Praise the Lord, for he knows who you are!
1 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! – Psalm 8
For most people being known by the people they consider especially important or utterly removed from them, like the CEO of a company or President of a country gives a really nice feeling. Imagine taking the same lift as the CEO of your company and he utters these simple words to you, “Hi, Mahlwane.” if Mahlwane is your name. Most of us would walk away from a moment like this thinking “I can’t believe he knows my name”.
In our Psalm today David is having such a moment, he too cannot believe that God knows his name, for he says, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”. Not only does God know who he is, He knows him better than he knows himself, for elsewhere in Psalm 139:5 he says, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether”. God knew him before he was even born as he says in Psalm 139:13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.”
You can imagine David reflecting back on his shepherd boy days, when he used to lie down in the field and look up at the heavens and behold the glory of God. A glory so great that even the heavens cannot contain it, for He has set it above the heavens (verse 1b). This is the God who does not use the strongman or an army to still His enemies, but rather establishes strength in the mouths of the weak and humble as they proclaim praises to His name. Just like the children of Jerusalem cried “Hosanna to the Son of David” when Jesus performed mighty works in Jerusalem and the chief priests, and the scribes opposed Him (Matthew 21:15-16). The glory of God confronts David all around, he sees the excellencies of His God in what He has created, in the moon and stars which God has set in place (verse 3).
Seeing the greatness of God brings great humility upon David that he says, who am I that you are mindful of me? How can the great God of universe care for man, let alone a man such as me? No man whose eyes are opened by the grace of God to behold His great majesty can stand before him in pride. Peter said “Depart from me, for I am sinful man” when he saw a glimpse of the glory of Christ (Luke 5:8). How great is this God who is mindful of sinful men? For we know that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
It is thus fitting to respond like David and say, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”
Not only is God mindful of us, but He has also placed us in a place of honour over all his creation. This honour is cause for much humility, lest we be prideful and fall. Reflecting on verses 5-8 Spurgeon said:
“Let none of us permit the possession of any earthly creature to be a snare to us but let us remember that we are to reign over them, and not to allow them to reign over us. Under our feet we must keep the world, and we must shun that base spirit which is content to let worldly cares and pleasures sway the empire of the immortal soul.”
Man was so honoured that the great God of the universe, the transcendent God of David, took the form of man and not only man but a baby. It is in the likeness of man that God came to die and bring peace to the world (Colossians 1:19-20). God is not only mindful of us, He became our brother (Hebrews 2:12), what a privilege it is to be children together with the eternal Son of God.
The right response to God’s blessings is to praise the Lord, for his name is majestic in all the earth. May we thus go forth in humility and proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God to all the world, that many more may see as we see and join us as we praise our great God.