Tuesday, May 18

Reader: “Not to us, O Lord, not to us,”

Response: “but to your name goes all the glory.“

Scripture:  Psalm 115   

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,

    but to your name goes all the glory

    for your unfailing love and faithfulness.

Why let the nations say,

    “Where is their God?”

Our God is in the heavens,

    and he does as he wishes.

Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,

    shaped by human hands.

They have mouths but cannot speak,

    and eyes but cannot see.

They have ears but cannot hear,

    and noses but cannot smell.

 They have hands but cannot feel,

    and feet but cannot walk,

    and throats but cannot make a sound.

And those who make idols are just like them,

    as are all who trust in them.

O Israel, trust the Lord!

    He is your helper and your shield.

 O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the Lord!

    He is your helper and your shield.

 All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord!

    He is your helper and your shield.

The Lord remembers us and will bless us.

    He will bless the people of Israel

    and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.

    He will bless those who fear the Lord,

    both great and lowly.

May the Lord richly bless

    both you and your children.

May you be blessed by the Lord,

    who made heaven and earth.

The heavens belong to the Lord,

    but he has given the earth to all humanity.

The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord,

    for they have gone into the silence of the grave.

But we can praise the Lord

    both now and forever!

Praise the Lord!

Reader: “The word of the Lord.”

Response: “Thanks be to God.”

Some thoughts:    

I find this psalm most insightful and appropriate for the days in which we live. For it directly addresses some of the assumptions our societies embrace. The writer states up front his allegiance to and acknowledgment of the Lord’s glory. Life is about God’s faithfulness and unfailing love. For the believer that is the starting and ending place. God is central. There is nothing else in the category of God. He is in heaven and he does whatever he wishes. He is sovereign. He has all authority. He works out his own plans in his time and in his way. To God be all glory.

But our world is on a very different course. It would be fair to say there is no concern about giving glory to God, quite the contrary. In truth we find the world culture embracing this next section of the psalm, the part about the idols. The idols described are all human productions. The trust is placed in what the humans have made. There are beautiful expensive man-made things that are worshiped, multiple homes, boats, cars, and wealth. People wax eloquently about their viewpoints on various problems but have no wisdom and cannot see the real core problem― man’s wicked sinful heart. In attempting to solve political issues, people don’t listen, they have ears, but can’t hear. 

For example, how often have we heard, “Trust the science!” The modern day setting of this psalm would read: “Not to God, not to God, but to science goes all the glory.” But science is not God. It is not infallible nor always accurate. It contains human elements. It has no power yet our world bows down as to a god.

The psalmist continues with “Israel, trust the Lord.” He is saying, “Believer, trust the Lord,” he is your shield and helper. Make sure he is where all your confidence resides. He blesses those who fear him. The ultimate solutions are not produced by humans for at the core, the human heart is the problem. So not to us Lord, but to your name be all the glory! Friends, in our days when there is so much quiet fear by those around us, our confidence is in our God who is in the heavens and does as he wishes. Rest in him.

Music: “Not to Us O Lord”      the Imperials


Grant me, O most loving Lord, to rest in Thee above all creatures, above all health and beauty, above all glory and honor, above all power and dignity, above all knowledge and subtlety, above all riches and art, above all fame and praise, above all sweetness and comfort, above all hope and promise, above all gifts and favors, above all jubilee that the mind of man can receive and feel; finally, above angels and archangels, above all things visible and invisible, and above all that Thou art not, O my God. To Thy name be all the glory. Amen.

―Thomas a Kempis (1380-1471), The Quiet Corner, p.6