A Season of Psalms - Psalm 115:1-4, 8
Psalm 115:1-4, 8
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands…Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
Former NYC pastor Tim Keller wrote a book entitled “Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters,” which is an insightful discussion of modern-day idolatry. Keller defines a counterfeit god as that which is “so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.” We all have idols, counterfeit gods that we cling to. Without them, our lives would fall apart. It may not be money, sex, or power, but what about your smartphone? Facebook? Your family? Your job? To what do you give deference?
This notion of misplaced glory is at the heart of Psalm 115. The psalmist calls for Israel to place their trust not in the idols of the day, but in the Lord alone, for only He can save. He alone is Israel’s help and shield. Why praise idols that offer nothing in return when one can praise the living God Who offers everything we’ll ever need? Notice verses 12-18: God remembers His people, blessing them with increase and abundant days to bless the Lord. Idols don’t offer this; in fact, idols never fail…to fail. Verse 8: “Those who make them will become like them; so do all who trust in them.” Idols are useless and worthless, and all who depend on them and even find their identities in them, will be put to shame when their idols disappoint them in the end.
Trevin Wax: “The good news is that there is good news. The counterfeit gods are mere parodies of the one true God who has come to conquer our idols and restore us to Himself.” Our hearts are idol-making factories, as John Calvin said, but with Christ in us we offer glory to God alone, the Maker of heaven and earth, for the sake of His steadfast love and His great faithfulness. He won’t share His glory with another. It’s His alone! “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory!”
Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 8:1-6, 10:14-22; 1 John 5:18-21
Pray with me:
Father, give us clean hands. Give us pure hearts. Let us not lift our souls to another. In the name of Christ our King we pray, Amen.