“Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”
So what do you think? Does David use the appositive of the first verse of Psalm 8 to praise God or does he put those two words into the line to recommit and even reassure himself? He didn’t have to add the line, of course. This psalm would have resounded through the ages even if he hadn’t added, “our Lord.” So why did he?
It may be a kind of testimony. It may be that he added it because he wanted the Lord God Almighty, whom he is addressing, to know that the melody rising from the wilderness of earth was his own, someone who worshipped Him, and Him alone. David may have wanted to reassure God of his (David’s own) love. That would be right and fitting and noble.
On the other hand, “our Lord” may be a kind of ecstatic expletive. He just couldn’t help himself. When he considered the majesty of God in every last corner of the world, he was—as I can be by the dawn—awestruck by God’s unfathomable non-creatureliness (now there’s a mouthful), by the fact that God is, well, God. Astonished by his presence, he can’t help himself. He just has to get it in there—“this God of heavens and earth and seas and skies is (take a deep breath) actually our God.” That kind of thing would be less right and fitting and noble than flat-out human. Maybe that’s why I like the second option.
Whatever the case for the appositive, we’ve arrived at the kind of Davidic line that has laid itself foundationally beneath life as we know it on this planet. If it’s not in Bartlett’s Quotations, it certainly should be. There may be others on your or my Top Ten Psalms list, but this line and this psalm, Psalm 8, is a real keeper.
The KJV has “excellent” where the NIV has “majestic.” Both seem archaic in a culture built, at least in part, on equality. Eugene Peterson says, “Your name is a household word,” which is far more democratic; but then, Tide is also a household word. I’m not sure we own language sufficient to modify God Almighty.
What captures me here is the little word all. If the idea of God’s name being excellent in every square inch of the world is not just hyperbole, then we have to believe it shines divinely in Al Quida terrorist camps, in Thai brothels, in crack houses and meth labs across
in each of our darkest corners. That
seems a stretch.
But not impossible. As our preacher said last Sunday, it’s interesting to imagine that single lamb who created all the fuss by wandering from the ninety-and-nine, that lamb the Good Shepherd finds and carries home on his shoulders, that straying lamb as someone like, say, Osama bin Laden. Osama’s face on that lamb, if we believe the parable, only seems preposterous.
My mind isn’t good at stretching cosmically. What I know better is this: even in our own dark corners, even in our worst desert moments, He is there in all his majesty, even when we swear God is not in the building. That’s just plain excellent.
Jesus Christ is one divine bounty hunter. He stalks us until he strikes, not because of some price on your head or mine, but because the Lord, our Lord, loves us.
And for that, let his name be glorified from every last dark corner of the planet. The fact is, he is a household word. His excellence makes our best look dingy; his majesty makes royalty look bedraggled.
And he is, as David can’t help singing, ours.