Psalm 8 is one of the psalms that just rises above others. This is not because it is more important than others, but probably because the economy of language which it uses to express the greatness of God. This psalm is such a blessing as it helps us to answer three important questions.
Who is God?
O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
The first question the Psalmist addresses is the one, “Who is God?” He answers it by addressing God Himself. O Jehovah, our Lord, is how he begins. Jehovah of course is the name by which God made Himself known to Moses and to Israel. The name is actually the statement, “I am that I am.” It is a statement of self-existence that is dependent on nothing or no one. God is! He has always been and He will always be. He is the self-existent One Who reveals Himself.
When we speak in theological terms - and seek to describe an infinite (limitless) and eternal (timeless or outside of time) God, we almost instantly become a little uncomfortable. Ours is the day of self-expression and the ultimate autonomy of the self. One might even say the deification of the self. But there is a huge problem with our enthroning of self over ourselves. We are utterly dependent on other things. Our autonomy is an infinite overstatement. Take away air - we die. Take away water - we die. Take away food - we die. Alter the placement of earth either a little closer to the sun - we burn up. Alter it further away - we freeze. Allow something as microscopically minute as a virus (invisible to the naked eye) - we die. We are anything but autonomous. But our arrogance boasts of an imaginary independence.
Would we like to know true autonomy? Jehovah, the self-existent One comes to mind. He has always been - and indeed is completely outside of time. He made time - and then chose to step into time (though utterly unaffected by it) so that we could grasp what He was doing as He created all that there is. He does not require anything to exist and to thrive. He is life and existence. Consider any of the millions of things we need to exist and thrive - and none of them apply to Jehovah. He exists in an infinite present tense viewing all of time and space as He is in it, through it, and unaffected by it. But He is referred to as more than just Jehovah in this passage. He is Jehovah our Lord. The word used here is Adonai. Adonai means Lord, Master, Maker, Owner. The self-existent God is also our maker, master, and owner. Here is where an understanding of God definitely will separate from how our culture views things today. It is hard to declare your own autonomy when you are just a creature made by God - owned by God - and in rebellion against the fact that you are ruled by Him as well. I can hear the howls, “I am not ruled by anyone! I am my own person, and I make my own choices!” Such as statement is as ridiculous as the claims made by the Jews to Jesus when He said if they sinned, they were slaves of sin. They cried then (as we do now), “We are Abraham’s children and not slaves to anyone!” If I were making of movie of this, I’d have a small contingent of the occupying Roman military walk by. They had been slaves to just about everyone! Babylon, Assyria, Persia, Greece, and now Rome. The fact is that we are owned by God. We should submit to His rule and reign - but we continue in Adamic rebellion even to this very day. What we may perceive as God’s inaction as to His rule and reign is actually mercy. We should be consumed for our rebellion - and yet mercy reigns daily - as well as grace, which is given so that rebellious sinners may come to repentance and faith and be delivered from the current status as “children of wrath.”
The psalmist exclaims, “Oh Jehovah, our Master, Maker, and Ruler, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” Saying that God’s name is majestic means that He is excellent, lofty, and above any other. There is no other name on earth - nor will there ever be one - that can match His name. They all fall infinitely short. His majesty is not even completely describable by appealing to the vastness and power of the heavens themselves. God has displayed His splendor above the heavens themselves. The word displayed means to set something somewhere - to place it. God, being the creator of all things, set the heavens and all their contents in place. But His own splendor (Hebrew word “hod” meaning vigor, authority, and majesty) is above the heavens. But this is not a stretch as the maker of something is always far greater than the thing made. Thus God’s vigor (physical power), His authority to set things where and how He commands, and the majesty, excellence, loftiness of it all is beyond the heavens themselves. The heavens are the scene where His splendor is seen - because earth is not a sufficient gallery for such things to be displayed.
2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
Another way that the question, “Who is God?” is answered is by examining His strength. When you are omnipotent (all-powerful), which God is, you can display your strength any way you want. Yet, according to the psalmist, God manifests His strength through one of the weakest things on earth.
Consider the following scenario. A battle royal is set between God and the greatest champions the world can gather. All the enemies of God, as well as all who desire revenge against Him for some perceived wrong are gathered. From the midst of this sea of earthly greatness and power the most muscular, the most powerful, and the most gifted of all fighters emerge - all ready for the ultimate fight of their lives. What an astounding crew of humanity stands before us. That is the corner of the enemies of God and those seeking revenge against Him. Then we turn our eyes to God’s corner. We can only imagine the colossus that will greet our eyes that is representative of God’s power. Then in shock we see a group of infants and nursing babies. They lay on the canvass and wiggle their hands and feet - unable to even get themselves upright. Yet what will shock us even more is the beat down that will be imposed upon the champions of mankind. God has established strength from the mouths of infants and nursing babes. Their dependence upon God is total and absolute. Yet it is this very weakness and utter dependence that will win the day. God will make the enemy and revengeful cease via the power He will display through absolute weakness. For God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the wise. He chooses the things that are not to shame the things that are. In the end when the bell rings - it will be the babes and nursing infants who will prevail. Why? Because God’s power is infinite - and He can and will win the day with the very weakest of things imaginable.
This answers another aspect of the question, “Who is God?” He is the mighty and powerful one - infinitely mighty and powerful. There are none who can stand before Him. They are like chaff which His wind blows away. All of mankind gathered together with all their strength and might are nothing - in fact - less than nothing before Him. Good to remember when we take flight into the fancies of our own autonomy and ability to establish our own will opposed to His. This is why later in the Psalm the writer seems to be gazing into the night sky and suddenly realizing how very small he is in light of this incredible God.
Who is God? That is actually the most important question that we will ever ask. As A. W. Tozer so eloquently stated, the most important thing about us is what we believe about God. The psalmist in this 8th Psalm has not be exhaustive on such matters, but his brief praise of God goes a long way to dispel many false concepts and notions of just Who God is.