How Excellent Is Your Name
O Lord, our Lord, How majestic and glorious and excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have displayed Your splendor above the heavens.
In an hour when men are blaspheming the Lord’s name, the psalmist can only exclaim in wonder at its greatness. Though himself a poet, he is at a loss for words to express its worth. All he can do is cry, “How excellent!” And this unspeakable excelling “ in all the earth.” Here, surely, is an echo of Genesis 1, where all God beheld “was very good.” But having begun thus, the writer concludes his tribute to the excellent Name, and this without so much as a mention of the fall of man. Had we been writing, we would have felt bound to bring that in. But God is unchanging, and to the psalmist even Adam’s sin could not reverse His intention that in the end man should “have dominion.” For at this point the Lord Jesus steps in. It is Hebrews 2 that illumines Psalm 8. He is that Man, and He has already dealt with sin. In Him all God’s desire is realized, and He is related to us. There is no deviation in the ways of God: they go straight forward: “O Lord, how excellent!”
Throughout the ages, those who have been given a glimpse of the majesty and splendor of God sought to find words to describe that greatness and in spite of their attempts, there seem to be no words in any human language to express even in a small way such greatness and glory.
Writing to the Philippians, Paul says that through the humility of Christ as He humbled Himself and obeyed the will of the Father, He has been “given a name above all names.”
“For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2: 9-11
One day every created being, including Satan, fallen angels, and every human- saved and lost will bow before Christ and declare that He is King of kings and Lord of Lords. You and I will be in that number, but we don’t have to wait till that day. If our hearts have been opened and we have invited Christ into our lives, even now we can experience the overwhelming excellence of His name.
We cannot emphasize enough the excellence of the name of Jesus for through His name our prayers are heard and answered.
“If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it.”
Names, at least as they were given in Scripture, define the nature and character of the one who has been given a name. This is especially true of God. Each Old Testament name of God helped people come to know Him in a more excellent way. I have no doubt that the psalmist had those names in mind when he exclaimed, “O Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth.”
We, too, can exclaim the greatness of the names of God as we learn them. Here’s a few descriptive names of God:
Jehovah-Jireh which means the Lord Who Provides and those of us who have been recipients of God’s provision can say, “O Lord, how excellent is Your name.” Certainly the Israelites on their journey through the wilderness must have been amazed at the magnificent provision of manna and quail. Who but God could supply such a feast!
Jehovah-Rapha which means the Lord Who Heals and those who have received His healing touch, be it physical, emotional or spiritual can say “O Lord, how excellent is Your name. Certainly the lame man at the gate beautiful must have experienced such amazement as Peter reached out to him and as he took him by the hand proclaimed healing in the name of Jesus. No wonder he leaped up and danced and jumped for joy, praising God. Who but God could give such an incredible gift!
Jehovah-Nissi which means the Lord is Here and those of us who have experienced the incredible Presence especially in the storms and difficulties of life can say, “O Lord, how excellent is Your name.” That night in the middle of the sea, the disciples who were in the storm experienced such awe as Jesus stepped on board their ship, spoke to the howling winds and raging seas and quieted their fears. Who but God could wrap a fearful heart with such peace!
In every situation, as we cry out to God, as we speak His name, we can experience the wonder-working power of God and, like the psalmist, find we have insufficient words in our vocabulary to ascribe the honor, appreciation, and gratitude for such gracious acts of God. So we join in and say, “O Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!”
Dr. John Thompson