: How majestic is Your name in all the earth. The Lord God is the true ruler over all the earth; His name is majestic across the planet, by evidence of His creative works. Not only did God create the earth, but He rules it with total authority.

His name is majestic in the earth, and He has displayed His splendor above the heavens. All of creation shows the beauty and power of the Lord. In another psalm, David reiterates the way in which created things reflect the greatness of the One who created all:

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.”
(Psalm 19:1).

The heavens speak to us. They tell us a story that speaks of the wonder of God. It is a story that is there if we are willing to see it. If we have eyes to see, the earth and everything in it should all direct us back to the wonder of God.

The Apostle Paul also makes this point in his letter to the Roman believers, that creation is proof of who God is and what He does:

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that [humans] are without excuse.”
(Romans 1:20)

This makes clear that anyone who spends any time looking at and pondering the creation must conclude that God is truly God, if they are willing to look at the evidence objectively.

Biblical Text

For the choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of David.
8 O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!

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