Psalm 8:1 To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
“How excellent is thy name”
What is the psalmist saying here?
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines the word, excellent as: EXCELLENT – Being of great virtue or worth; eminent or distinguished for what is amiable, valuable or laudable. Being of great value or use, applied to things; remarkable for good properties; Distinguished for superior attainments; Consummate; complete.
The Hebrew word is transliterated as ‘addiyr, (strong’s H117). The word is used 27 times in scripture. The King James translators translated it using several different words, which perhaps leads us to a more complete understanding of the word’s meaning- nobles, mighty, principal, famous, gallant, glorious, goodly, lordly, noble one, worthies.
Being drawn in by my curiosity, I decided to look to a modern thesaurus to see what the word might point to in more recent time. I found a few synonyms for the word excellent; superior, wonderful, exceptional, exemplary, great, magnificent, outstanding, incomparable, invaluable, priceless, and supreme.
What powerful words these are! Yes, as with all words we tend to lesson their impact by using them in an inferior manner. But, what if we could stand back just for a moment, separating from ourselves, and consider who God is? Do we associate God and His name to these types of adjectives? Or has His name become cheapened and common in our vernacular? Can we allow the fullness of the meanings in these words to ascend the heights that associating them with the name of God would require? Better yet, can we see God for who He is- worthy of all these and much more?
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth
God takes his name seriously. Do we not realize this? In Exodus 9:16 God informed Pharaoh through Moses precisely why Pharaoh existed; “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.”
Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Deuteronomy 28:58 If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD;
Throughout scripture the name of God is spoken of. And in His name we find His attributes and His glory. We begin to know God by His name.
Exodus 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
And in His name we have been, continually are and will be- blessed.
Psalm 72:17 His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.
As we further study the name of God and grow in our understanding of who He is, it is then we can join the psalmist and honestly say,
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!