Presented, Sunday, July 4, 2004 pm
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OUR EXCELLENT GOD
Most of the psalms we have examined up to this point (all except the first) have dealt with David's times of trouble as he fled from enemies. Here we find his first psalm of simple praise to God. Keep this in mind as we consider our admonition to sing to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). In fact, there have been songs written based upon this particular song (though not in our song book). Tonight we examine this psalm.
The superscription – again addressed to the chief musician
On the instrument of Gath – “upon Gittith” (KJV). Again the exact meaning is not known, but some believe it was to be played on an instrument that was invented in Gath (a Philistine city – home of Goliath) or a tune sung there. Other make reference to Obededom, of Gittith was entrusted with the Ark of the Covenant after the death of Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:11)
A Psalm of David
b. This Psalm is reference at least 3 times in the New Testament
i. Matthew 21:16 where Jesus quotes vs. 2 after being confronted during His final days concerning the praise He was receiving for healing many.
ii. 1 Corinthians 15:27 – Christ must reign until He has put all things under His feet (vs. 6)
iii. Hebrews 2:6-7 – where the writer attributes this characteristic to Christ. (vs. 5-6)
c. Note that in all 3 we find reference to Christ Jesus thus giving us at least one glimpse into its intended meaning.
II. How Excellent Is Your Name (1)
O Lord, Our Lord – Jehovah, Our Lord (adonai - master)
NOTE it is OUR Lord – making this personal. Jehovah meant something personally to David. What does He mean to you and me? Is He our personal Lord? While that expression is loosely thrown around in the religious world today it has a ring of truth – Philippians 3:8; John 20:28 – Thomas.
How excellent in Your Name – the word excellent means majestic or great.
God’s name – because of who He is - ought to always be placed on a higher plane
than everyone else. One thing the Jews realized was how hallowed His name was
to be – in fact they respected the name Jehovah so much that they would not
pronounce it out of fear of mispronouncing it.
Psalm 111:9 says, “Holy and awesome is His name” The KJV uses the word reverend here
When Jesus taught how to pray He began by saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matthew 6:9)
Do we reverence the Name of God as we ought to? How sad it is to see the way His name has been abused and even blasphemed in our society today. May we always render unto Him the respect He deserves and that will start with the way we respect His name.
How excellent is His name? It is in all the earth – literally, the whole
His glories being set above the heavens – above that which we can comprehend with the naked eye.
III. Out of the Mouth of Babes His excellence is established (2)
a. Exactly who these “babes and nursing infants are” is an interesting study and could have several answers.
Physical children who easily seem to be able to grasp the concept of God
in creations (i.e. – “Who made the world?” “God did” the child answers”). Try
having a young child comprehend the “big bang” theory or explained evolution.
Often while men are struggling for words and what to do, a little child who has been taught of God will remind him to turn to God.
ii. Don’t forget that David as a youth was a shepherd who could look up into the skies and see the wonders of God’s creation and praise Him for it. Some believe that this was one of David’s earliest psalms.
iii. Matthew 21:16 - Jesus quotes this verse after He has cleansed the temple again and performed many miracles there. Vs. 15 says children were crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David” which prompted the religious leaders to rebuke Jesus saying, “Do you hear what they are saying about you?” Jesus answered, “YES!” and then quoted this verse. How that must have angered these leaders.
iv. The disciples and Apostles of Jesus - who in their spiritual infancy with Jesus grasped who He was - Matthew 11:25.
v. And just like then, His disciples today, who usually are not the great and mighty of society – but the simple and humble. It is the worldly, educated intellectual among us who sees the gospel as foolishness. And SADLY, even among our brethren some of this “intelligence” is rubbing off so that brethren are questioning the literal days of creation in Genesis 1.
b. The enemy and the avenger is silenced. While upon this earth, the ungodly seem to have the upper hand, but because God is in control, their dominance is short lived.
i. They can claim our bodies, but they cannot have our soul – John 10:27-30.
ii. Ultimately this is because of Jesus coming to this earth and becoming the propitiation for our sins. Interestingly, all three references to this psalm in the New Testament give reference to Jesus.
IV. Man's Place in His Universe (3-5)
a. All David had to do was look up to know the excellence of God. Can we see God in the awesome design of this world? Romans 1:20; Hebrews 11:3 – By faith we comprehend the creation of this world. Truly, design DOES demand a designer!
“What is man…?” In contrast to this, consider the smallness of man. We
are, all of us combined, but a speck compared to the vastness of the heavens.
Yet God cared enough to send Jesus to die for us – John 3:16; Romans 5:8.
Peter summed it up saying, “He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:6-7
c. A little lower than the angels, yet crowned with glory and honor.
i. We know our place compared to angels (at least at this time)
Yet we are crowned with glory and honor – we are the creatures, the ONLY
creatures that have a hope when this life is over. Some glory now, more to come
in heaven – Romans 2:7
Isn’t it interesting that God turned to insignificant man to accomplish His purposes. While He is so great, He needs us (i.e. Mark 16:15, etc.)
d. Note in this verse that when Jesus came to earth, He was a man – which is the way the Hebrew (2:6-7) intended for it to be understood. In this we know that He understands us – Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 2:17-18
V. Man’s Place In The World (6-8)
a. Man has dominion over creation. He is in charge and responsible for this world.
b. When Adam was created and placed in the Garden of Eden, God gave him responsibility to tend to it – Genesis 2:15. Ever since then, it is up to man to take care of this world.
c. There are many, who are ungodly, that want to change this – some teach man is just another creature and we don’t have dominion (Animal rights) and others believe that man should not use this world to the degree that he does (environmentalists), not out of respect for God but in denial of Him.
d. Whether they like it or not, GOD PUT MAN IN CHARGE! And as stewards, we DO need to take care of the earth but understand that its resources are here FOR us – Genesis 1:26, 28; 9:2 (after the flood), “they are given into your hand”
e. But ultimate dominion belongs to Jesus – Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:27 as He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.
David concludes (vs.9) repeating vs. 1. How excellent in the name of God. Remember this is a song that was sung in worship. Much like the chorus in our songs, many psalms had repetition. The thing to note about this repetition is that it IS the theme of the song.
As David considered his place in God’s plan, truly he was humbled. As we look at the wonders of creation, are we humbled and will we bow before our great God and creator? Paul said that one day we will ALL bow before Him, the question is whether or not it will be too late when we do (Philippians 2:10-11). Reverence God by obeying Him.