This Psalm was clearly composed by David, whilst he was on a mountain top in terms of his experience with God. His heart is full of God and his pen explodes with poetry as he seeks to describe the majesty , the awesomeness and the greatness of God . The Psalms are poetry . Have you ever wondered why ? Eugene Peterson has helped me here : “Poetry is original speech” . “The poet is the person who uses words not primarily to convey information but to make a relationship, shape beauty , form truth” “ It is significant that the biblical prophets and psalmists were all poets.”  Poetry is language that is highly condensed and crammed with meaning . It is language pondered over and prayed over and then put to pen .
The majesty of God ! That is David’s experience here , and it happened while his soul was enraptured by something that he had seen of God . This sort of experience is not uncommon in the Scriptures : Abraham , Moses, Isaac , Isaiah and other prophets , Peter James and John saw the glory of God ( Matt 17:1-9) . The apostle Paul had experiences with God – some that were unspeakable - he could not talk about them ( 2 Cor 12:1-4). There can be no doubt that in Paul’s many and difficult experiences , the vision of the majesty of God must have sustained him at many times . How else could he have remained so joyful in a jail in Philippi ?
The apostle John (who had been with his brother James and with Peter on the Mount of Jesus’ Transfiguration) also tells us of an experience where he was “ in the Spirit” on the Lord’s day ( Rev 1:10) and where he saw unspeakable things – and the result is the book of the Revelation of John . Revelation really employs strongly ‘poetic language’ . Eugene Peterson thinks that the Revelation is a poem, " the one great poem which the first Christian age produced." ( Eugene Peterson : Reversed Thunder: p. 5)
I believe that God gives such visions of Himself in varying strengths to His servants to sustain them in difficult times in their ministries . I can only speak for myself at this point . I was radically converted in June 1978 , when during the course of a University Mission a sermon strongly spoke to me . At once I saw God for who He was . My life was radically changed . That, for me was a foundational experience , and I needed that , for God knew what He had in store ahead for me . I also remember the time , when in August 1989 Eastside Baptist Church had called me to be their pastor, I was engaged in prayer, seeking God’s face as to whether I should accept the call or not . His majestic hand was heavy upon me then , and I remember being very afraid , and the Lord spoke to me through the Scriptures and made me aware of the fact that I would have to suffer many things for His sake. I am so glad that the Lord had showed me this then , and this ' vision' has helped me at various times when the going got tough.
Why is the experience of the majesty of God something which we should seek ?
John Piper has written an excellent book entitled , “The Supremacy of God in Preaching . His thesis is this : “The majesty of God is an unknown cure for troubled lives. I quote :
"People are starving for the greatness of God, but most of them would not give this diagnosis of their troubled lives. The majesty of God is the unknown cure. There are far more popular prescriptions on the market, but the benefit of any other remedy is brief and shallow. It does not matter if surveys turn up with a list of perceived needs that does not include the supreme greatness of the sovereign God of grace." This is the deepest need: our people are starving for God. [...]
Most often God is pleased to show us His majesty by the plain reading of Scripture , and through personal study and hearing the Word of God preached .
....And so we turn to the 8th Psalm :
It is attributed to David. We are not quite sure what the background or occasion to this Psalm might be . It is also entitled : “according to Gittith” . Nobody is quite sure what that means, but it is probably a reference to some musical term. The same term is found in Psalms 81 & 84. All of these psalms share one thing in common – they are all Psalms of adoration and praise to the Lord!
“O Lord our Lord…” The Hebrew uses two words (a) Yahweh, the proper name of the Lord God of Israel and (b) Adonai ( lit. “Lord” ) used to describe the bearer’s position and authority. The eternal “I am that I am” ( the eternal and uncreated God; all powerful , all knowing ; all seeing) is our Lord (Master). He is at once, the transcendent and the immanent God .
“How majestic (excellent) is your name in all the earth…” . The “Name” means far more than by what we mean when we name our children . In Hebrew , a name reflects a person’s attributes, qualities and excellencies. God’s name describes who He is i.e. in this instance He is the eternal God who is also our personal Lord! That is who He is!
In all the earth !
No name is so universal ; no name has such power, and no name such influence as the Name of our God. His Name has been praised ever since man was created with the breath of God in him . Even after the fall , when man’s spirit died within him , and when man no longer was able to see clearly , or to perceive and desire God , God had not removed the longing , after Himself . There remains a God shaped vacuum in all of us , "and we are restless until our hearts are found in Him" (Augustine of Hippo : Confessions ) .
“You have set your glory above the heavens…! Not “in” , but “above!”… His Name is even greater, and much beyond and infinitely higher than the heavens. Who can fathom the size of the Universe ? Who can understand its limits ? Who can conceive of an end to the heavens ? ( see Job) No one ! And yet that will be the place where we will be one day This God is our God!
“Out of the mouths of babies and infants you have established strength (NIV you have ordained praise…” ) Not only in the highest heavens above , but in the humblest quarters of the earth below (i. e. amongst children and infants) the name of the Lord our God is praised. Spurgeon says : “How often will children tell us of a God whom we have forgotten. How often does not their simple language about God refute those learned fools who deny the being of God!”
What a contrast between the glory that reflected in the created heavens ( Psalm 19:1) and the glory that the humble lips of children and infants express , and yet by both the name of God is equally powerfully exalted .
It is this which silences the enemy of God, the foe and the avenger!”
Evil men can do what they will. Our God is still praised by the highest and lowest of all beings! God has established this principle , and , my brothers and sisters , even if we should fail to praise God with our mouths , God will cause the stones to cry out in praise of His Name ! (Lk 19: 40)
WHAT IS MAN THAT THIS GOD SHOULD BE SO CARING TOWARDS HIM?
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,…”
A survey of the solar system has the tendency to humble us. Pride is one of the chief traits of our human sinfulness. We think that the world rotates around us – at least that is how we often act. That is why we have quarrels, strife ,wars etc. What man is in reality, is quite sobering : we are frail , fallible and feeble. (See 1 Peter 1:24 ; cf Isa 40: 6 – 8).
In comparison to the earth we are like a little grain of sand on the beach, and in relation to the Universe, our earth is nothing! But the Lord our God cares for this earth, and He cares for us!
“What is man that you are mindful of Him…” . In the course of the next few verses David expounds the reasons why God even regards man . God regards man because man is one of His created beings. He is the choicest of God’s created beings , because men are made in His image ( Gen 1:27) . And does not God make all things well? Should not God think highly of that which He made?
“He made Him…”
(a) a little lower than the angels , but still glorious (as is true of all His creation). This fact also reminds us that man is not everything in this universe – i. e. this should humble us.
(b) God made man to exercise dominion over His creation (vv 5 – 8 - see Gen 1:28) . God permits and commands man to share His attribute of kingship , ruler-ship and dominion in a delegated way . This world must be subdued for the glory of the Great King . The order which mankind brings into this creation brings praise to God and truly glorifies Him . Conversely , to allow things to run into disorder dishonours God and this detracts from the testimony of His majesty .
This is our God; my God ; your God; the great and awesome God; the majestic God ; the God who speaks through infants ; and who speaks from the highest heavens. This is the God who is mindful of us, and cares for us. This is the God who esteems us , and trusts us to take care of His creation. This God deserves our praise, our love and devotion.
This God ought to be feared alone! This God alone is our refuge and strength , for He is in total control , for He is the God (without beginning or end) our Lord- our Master!
When you are captured by such a vision of God’s majesty , it is unlikely that you will ever be in search of idol !