PSALM 115 - Where is your God?
Psalms 113 - 118 were sung annually during Passover. It is thought that Psalms 115 - 118 were utilized during the Seder (the Passover meal) itself, and therefore, were probably sung by the Lord and His disciples during the Last Supper.
     Psalm 115 speaks of separation: unto God, from the idols of the world. It served as a call to worship in preparation for the Feast, by reminding God's people to put away the leaven of worldly distractions and false gods, to focus their hearts upon the true and living God and His purposes.
1. Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
but unto thy name give glory,
for thy mercy, [and] for thy truth's sake.
2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where [is] now their God?
3 But our God [is] in the heavens:
he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
...unto Thy Name give glory {ie., honor}, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
The LORD alone is worthy of worship, for who He is, and for what He does. Mercy and Truth are aspects of His character, but they also characterize His actions.
  • His Mercy has been and will be extended to the people of Israel.
    Mercy withholds judgment that is deserved.
    Though they repeatedly rebelled against Him, He brought them through the wilderness into the promised land (Eze 20:13,14), and He will bring them back from dispersion to their restoration in the future Messianic Kingdom (Eze 36:32).
  • His Truth remains unchanged in spite of their failures and false prophets. Jer 23:29
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give glory...
He is Faithful and Just. But His people have been unfaithful and untrue to Him.
Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
Israel was to be God's own peculiar people, through whom He would be revealed to the nations. But, when the LORD had to judge Israel for their sins (eg., through various calamities and captivities), the Gentile nations thought themselves to be superior to Israel's God. Yet, both in judgment and in restoration, He acts for His Name's sake. eg., Deu 32:26,27; 2Kin 19:10-19; Joel 2:17 (regarding the future Day of the LORD); Eze 36:32-38 (regarding the future Messianic Kingdom)
But our God is in the heavens...-
His authority and power supersedes that of all contenders. Deu 4:39; 10:14; Psa 2:4; 123:1
...He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.-
His counsels stand. His purposes cannot be thwarted. Isa 46:10; Dan 4:35; Eph 1:11
Those who trust in Him will not be disappointed, even though they may be mocked and persecuted by unbelievers who temporarily have the upper hand.
     During Israel's captivities, their captors mocked them ('Where is now your God?'). The God of Israel appeared to be powerless against their superior forces. But the LORD was waiting for His people to desire Him above 'the pleasures of Egypt.' Because His people became infatuated with false gods, and turned away from Him, the LORD allowed their affliction to show them their error.
     Christians, today, are susceptible to the same error. The glamor of the godless world is alluring. But our God is in the heavens. As we wait for His return, we must submit to His authority, rejoice in His mercy, and live according to His Truth. If we do, the watching world may see the superiority of our God, compared to the things in which they trust.
4 Their idols [are] silver and gold,
the work of men's hands.
5 They have mouths, but they speak not:
eyes have they, but they see not:
6 They have ears, but they hear not:
noses have they, but they smell not:
7 They have hands, but they handle not:
feet have they, but they walk not:
neither speak they through their throat.
8 They that make them are like unto them;
[so is] every one that trusteth in them.
Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands.-
Silver and gold often represent money and economic wealth. Today, many worship the 'almighty dollar' as their idol. Mat 6:24 ('mammon' is 'wealth personified'); 1Tim 6:9
     However, the idols in view, in these verses, are "the work of men's hands." Skilled craftsmen designed and constructed images, in the likeness of men or animals, from materials including gold, silver, wood or stone. After making these 'gods', they bowed before them in worship. The foolishness, of worshipping a god that you have fabricated, should be obvious (Isa 40:19,20; 44:14-18).
     At first glance this psalm seems out of date. In our sophisticated scientific society, most of us no longer pray to golden statues on god shelves. But our modern idols are still...
  • the work of men's hands - technology, manufacturing, material goods...
  • of silver and gold - not only as money, but also in the components of our electronic wonders.
Contrast the idols of antiquity with the idols of today's technology.
They have mouths but speak not...Our idols speak with synthesized voices.
eyes have they, but they see not...Our idols see with cameras, infrared and ultraviolet detectors.
they have ears, but they hear not...Our idols not only hear via microphones, but respond to our voices (eg., Alexa).
noses have they, but they smell not...Our technology includes particle and gas detectors which are far more sensitive than any human nose.
They have hands, but they handle not...Today's robots are more efficient than humans, in many tasks.
feet have they, but they walk not...Some of our idols can transport themselves, on feet, wheels or wings, and do so autonomously.
neither speak they through their throat.Today's sophisticated voice synthesis can emulate throat action, providing accurate inflections and accents in multiple languages.
Today's technological idols appear to be alive, and are increasingly endowed with artificial intelligence. These lifelike capabilities will contribute to the great deception of the Tribulation period (Rev 13:15).
They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.-
The idols of antiquity were dead, no matter how much they looked like the human form. Early computers were not able to understand the words they processed. Today's technology may appear to be alive, and capable of intelligent analysis and interaction. But that appearance masks the fact that it is really dead and dumb, the work of man's hands.
     Men. who worship their own creations, are like them...
  • without understanding of the reason for their being, and without recognition of their Creator and His purposes (Isa 40:21-31; Jer 5:21,22; Mat 13:15). This lack of understanding is willful and inexcusable, because the Creator has revealed Himself to all men (Rom 1:19-23).
  • dead...-
    • having no life in themselves.- Your life was given to you by God (Acts 17:24,25). But your physical life is of limited duration (Psa 90:10; 49:6-10; Heb 9:27; Luk 12:5).
    • disconnected from the Source of Life, through our own rebellion against Him.-
      Physically living men, who are spiritually dead, can neither comprehend nor comply with God's Word, until they are 'quickened' {ie., made alive} through faith in Christ (Eph 2:1-9).
Men who trust in technology, wealth, or any other earthly idol, are trusting in a false god that cannot deliver anyone from the final enemy. Only the living God can give eternal Life. Only He can enable you to understand His wisdom.
     This does not mean that a Christian cannot make use of today's technology. The apostle Paul saw nothing wrong with eating meat that had been offered to idols, because he knew that the idols were nothing but the work of men's hands. So, Christians can benefit from the proper use of technology. Without computer technology, you would not be reading this study. Yet, the same technology distracts many believers from God's Word, as they spend their time on social media.
     The world puts tremendous trust in technology. Business and banking, transportation and communication, government and the military... all are dependent upon computers, the internet, and similar systems. Yet, everything that man makes is subject to failure, and vulnerable to the malicious work of other men.
9. O Israel, trust thou in the LORD:
he [is] their help and their shield.
10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD:
he [is] their help and their shield.
11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD:
he [is] their help and their shield. in the LORD...-
This admonition is repeated three times. It must be important.
It is directed to Israel (the chosen nation), to the house of Aaron (the priests of Israel), and to all who fear the LORD (this would include Gentiles who have come to faith in the God of Israel).
     Why is this admonition so emphatic, and so directed? Because there is a real danger that God's people will worship and serve the work of men's hands, which appears to live and is dead... rather than He "that lives, and was dead, [and is] alive for evermore" (Rev 1:18).
...the LORD: He is their help and their shield.-
Three reasons to trust Him are included in this statement (also repeated three times).
  1. He is...- His Name, the LORD (ie., Jehovah), is rooted in the verb 'to be'.
    He is the eternally existent One. Ex 3:14; Rev 1:4,8
  2. their help...- Psa 121:2; Hos 13:9
    It is He who delivers and strengthens His people (Psa 33:20-22).
  3. their shield...- Gen 15:1; Deu 33:29
    He places Himself between His people and their enemies.
    How different He is, from the false confidences of the unbelieving world!
To these reasons to "trust in the LORD," more are added in the following verses.
12 The LORD hath been mindful of us:
he will bless [us];
he will bless the house of Israel;
he will bless the house of Aaron.
13 He will bless them that fear the LORD,
[both] small and great.
14 The LORD shall increase you more and more,
you and your children.
The LORD hath been mindful of us...- He knows the need of His people.
The mindless idols can neither understand nor remedy the ills of their worshippers.
But the LORD is 'mindful' of {HB=zakar, thinks upon, remembers} us. See how this word is used in Gen 8:1; Ex 2:23-25; Psa 98:3; 103:14; 105:8,42.
Although we do not deserve His attention (Psa 8:4), He remembers both our need and His promises. He fulfills His promises to those who trust in Him.
...He will bless us...-
'Us' includes all who trust in the LORD (ie., Israel, her priests, and all that fear the LORD, cp. v.9-11).
The fourfold repetition of the phrase "He will bless..." reflects the abundance of the benefits which He bestows upon His own. But this abundance is only the beginning...
The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
That is, to His already abundant blessings, He will add more and more. Psa 68:19; 103:2-6
The LORD's blessings extend to believing children. Psa 145:4
15 Ye [are] blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.
16 The heaven, [even] the heavens, [are] the LORD'S:
but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. cp. Gen 14:19
God 'blesses' by showing favor toward His own, in accord with His ability.
     Isaac's blessing, of Jacob and Esau, conveyed an inheritance to them, according to his physical means and his spiritual understanding.
     The world's idols, being the work of man's hands, can offer no inheritance beyond what is already in man's hands. Their bright promises, of peace and prosperity, must soon disappoint as they dim in obsolescence.
     But the LORD, the Creator of all, blesses His own with "an inheritance incorruptible... that fades not away" (1Pet 1:4). This inheritance belongs to those who trust in the "heir of all things" who came from heaven to earth, to purchase our salvation. Eph 1:3,4; Heb 1:1-3
...the heavens, are the LORD's: but the earth hath He given to the children of men.
The LORD graciously bestows earthly blessings, upon both good and evil men, including idol worshippers (Mat 5:45; Acts 14:17; 17:24-27).
     Those who find the true God, are raised to a heavenly citizenship. Where is your God? Where is your citizenship? Php 3:20,21
17 The dead praise not the LORD,
neither any that go down into silence.
18 But we will bless the LORD
from this time forth and for evermore.
Praise the LORD.
The dead praise not the LORD...
The spiritually dead serve and praise their false gods.
Their tongues will be silent in the grave.
But we will bless the LORD...
We, who have been made alive through faith in Christ, will praise Him forever. For, in Him, we have eternal life and an inheritance incorruptible. It is all His doing. cp. v.1; Rom 11:33-36

This Concludes the study in Psalm 115.
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