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  • Writer's pictureLou Hernández

HOW MAJESTIC IS YOUR NAME! September 11, 2022


This past week marked the passing of Queen Elizabeth who, for 70 years, served her country with grace and love. It was during celebrations for the 25th year of her reign when pastor Jack Hayford and his wife were touring England. Surrounding them, Hayford felt the courage of the English people especially their love of the royalty who stood with them in their darkest hours. Suddenly he thought about how Christ wants his church to have such love and devotion for Him during our good and bad times. One word charged to the forefront as Hayford asked his wife to write down some words. And he began dictating the notes and lyrics to a song, familiar to many of you: Majesty, worship His majesty, unto Jesus be glory, honour and praise. Majesty, kingdom authority, flow from His throne, unto His own, His anthem raise. So exalt, lift on high the name of Jesus. Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King. Majesty, worship His majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings.

That song could easily be the anthem for Ps 8 which we are looking at today: God’s majesty seen in the heavens; His majesty heard from infants and babies and His majesty witnessed by enemies. That majesty painted in the heavens, splashed in the world around, re-produced in our lives and this morning also captured on canvas. The Psalmist begins with a look above.

Oh LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

La semana pasada marco el fallecimiento de la Reina Isabel quien durante 70 años, sirvió a su país con gracia y amor. Fue durante las celebraciones del (25) vigésimo quinto año de su reinado cuando el pastor Jack Hayford y su esposa estaban de gira por Inglaterra. A su alrededor, Hayford sintió el coraje de los Ingleses especialmente su amor por la realeza que los acompaño en sus mas oscuras horas. De repente pensó como Cristo quiere que su iglesia tenga tanto amor y devoción por Él durante nuestros buenos y malos tiempos. Una palabra salto al frente cuando Hayford pregunto a su esposa que escribiera algunas palabras. Y empezó a dictar las notas y las letras de un canto, familia para muchos de ustedes; Majestad, adorar a Su majestad, hacia Jesus sea su gloria, honor y alabanza. Majestad, autoridad de reino, fluid desde Su trono, hacia los suyos, Elevad Su himno. Así que exalta, levanta en alto el nombre de Jesus. Engrandeced, venid a glorificar, Cristo Jesus el Rey. Majestad, adorad a Su Majestad, Jesus que murió, ahora glorificado, Rey de todos los Reyes.

I’m would think David writes this largely from his experiences as a shepherd who spent many nights safeguarding his sheep. Ink-black nights came alive in the heavens overwhelming him with what he saw. Every so often, extra moments of the spectacular – a falling star or an atmospheric explosion - those only exclamation marks added to the wonder of star clusters orderly arranged, the darker the night, the more magnificent the display.

The night’s darkness is dictated by the different phases of the moon appearing repeatedly on cue. Wonder, order and spectacular all painted on a canvas as far as eye could see.

Looking into the heavens gives us a view but David reminding that His glory is beyond anything Hubble has given us to see. Greater even than its predecessor, the James Webb telescope begins to reveal. Yet in what we do see - the amazing artistry of God’s finger-painting but behind all that, the incomprehensible of what’s not seen - God’s glory - too great, too radiant for the mortal eye. The amazing and in this surround of darkness, God creating light and saying, It is good. Creating vegetation and creatures is good. But in creating man – it’s very good!

No wonder David’s declaration, O LORD, our Lord how majestic is your NAME in all the earth?

David’s heavenly look takes him beyond the brilliance of the stars and ‘sees’ God Himself. His focus - God’s greatness, specifically His NAME - is a name God jealously protects because no other name comes close. A Name was given with a Promise. A Name given with wonders. A Name was given with power. A Name was given with freedom. Look, I am making a covenant. In the presence of all your people, I will perform wonders that have never been done in the whole earth ... I will drive out before you the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with the inhabitants of the land otherwise, they will become a snare among you. Tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars.

and chop down their Asherah poles. You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. … lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and play the harlot after their gods. Ex 34:10-16

The undeniable glory of the heavens but pointing to us to something far greater. His name – O LORD, Our Lord Yahweh – the great I AM, the Lord of all the earth - God powerful but also, God present who keeps covenant faithfulness with His people. God who does wonders! It’s why our God, you’re so beautiful and God that passed from Pettersson was so good and yes, our go-through-the-motions singing, God, you’re so good is more than careless expressions used, they are expressions of the God we see. Diminishing God, and losing sight of God who is worthy of all worship – a God who says He is jealous of His name. So not careless speech but dangerous speech.

Oh LORD, Our Lord David not only acknowledges God’s power, but he also submits to it. We’re told this in his description of His name YahwehLORD of all, and ADONAI - Lord - master. Not master intellectually but master bowed to. These are not the same thing. One is recognition, the other is the response. Too often we do one without the other. Nodding ‘Yes’ and living ‘No’.

Worship must start from a Lord who’s bowed to - submitted to Who He is and what He says. The greater we understand Him to be leaves us with no choice but to worship. His majesty, His excellence, His love - so far beyond anything we can imagine. This is the God who when Moses asks to see God’s glory is told, No one can see My glory and live. I will cause all My goodness to pass before you and I will proclaim My name - the LORD - in your presence. But you cannot see My face for no one can see Me and live. Ex 33:19,20 Don’t miss that it was God’s goodness which passed by. The point is being – if we don’t get God’s name right, we’ll never get our relationship right which means, we’ll never get our worship right.

No wonder David asks: What is a man that you are mindful of him? Ps 8:4 So often this is where we go wrong because we have such a small picture of His glory. We want to put our good, our strength, and our character alongside His not understanding the absurdity of that. Because even the smallest glimpse of His glory will put us on our faces but His covenant love? - that puts us into His arms.

It’s knowledge of this, that God doesn’t deal with us from His power, He deals with us from His love which allows David to turn his focus from heavenly galaxies to dependent children.

2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.

He’s seen glory and strength in the greatness of the heavens now he sees it woven in the intricately small. Not strength that overwhelms but strength in the trust and faith of the innocent who speaks praise of the One who loves them. The trust and faith of the innocent focused on the One who created all things, their trust in Him in the same way that an infant owes its complete trust to the person who meets its every need.

Against the attacks of those considered strong and those considered formidable, the psalmist contrasts the insight of the powerless. This picture describes an incredible power imbalance – the powerless incapable of doing anything to support or defend themselves yet the imbalance is not as we would think. Here in dependence on Almighty God, the seemingly powerful are rendered mute. The wise are silenced by praise offered by those who lack words to explain or describe. God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty 1 Cor 1:17

As Matthew tells us, Little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 19:13-15.

and The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’? Matt 21:14-16

God knew not thru intellect and wisdom but through humility, the heavens showing us: When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is a Goldilocksman that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? :3,4

Scientists have determined we’re in the “Goldilocks” region of our sun - not too far away, not too close. Closer and we’d be cooked to death, further away and we’d be frozen solid. If the earth weren’t tilted at a constant 23 degrees, the poles would be colder, the equator hotter and less of the earth’s surface would be livable. Leaving the sun behind, consider the moon. Roughly the same distance from the sun as earth yet its temperatures range from an unlivable 214º above zero to 243º below. But if it weren’t for the moon, earth’s oceans would be dead. If it were positioned closer or bigger, tsunami waves would overwhelm. Positioned further away or smaller, tides would be nonexistent and ocean life impossible.

And this doesn’t even get into what theoretical physicist Michio Kaku observes:

It’s shocking to find out how many of the familiar constants of the universe lie within a very narrow band that makes life possible. If a single one of these ‘accidents’ were altered, stars would never form, the universe would fly apart, DNA would not exist, life as we know it would be impossible.

Yet as intricate as these design marvels are, we’re told they are just the work of God’s fingers and as far as God is concerned, they are just the backdrop of His creation.

Consider the things we create like great buildings which are soon rendered in architectural models that give investors ideas of what’s to come. When taken out for public view, things are added to the models that have nothing to do with the buildings. Small additions but their impact are mighty. Like the plastic figures of a man walking his dog, a child flying his kite, and a young mother watching her child at play in a water park. Additions conveying something different than what investors needed to see in the Board room. These extras are to convey consumers conveying lifestyles. The addition of these people was peripheral to the structures the designers conceptualized.

But with God, the small children, the busy dad, the attentive mom, then finding his way to youth –all central to what God designed. Though dwarfed by everything else in view they – YOU - are the central figures in His plan. The heavens, the mountain ranges, the ocean expanse – just the artistic backdrop, those created for us to enjoy in a life of joyful adventure with God. The center of God’s creation? – man not landscapes. And yet not believing that we exchanged all the good given to us for a lie. A lie that said things have been kept from us, that we’ve been denied. And believing lies, our enemy wants us to forfeit the pinnacle of what we were given – a face-to-face, loving relationship with God.

But the great news is God has never abandoned His plan. Never abandoned the life He wants for us, the life He created for us. His truth is intended for our good. His promises are still assured.

Based on what? ‘That we have all together lives? That we perform well? That if have enough acts of measuring up and earned enough trophy-worthy moments that God becomes mindful of us?’ Or what we are told here is that He is mindful of us now, independent of our successes and failures. Mindful of us because of who God is not because of who we are. Because we are what God had in mind from before creation. A people who through Jesus’ shed blood on the Cross can know God. A people who can live with Him forever. ‘Infants and babes’ who may now speak praise in garbled speech, not yet fully understanding what we’ve been given, but who will one day be singing songs of unending praise as we see the full glory of Jesus Christ.

The book of Hebrews makes striking use of Psalm 8:4: For in one place, the Scriptures say, ‘What are mere mortals that you should think about them, or a son of man that you should care for him? Yet for a little while, you made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour. You gave them authority over all things.’ Now when it says ‘all things,’ it means nothing is left out. But we have not yet seen all things put under their authority. What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position a little lower than the angels; and because he suffered death for us, he is now ‘crowned with glory and honour.’ Heb 2:6-9

We are told this in 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings Elohim and crowned him with glory and honour.

In Heb 2:9 we see that Psalm 8:5 in so many ways is applied to Jesus. That He for a period of time set aside His heavenly glory and the honour that was due Him so that He could make Himself known to us. Yet here in Psalm 8, the first application is that the one God has crowned with glory and honour is the man. Man is made in the image of God Gen 1:26-28. Created to bear God’s likeness. Created with high value. Crowned by the majestic, sovereign ruler of creation as God’s image bearers.

Our enemy understands that far better than we do which infuriates him. That God’s love for us is SO great that He has done everything possible for us to know Him and be with Him. God even went to the incredible length that He gave His Son to pay the penalty for our sins. Satan hates that redeemed men and women, recipients of God’s love, are crowned with honour and glory.

That we’ve been adopted as sons Eph 1:3-5, joint heirs with Christ Rom 8:17. Satan hated us because he believed that place of glory and honour belonged to him.

Spurgeon observes, Satan is no doubt filled with scorn of man when he looks at him and measures him against himself. ‘Is this the creature that is to be set over all the works of God’s hands, made of earth and water, phosphates and metals? I am far nobler than he. Can I not flash like lightning, while he must creep about the world to find himself a grave?

Yet we have something he does not. We are image bearers. Not long ago, Egon told me that as a young man, he dreamt of building a sailboat that could sail offshore. His dream later came true in a meticulously crafted vessel, its hull setting the standard for 36 boats to follow. Each of the 36 is unique. Outfitted differently. Furnishings are not the same; some are panelled in maple, others in walnut or teak. The colours under which they sailed were different – yet at their core, all had the image of the first design. Just like we who carry the name of Jesus Christ. Children of God who are forgiven, loved, valued and set free. Wearers of God’s glory and Grace. Each 1 of us is unique but all of us, are first deposits of so much more to come. Until then:

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

You have given him dominion - made to rule.

We are quite happy to focus on the dominion part. To be in control. To take charge and to be in charge. And if we are to begin here, that perspective might be legitimate, at least within a context. Because here we are told that creation is to serve us and not the other way around. Despite what some would have us believe, creation is NOT to be worshipped. Valued and appreciated – yes; worshipped – no. It is not the place in which we find ourselves, in which we discover our meaning. But notice the first 4 words of this verse – You have given him.

Our rule is Creator given. That means our authority is Creator accountable. Accountable for how we treat the gift we’ve been given. To steward not abuse. Yet as we value and as we steward, that should bring us to a place of awe. To marvel at the beauty in its many diverse forms. In the stealth and strength of the predator or the alertness and evasiveness of the prey;

in the intricacies of a bird in flight or the artistry of watching what dances on water. Like what we see here:

Our worship directed to the One whose creativity gave us all this. And the One who gave us all this? Jesus, 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. Col 1:16 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being Jn 1:3. He was in the world and the world was made through Him and the world did not know Him Jn 1:10

Marvelling at all this, David ends where he begins, marvelling at God’s wonder. Majesty painted in the heavens, splashed in the world that surrounds, re-produced on canvas - its glory spilling onto us, His image bearers. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Majesty that all who have put their faith in Jesus will one day fully know but until then, followers of Jesus who are called to be His image bearers as we see and bow before His name.

After a tiring drive, a preacher and his wife stopped to eat. As they sat, an older gentleman walked over and asked him where they were from and what he did for a living? Hearing that the man was a preacher, the old man pulled up a chair and sat down. I have a story to tell you. My mother wasn’t married when I was born so when I started school, my classmates had a name for me and it wasn’t nice. At recess and lunch I’d go off by myself because their taunts cut me deeply. Worse was going downtown on Saturday afternoon and feeling every eye burning a hole through me. They were all wondering who my real father was.

When I was about 12, a new preacher came to our church. I would always go in late and slip out early but one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me. Just about the time I got to the door I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me. ‘Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’

As he said it, I felt the old weight come upon me. It was like a big, black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down but as the preacher studied my face, he began to smile a great big smile: ‘Wait a minute. I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You … you are a son of God!’ With that, he slapped me across the back and said, ‘Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.’

At that, the old man got up and left. When they went to the cash register to pay, the waitress said: Do you know who that old man was speaking to you? That was Ben Hooper, the former state governor. This is his home town and he retired here a few years ago. Just a few words from a preacher telling this young man he was made in the image of God changed his life. Just as it can do for us. God’s majesty on display not just around you but in you because of the transforming power of Jesus. A life God is waiting each one of us to claim.

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