“O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.”
Thus Psalm 8 both begins and ends, with a sudden burst of praise. Our job here in Psalm 8 is simply to praise. Not to analyze or debate, but to marvel and adore. God’s majesty, God’s beauty, everything that makes God wonderful – our whole world is saturated in it. We couldn’t escape if we wanted to. And we don’t want to. God is to be enjoyed, and doing so is quite easy when God’s majesty and beauty are so readily available everywhere we look.
“You have set your glory above the heavens.” God’s majesty, beauty and glory saturate not only the whole earth, but the whole cosmos. In fact, above the cosmos. The heavens themselves cannot contain all that makes God wonderful. His glory spills over even beyond that. It just keeps stretching and expanding and running and leaping. How could we not praise this God?
Here from the cosmos we suddenly zoom in, all the way in. “Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a stronghold because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.” We come from above the heavens down to a baby’s crib to listen to the simple, incoherent noises that come from the mouth of an infant. A giggle here, a whimper there secretly speaks God’s language with greater fluency than we thought possible. What sounds to us like babble not yet qualified as speech is actually praising God with a poetry and boldness of which we grown ups have little knowledge. And yet there is something fierce and dangerous in this baby babble, dangerous to God’s enemies at least. These infant noises have built up the sturdiest of fortresses in which God resides safe and sound with his people. Any other stronghold is made of brick and stone, armed with every weapon and strategic advantage. But it’s just a poor, frightened, unimaginative imitation of the real thing. God is more than safe enough walled behind sounds like “mama” or “dada.”
Now we’re confronted with a paradox in the form of a question. “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?”
God is every bit as wonderful as Psalm 8 says and more. God’s beauty saturates the whole earth. His glory fills the heavens and yet still overflows beyond that. God is so secure in the world he’s made that baby babble is all the protection he needs. If this is how good, how beautiful, how powerful God is, then how is it possible that we humans could have any place at all in his attention span and in his heart? Psalm 8 won’t really get around to answering this question. Some questions don’t want to be answered, lest we find quick satisfaction and move on. Some questions are content to blow our minds indefinitely. The purpose of this question is not be answered, but to draw us into constant praise. “Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.” What a strange, beautiful paradox!
May we be constantly reminded of what a special thing it is to be human. But even more than that, may we constantly be moved to praise.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth.