"The LORD is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people. Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy."
“The LORD is great in Zion;”
He has shown Himself to be great among His people, His Children of Israel. The LORD has done things for them that He has not done for any others. He especially showed His greatness to them through the Passover, as He brought them out of Egypt, a seemingly impossible task because of the Pharaoh that was on the throne. Israel’s transition into the Promised Land is another time God showed them His greatness in ways He has not shown any other people. Surely, “the LORD is great in Zion.”
“And he is high above all the people.”
Yes, Jehovah is “high above all the people,” His own people, and all people in the earth. Every people group and all the nations (the Gentiles) are under His control. He is the sovereign ruler. Rejoice that such a God is ruling!
“Let them praise thy great and terrible name;”
All of His names are great. Each of His names describes some part of His holy character. Each one teaches us an important truth about Him. The word “terrible” has to do with the fact that we are expected to show great reverence or deep respect for His name. In today’s verses, it is the name Jehovah that the psalmist is speaking of.
“…Stand up and bless the LORD [Jehovah] your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise,” (Nehemiah 9:5b).
“O LORD [Jehovah] our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens,” (Psalm 8:1).
“Let them praise the name of the LORD [Jehovah]: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven,” (Psalm 148:13).
And why do we have such deep respect for God’s name?
“For it is holy.”
The name of Jehovah is “holy.”
“The fact that God “is” holy – that he is pure and righteous – that he cannot look upon sin but with abhorrence – is a just foundation for universal praise. Who could worship or honor a God who was not pure and holy?”1
Be careful how you use God’s names!
1. Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.