O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Psalm 8:1 NKJ
What a tremendous Psalm of praise this is, as it acknowledges our wonderful God. The translator uses the word “excellent’ to describe the Lord’s name. Other translations use the word “majestic”. But no matter how hard we try, our dictionaries to not carry words of sufficient meaning to properly describe God. Looking at verse 2, perhaps His name should be “Child-Teacher” and “Enemy-Silencer”. Verse 3 perhaps “Star-Maker”. Verse 5 perhaps “Human-Carer” or “King-Maker”. It is a useful way of spending time with God, seeing how many different words or phrases we can find to describe Him. You will remember from the passage in Genesis how God brought all the animals to Adam, so that he could name them. So Adam named the giraffe and the zebra, the cow and the donkey. (I wonder what he made of the alpaca – strange looking animal, but that’s just my opinion). But we always have the option to reciprocate, and find words to describe God.
Giving a name to someone or something, tangible or intangible, is an essential part of communication. Dictionaries are constantly being updated with new words or with new meanings to existing words. Often the new word or meaning is helpful and relevant to the society and times in which we live, but sadly there are now old words assigned a new meaning, hijacked by godless people and now to be avoided.
But back to our Psalm. It was written by David and in verse 3 you can just imagine him lying in a pasture with a flock of contented sheep, looking up at the heavens and musing over how great God is. Looking at the stars, countlessly forming an awesome canopy over him, unspoilt by light pollution and the astronomical familiarity of our scientists. The Psalmist said that the stars were put there by God’s fingers. Wow! This is a mind boggling place to be and totally beyond mankind’s ability to give it justice with our words, our language. It is in this place of wonder that I often find myself during my early morning prayer walks. Looking around at the constantly changing scenery, the leaves so recently formed now starting to drop as autumn advances. Listening to the bird song and the wind rushing through the tree tops. Watching a “V” of geese honking their way South to find pasture more suitable for them than Scottish fields, glens and lochs in winter.
And in my wonder I echo the first and last verses in this Psalm, praising and thanking our excellent and majestic God.