Jehovah in Contrast with Idols
Jehovah in Contrast with Idols
Psalm 115. In this Psalm we have the confession of restored Israel concerning their renewed faith in Jehovah. They contrast their confidence in Jehovah with those who trust in idols. Prophetically, this Psalm suits the restored nation in general, but especially the returning ten tribes who will make a clean break with idolatry.
1 Not unto us, O Jehovah, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth’s sake.
v.1 Jehovah’s Name Glorified. The Psalm begins with Israel giving Jehovah the glory for their deliverance. If the elders in heaven cast their crowns at the feet of God, on earth restored Israel says “Not unto us, O Jehovah, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory”. The theme of this praise is Jehovah’s loving-kindness and truth. God will show Himself gracious to Israel and faithful to His own promises and character.
2 Wherefore should the nations say, Where then is their God?
3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he pleased.
4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands:
5 They have a mouth, and they speak not; eyes have they, and they see not;
6 They have ears, and they hear not; a nose have they, and they smell not;
7 They have hands, and they handle not; feet have they, and they walk not; they give no sound through their throat.
8 They that make them are like unto them, — every one that confideth in them.
vv.2-8 Jehovah Among the Gods. Israel displays a boldness in their faith, as Moses once did when he said “Then the Egyptians will hear it… and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land… if thou now slayest this people as one man, then the nations that have heard thy fame will speak, saying, Because Jehovah was not able to bring this people into the land that he had sworn unto them, he has therefore slain them in the wilderness” (Num. 14:13-16). This is not fleshly manipulation, but rather the argument of faith. If Jehovah did not deliver Israel, the nations would have cause to doubt the existence of Israel’s God because Israel had no physical image to worship as the nations did. But the truth, as Israel confesses it, is that their God is “in the heavens”. The worship of Jehovah requires faith for this reason, but Israel confesses that in heaven Jehovah “hath done whatsoever he pleased”; i.e. God is sovereign. The confidence of the nations is foolishly placed in false idols; “silver and gold, the work of men’s hands”. How foolish to confide in a god of one’s own making! These idols are unable to really do anything. They have all the external features of a man; “a mouth”, “eyes”, “ears”, a nose”, “hands”, and “feet”. Yet none of these can function, because they are inanimate objects! The idols fashioned by men’s hands are remarkably similar to men; “They that make them are like unto them”. Paul remarks on this same thing in Romans 1; they “changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man”. A god that arises from the mind of man cannot rise above the level of a man. A moral stream cannot rise higher than its source. But it can drop lower! Thus man progressed to worship images of “birds and quadrupeds and reptiles”.
9 O Israel, confide thou in Jehovah: he is their help and their shield.
10 House of Aaron, confide in Jehovah: he is their help and their shield.
11 Ye that fear Jehovah, confide in Jehovah: he is their help and their shield.
vv.9-10 Trust in Jehovah. In contrast to the misplaced confidence of the nations, Israel encourage themselves in the faith of the one true God. Israel (the nation), the house of Aaron (the priests), and all who fear Jehovah (includes the believing Gentiles), will confide in that one true God. There will be no place for idol-worship in the Millennium! Jehovah will be the “help and shield” of those who trust in Him!
12 Jehovah hath been mindful of us: he will bless, he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron;
13 He will bless them that fear Jehovah, both the small and the great.
14 Jehovah will add unto you more, unto you and unto your children.
15 Ye are blessed of Jehovah, who made the heavens and the earth.
vv.12-15 The Blessing of Jehovah. Not only help and protection, but the blessing of Jehovah will come to those who fear Him, whether Israel, the priests, or even the Gentiles, whether small or great (unimportant in man’s eyes, or otherwise). The blessing in this Psalm is consistent with an earthly people (v.16), i.e. prosperity for them and their children. The blessing can only be attributed to “Jehovah, who made the heavens and the earth”.
16 The heavens are the heavens of Jehovah, but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
17 The dead praise not Jah, neither any that go down into silence;
18 But “we” will bless Jah from this time forth and for evermore. Hallelujah!
vv.16-18 The Blessing of an Earthly People. These verses give us a helpful understanding of the blessing that Israel looked for according to their earthly hopes. Their portion is on earth; “The heavens are the heavens of Jehovah, but the earth hath he given to the children of men”. By contrast, Paul could say “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Therefore, the preservation of natural life was a part of Israel’s hope, because the dead were seen as missing out on millennial life in the kingdom. But none of the restored nation of Israel will perish, because they will be preserved by God to “bless Jah from this time forth and for evermore”. This Psalm closes with “Hallelujah!”, the characteristic blessing of this book.