Tuesday, March 12, 2024

2024.03.12 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 115:1–8

Read Psalm 115:1–8

Questions from the from the Scripture text: How does Psalm 115:1a emphasize the point that it’s making? To what does the psalmist desire that the glory would go instead (verse 1b)? For what two attributes of His (verse 1c–d)? What are the nations currently saying—to which this glory would put a stop (Psalm 115:2)? Why are they wrong to say this—where is God (Psalm 115:3a)? What does He do (verse 3b)? How do their trust and hope and purpose compare (Psalm 115:4)? By what basic inabilities do Psalm 115:4-7 make this point? Who are just as bad off as these idols (Psalm 115:8)? 

Why are believers brought low? Psalm 115:1–8 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these eight verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that when believers are brought low, it is for the glory of God. 

The occasion for this psalm is that God’s people have been brought low enough that the nations are saying, “where is their God?” (Psalm 115:2). What a happy question this is! Whether it is others asking it, or even doubt creeping into our own hearts and asking it, the answer snaps us right back to ultimate reality: “Our God is in heaven” (Psalm 115:3a)! And verse 3b goes on to ask the next question: then what is He doing, in the midst of our low times? Answer: “whatever He pleases!” He is good and wise, so He is doing that good and wise thing that pleases Him. 

Men then (and now!) tended to think that what you could see and hear and smell and touch is more real than the invisible and spiritual. But nothing could be further than the truth. The nations could see their idols, but that just meant that their idols were creatures—and utterly powerless ones at that. The sing-songy nature of Psalm 115:4-7 rightly mocks them. And Psalm 115:8 puts the nail in the coffin: those who do not perceive the living God are just as pointless in their knowledge and powerless in their actions as their idols are. The Creator, Who is the original knower and communicator and actor, is invisible! Visible things only have these characteristics because He has given them to us. 

So, when the God Who has bound Himself to us in covenant love (Psalm 115:1c) and covenant faithfulness (verse 1d) brings us low, let us remember why: it is for His glory. He will surely glorify Himself by helping us and blessing us (Psalm 115:9-18, next week). So when we are brought low, let our minds be conformed to His in Psalm 115. And, in the same spirit as the first three petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, let our hearts cry out in prayer and song, “Not unto us, O YHWH, not unto us, but to Your Name give glory”!

What (Who!) is most real? Who is the most powerful? Whom must all knowledge “know” and all actions serve?

Sample prayer:  Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your Name give glory. Glorify Your covenant love! Glorify Your covenant faithfulness! We praise You, O God of heaven, Who do whatever You please. You are good and wise and righteous. Whatever You are pleased to do is good and wise and right. You know all things, see all things, and hear all things. You uphold all things by Your almighty hand. There is no true knowledge apart from You. There is no true ability except in dependence upon You. So, come and help us in our worshiping You, and be glorified in that worship, we ask, through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP115A “Not unto Us, LORD” or TPH115A “Not to Us, LORD, Not to Us”

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