Psalm 115

May 30, 2024

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Point: 

Skeptics may question the existence of God, but their gods are powerless while our God is infinitely worthy to be trusted. 

How do we feel in the recitation of this Psalm? 

When unbelieving skeptics mock at our faith in an immaterial, supernatural God, we challenge the fool in his folly by turning the spotlight back on his unimpressive gods.  If God is the Source of absolute truth, and if He is supposed to control reality, then the gods of the heathen are pretty worthless.  It is correct to spite these treacherous competitors with the Almighty! In the “advanced” age of scientific materialism, most people don’t attribute a whole lot of power to the Sun-god anymore. After all, it is just a huge fusion reactor in the sky to the modern mind. Instead, man worships himself, his scientific abilities, and the power of the state. But what an unimpressive god he turns out to be!  He uses his science to destroy himself. His great politicians always turn out to be huge disappointments, and his philosophers finally admit that there is no possibility of knowing anything with certainty.  Go ahead, mock at these gods! Then, give all the glory to the true and living God who made heaven and earth. 

What does this Psalm say? 

Verse 1. 

“Not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory!” This is the cry of every sanctified heart,  the cry of those who have seen the vanity of human pride everywhere and they are sick of it.  They have seen the glory of man at political rallies, in the news accounts, at music concerts, and even in their own homes and churches, and they cannot stand it any longer.  So they break out in cries of heart-filled conviction, “Not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory!”

What is there to be proud about? Left to ourselves, our lives would be nothing but treachery, deceit, depression, ultimate failure, and death.  That’s not much to “write home about.”  Whatever special gifts we employ,  whatever good deeds we produce, are all things that we have received from God.  As long as we live in these mortal bodies our gifts are temporary, on loan from God for the time being.  Olympians will contract arthritis in their joints, great intellects and rhetoricians come down with Alzheimer’s disease, and rich men will be consumed by worms.  God is a million times more worthy of praise than any of us. Suffice it to say, there is too much praise of men going around and not enough praise for God in our churches. The Psalmist reminds us of His mercy and truth, without which we would be blind, lost, dead, and gone forever. 

Verses 2-8.  

The skeptics cannot believe in a God whom they cannot see.  This is because a god who can be seen is contained by the material world, that he supposedly created!  In the college classrooms and in the media, unbelievers will taunt. They mock, they utter blasphemies, “How can we believe in someone whom we do not see?” Besides, the Christian influence has seriously waned and is soon to disappear, according to men like Charles Darwin, John Dewey, and John Lennon.  “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink,” the Beatles front man said in 1966.  From all reports, including a recent Newsweek front page article entitled “The End of Christian America,” their prognostications have a ring of truth to them.  They set out to dance on the grave of the old Christian order and the influence of Jesus Christ in the western world.  “So where is your God, and this Jesus you say is ruling on the right hand of the Father?”, they ask.  The answer comes in verse three,  “Our God is in the heavens, and He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased.”  Apparently, it is His will that hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans apostatize from the faith and question the existence of God.  He is pleased that they will treasure up wrath unto the day of wrath, and He is pleased to save His elect with a mighty deliverance.  He is pleased to bring hurricanes that destroy hundreds of thousands of people at a time, and He is pleased to convert millions of Chinese, while Americans are turning away from the faith.  

All of the other gods created by men, including man himself, cannot do whatever they would like to do.  Notwithstanding the pitiful statements made by those who assembled the Humanist Manifesto, man does not have it in himself to “achieve the world of his dreams.”  This is utterly ridiculous.  The next asteroid that swings through our solar system could wipe out every man on earth along with all of their stupid dreams.  If God is the supreme Sovereign over reality, then our God is the only God worthy of the title! Incredibly, men still worship silver and gold, and well-endowed bank accounts loaded with “federal reserve notes” backed by the “full faith and credit of the United States government.”  After moth and rust corrupt, and governments hyper-inflate the currencies, their wealth vanishes overnight!  What kind of a god is here for you today and gone tomorrow?  Let us join the Psalmist in mocking these absurd little gods created by men.  Eventually, idolatrous men begin to act like the heathen idols that can neither speak, hear, smell, nor walk.  They turn into senseless, blind, and deceived idiots;  they place their trust in the wrong god.  They cling to a deflated lifeboat all the way to awatery grave.

Verses 9-11. 

This is where the exhortation to faith comes out loud and clear.  Three times, the Psalmist repeats the same phrase, “Trust in the Lord: He is their help and their shield.” The repetition suggests an insistence, a pleading, desperate appeal to place faith in God. As opposed to the inferior, useless gods of the heathen, our God is worthy of our trust.  If He made heaven and earth, and He does His sovereign will among the armies of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth, then He is to be trusted. Not only does He save us from our sins, but He shields us from the attacks of the evil one all the way to the end of our heavenly journey.  To not trust Him is to be destroyed.  That is how serious a matter it is to trust in God.  

The Psalmist extends the appeal beyond the house of Israel to anyone who fears God. Given that the beginning of knowledge is the fear of God, then this godly fear is a prerequisite to true faith.  Faith is not the same as fear.  Upon the recognition of God’s existence, power, and sovereignty, man must respond to God in fear and reverence. Until a man fears the true and living God, he has nothing much to believe in. If God is not all-powerful and sovereign over everything, then what is His salvation worth?  Why should we trust in somebody who does not have what it takes to save us from the devil, sin, our own weaknesses, and death? Indeed, God is worthy to be feared, and therefore, He is worthy to be trusted. 

Verses 12-15. 

Faith in God includes a deep and abiding confidence in His blessing. The Psalmist promises God’s blessings seven times in these four verses. If we fear God in truth and sincerity and we trust in Him as His children, then of course He will bless us. These promises are directed more so to the Christian family (verse 14). When a father and a mother fear the Lord, they can expect His blessings for their children as well. Where there is no blessing through the generations, the only conclusion that may be drawn is that somewhere there must have been some father who hated God and did not love Him and keep His commandments (Exod. 20:5). Therefore, if a father desires the increase of blessing for his sons and daughters, he needs to be about the business of fearing God. 

Verses 16-18. 

Verse 16 puts us in our place in this very big universe.  All of it belongs to Yahweh and He is over it all.  Our earth is only a miniscule pin-prick in the Milky Way galaxy, but God manages every one of those trillions of fusion reactors in the heavens.  Whether it be the storms that rage on Jupiter, the travel patterns of millions of flaming asteroids, meteor showers, collapsing stars, or event horizons, God administers every single detail of His universe. Meantime, He gives us this tiny globe in which we are responsible to take dominion, according to the rules that God has laid out for us in His Word.  Passages like this dismiss the possibility of extraterrestrial life anywhere else in the universe.  There is only one earth and one special creation provided with the mental abilities to serve as a vice-regent of God - to rule nature as God would have us rule it. In God’s plan, the earth was made for man and not the other way around.  These fundamental truths destroy the myths of pantheism and environmentalism that are popular in our day. 

The Psalm closes off with a resounding statement of faith in the final resurrection. If God has created us for the purpose of praise, why should He wish to extinguish this praise? The logic is sound.  How will we bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore if we will die and cease to give God praise in the grave?  For any who are weak in faith concerning final resurrection, this should offer great hope.  As long as you are giving God the praise for His power, goodness, and salvation, you need not fear death, ever!

How do we apply this Psalm to our lives? 

Under normal conditions, we should expect generational blessings for our children and grandchildren, being raised in godly homes by parents who fear God and respect His commandments.  The problem with the modern church is that fathers do not fear God enough to teach their children the commandments of God.  We live in an age of apostasy, and wherever children apostatize, it is highly probable that fathers will do the same thing.  Purportedly, Ernest Hemingway was raised in a household that read the Bible, attended church, and spoke of Jesus.  It was a surprise to his parents when Ernest left the church at eighteen years of age, but he may have been following in the footsteps of his father, who would commit suicide later in life. Later, Hemingway did the same thing. 

We can be confident that God will “bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great, both you and your children.” It is not for us to doubt but to fear God and trust in His salvation. 

How does this Psalm teach us to worship God? 

1. As you walk into the assembly of the church, say to yourself, “I am here to praise God.  I am here to recount His greatness and goodness.  I must worship God today or I must die.” This is the purpose for which we are made. 

2. Occasionally, a little mockery toward false gods in the worship service is in order.  The goal, of course, is to strengthen the faith of believers in the true and living God, and to discourage them from following after the gods that promise but never deliver. 


1. How does our God compare to the gods of the heathen? 

2. What is the prerequisite to true faith?  How is faith different from this prerequisite? 

3. What has God given to man, and what does He hold back for Himself? 

4. How does God bless the man that fears Him? 

5. Give several examples of Faith Psalms. 

Family Discussion Questions: 

1. What are the sorts of gods that people idolize in our present day? Are we ever drawn to these gods ourselves? 

2. If God has created earth for men, does He expect men to do space mining and space exploration for the purpose of dominion? 

3. What are some of the ways in which we seek our own glory instead of God’s glory?