(Originally posted 7-6-17)
Israel, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and shield.
House of Aaron, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and shield.
You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord!
He is their help and shield.
If it seems like I talk about the Psalms a lot in this blog, it’s probably because I do! And I realized that it’s for two main reasons: First, I really enjoy the Psalms as they are a wealth of wisdom and truth (and musically-based!). And two, I have started my journey through the Bible this year and have been primarily working through Psalms…although I’m behind by a few chapters! But it’s my goal to read a few passages a week and camp out on the truths therein. As I do, God is so faithful to challenge and convict me and I’m sure you experience the same thing as you submit to His word each day.
Today as I was reading Psalm 115, the repetition of certain phrases stood out to me…almost like a bullhorn being sounded in my ear. The Psalm itself starts out in a place of worship (“to Your name give glory”—vs. 1) and ends there as well (“we will praise the LORD, both now and forever”). But in between, there is a call to trust in the Lord and to look upon Him as our “help and shield.” I love that God’s word is timeless. And I love that it’s message to us today is as relevant now as it was back in the days of ancient Israel.
If you have your Bible nearby, my goal is just to expound upon Psalm 115 and to mine some truths from it’s 18 verses. Today’s blog is as much Bible study and devotional as it is anything else. I feel like that’s what God wants me to share. I know I need it and I hope you do as well. Here are some points I’ve gleaned from this passage:
1. Misplaced trust in idols can never save
Verses 4-8 are basically a dressing-down of the idea of idol worship. Idols back in the day were “silver and gold [and] made by human hands” (vs. 4). The Psalmist goes on to explain all of the things these idols cannot do: they cannot speak, they cannot hear or see, they cannot feel or walk…they have no life and no power. And furthermore, those who create and make the idols are just like them. They are powerless and “without life”.
The reality for our present-day culture is that we do the same thing. Sophisticated and advanced as we may believe we are, we still worship idols and allow our trust to be misplaced. We know obvious idols that get set up as addictions in our lives: alcohol, drugs, sex, and the like. But there are other things we place our trust in that have no power to save us. Seemingly good things. Our jobs, our families, our spouse…by putting trust in such things we give them “worship” when they were never created or designed to receive it. That place is reserved for God and for Him alone.
2. All are invited to worship
Verses 9-11 are what I consider the “heart” of this Psalm and it’s the passage I shared at the top of this entry. Here there is a shift in focus from talking about worthless and non-redeeming idols to finding help in a true God who is worthy of worship. This call to worship goes out to all; for everyone to be drawn away from lifeless idols of silver and gold to a God who is full of life and desires to impart life to us.
Here I rely on the trusted commentary of my study Bible to gain further knowledge which I share with you:
[In verses 9-11]: the Psalmist invited three different groups of worshipers to put their trust in the Lord and receive His blessing. “Israel” was the covenant people as a whole; the “house of Aaron” was the priesthood; “you who fear the LORD” could be non-Israelite worshipers present at the festival. (The Apologetics Study Bible, Copyright 2007 by Holman Bible Publishers, HCSB, page 888).
What is interesting to me is that God makes provision for ALL to come and worship Him and trust Him. You and I (if you are of non-Jewish, non-Israeli descent) are part of that final group of “God-fearers” or “Gentiles”. Once again, the commentary connects this group to those in the New Testament as evidenced by Peter’s words in Acts: “Brothers, sons of Abraham’s race, and those among you who fear God, the message of this salvation has been sent to us.” Acts 13:26 God desires and invites all to worship Him.
3. Blessings are a by-product of trust
The latter portion of Psalm 115 describes the benefits of trusting God and lays out some promises that come to those who seek Him rather than idols. Verses 12-16 explain that God “remembers..and will bless us,” that “He will bless those who fear the LORD—small and great alike.” I don’t know about you but whenever I see the phrase “He remembers," I take special note. It’s easy to think we are forgotten when we live in a world of billions of inhabitants and we are just a face in a sea of faces. But God remembers…small and great alike and He knows each of us at our exact point of need.
Blessings are further described as the Lord “adding to your numbers” and that He has given the earth to the human race. It seems to harken back to God’s charge to Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) By doing this, we are being obedient to the Lord. He is pleased with our obedience and He blesses it. His design, although marred by the Fall, is still for true worship and obedience as we live out our days on this earth. He has given us dominion and authority over the earth and He blesses us as we operate in the duties we were created for.
I hope as you read Psalm 115 you are encouraged and feel life breathed over you. I hope you feel a true sense of the Holy Spirit breathing upon these verses of Scripture and calling you into deeper trust in the Lord. As Christians we are surrounded by a culture of idol-worshipers. It is no different now than when Psalm 115 was written. And it is hard at times to not be influenced and affected by the culture because we are so immersed in it. But I believe by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have a hope that is unlike those who choose to worship idols.
We worship a true and living God.
He invites all to worship Him.
There are benefits and blessings that come to those who choose to follow Him.
He is our help and shield.
If you have not chosen to follow Him, I would love to visit with you. If you have questions about this message or just questions about faith in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out. As always, I love you guys and am praying for you!
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