Divine Majesty and Human Dignity

Jeff Munroe

Read: Psalm 8

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (v. 1)

Im breaking, in this final “beautiful passage,” from the King James Version’s translation of verse 1. I prefer the word “majestic,” used by the ESV, over the KJV’s “excellent.” “How majestic is your name” rolls off the tongue beautifully. The Psalms, as I’m sure you know, were originally sung, and we sing Psalm 8 still, because the words are both beautiful and true.

As I write these devotionals, I have five different Bible translations in front of me. One of the Bibles I’m looking at includes this title for Psalm 8: “Divine Majesty and Human Dignity.” That gets it exactly right. David explores God’s majesty through the wonders of creation and then poignantly asks, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” (v. 4 NRSV). Human dignity is not our own achievement: it comes as a direct result of God’s action.

The KJV has an alternative translation of verse 4; instead of “care for” (which is a lovely thought), it says “visitest.” God has visited us, in the person of Jesus Christ, a visitor sent to make all things right. Psalm 8, like every beautiful passage we’ve explored over the past two weeks, sings in glorious language about God and our relationship to God. Amen and Amen. —Jeff Munroe

As you pray, thank God for the beauty of Scripture, and ask that these words be much more to us than simply beautiful words.