Reading the Word
Psalm 115:1–8 (ESV)
1 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.
Understanding and Applying the Word
When the Lord acts to save his people, he alone deserves the glory. That is what the psalmist is saying in these verses. The people of Israel were often attacked by surrounding nations. Those nations were devoted to other gods; gods that were just idols made by the hands of men. Yet, when those nations were successful in their oppression of Israel, it made it seem as if their gods were stronger than the God of Israel. So, this psalm calls out for God to glorify his name, not Israel, by defeating the enemies.
When we enter into the Christian worldview, we come to understand that there is a grand story that we are a part of. That story is the story of God and he is the hero. All that takes place in our lives is not ultimately about us, but about him. It is to bring him glory. This is why the Westminster Shorter Catechism states, “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Not to us, O Lord, but to your name give glory!
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