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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 115

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-18

Psalms 115:1-18 :

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to thy name give glory ( Psalms 115:1 ),

Here again we have the same idea. Don't reverend me. "Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, but to Thy name." Let there be ascribed glory and reverence and awe.

for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. Why should the heathen say, Where is now their God? ( Psalms 115:1-2 )

A lot of times people do say that. They say, "Well, where was your God when, you know. What happened to your God then, pal?" "Why should the heathen say, 'Where is now their God?'"

Our God is in the heavens: he has done whatsoever he hath pleased ( Psalms 115:3 ).

I need to remember that. "He has done what He has pleased." May not please me, but that isn't what's important.

Now referring again to the heathen, their idols. "Our God is in the heavens." He rules. But,

Their idols are silver and gold, they are the work of men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: they have eyes, but they can't see: They have ears, but they can't hear: they have noses, but they don't smell: They have hands, but they cannot handle: they have feet, but they cannot walk: and neither do they speak through their throats. They that make them are like unto them; and so is every one that trusteth in them ( Psalms 115:4-8 ).

Now here is a philosophy expressed by the psalmist that is extremely profound as he observes the heathens and their gods. And the first observation that he makes is that men have a tendency to make their own god. Man has an innate desire to worship. And having this innate desire to worship, having to worship something, men make their own gods. But when a man makes a god, he makes his god like himself. So that my god is in reality a projection of myself. So in truth, I am actually worshipping myself. Self-worship. For he notices that when they make their gods, they carve mouths. They carve eyes. They carve ears. They carve feet and hands. Why? You carve hands in your little god? Because you have hands. Why do you carve a mouth? Because you have a mouth. Why do you carve ears? Because you have an ear.

When we were over in New Guinea, the missionaries told us of a tribe of people who have a congenital hip dislocation. And this whole tribe of people, it's a congenital thing; they all have a deformity of their right leg which is shorter than their left through this congenital hip problem. And they said that all of the little gods that this particular tribe carved out have a deformed right leg. Because a man makes a god like himself, a projection of myself. It is known as the anthropomorphic concept of God. Widely recognized. Man makes gods like himself.

But then the psalmist observed that though a man has made a god like himself, he has actually made his god infinitely less than himself. Because though I may carve out eyes on my little god, the eyes on my little god can't see. Though I may carve feet on my little god, they can't walk. Though I may carve hands on it, it can't handle. Though I may carve ears on it, it can't hear. Though I may carve a mouth on it, it can't speak. So I've made a god like myself, but in reality, I have made my god less than myself. And the final observation of the psalmist is, they that have made them have become like the gods that they have made. Or a man becomes like his god. This is a truth of life that you cannot escape. You are becoming like your god, whatever your god is. A man becomes like his god.

Now, if I have made my own god like myself but I've made my god less than myself, then by worshipping the god that I have made, I am degrading myself. I am becoming less than I was. Because I'm becoming like my god. And my god is less than me because I've made my god like myself, but actually less than myself. So my god is insensate. It can't feel, it can't see, it can't hear. I become insensate. I no longer can feel the presence of God. I can no longer feel the touch of God. I can no longer see the hand of God. I can no longer hear the voice of God. I'm becoming insensate just like the little god that I made. For a man becomes like his god. If your god is false, you're becoming false. If you're god is cruel, you're becoming cruel.

A man becomes like his god. That can be the greatest curse in all the world. Or it can be the greatest blessing in all the world. It's all relative as to who is your god. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we're going to be: but we know that, when He appears, we're going to be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" ( 1 John 3:2 ). You see, a man becomes like his god. "We, with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed from glory to glory, into His same image" ( 2 Corinthians 3:18 ). I'm becoming like my God everyday. And if I'm worshipping the true and the living God, how glorious it is as I am being transformed into His image daily as I worship Him. Man becomes like his god.

Now the New Testament tells us, "We are now the sons of God. It does not yet appear what we're going to be. We know when He appears, we'll be like Him." So you have actually in one side of it, man making a god like himself, infinitely less than himself; and thus, man being degraded as he worships his god. On the other hand, you have God making a man more than himself. More than man could ever be in himself. And thus, the worship of the true and the living God is always an elevating experience as God is conforming you into His image. Making you like Him.

Now I've either made a god like me, or God is making me like Him. You're in one of the two. You're either on the path down or the path up. Every man has a god. Don't believe a man who says, "I'm an atheist," because a god is only a title, and it is the title of what is the master passion of that person's life. What's the guiding principle of his life? Watch him for a while and you can see. Maybe the guiding passion of his life is pleasure and his whole life is lived for pleasure. Molech is his god. Maybe his whole life is lived for power and he's trying to control things, money, possessions and all. And Mammon is his god. Maybe he's trying to develop his intellect and the expansion of his consciousness and his understanding and all and he's made this the chief goal of life. Then Baal is his god. Every man has a god. Some of them are rather worthless gods, but gods indeed. And how good it is to worship and serve the true and the living God. Not one that I've created in my own mind. Not a concept that I have created. But to take the revelation of God of Himself to us and to worship the true and the living God.

So interesting observations from the psalmist here concerning the heathen and their gods.

O Israel, trust thou in Jehovah: for he is your help and your shield. O house of Aaron, trust in Jehovah: he is your help and your shield. Ye that reverence Jehovah, trust in Jehovah: for he is their help and their shield. Jehovah hath been mindful ( Psalms 115:9-12 )

And, of course, here again compounding, "O Israel, Aaron and ye that fear the Lord." It's a compounding of the idea, Hebrew poetry.

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. He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great ( Psalms 115:12-13 ).

Same compounding with the blessings now.

The LORD shall increase you more and more, and your children. Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men ( Psalms 115:14-16 ).

The heavens were the Lord's, but God gave the earth to man. But man blew it and gave it to Satan. And Satan now possesses the earth. But Jesus came to redeem the earth back to God, and before long He's going to take and claim that which He purchased. And I can hardly wait.

The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence ( Psalms 115:17 ).

Now this is one of the proof text for soul sleep, but I don't have time to go into it tonight. We'll go into it when we get to Ecclesiastes, where the scripture definitely teaches is that there is a consciousness. This is the psalmist expressing a thought of his own mind, and it is much like Job where God said, "What do you, you know, what are you talking about death? You haven't been beyond the gates of hell. You don't know what's there. And talking out of your head." And so here the psalmist is speaking of things which are not in keeping with the whole body of scripture which tells us that of the state of the dead, and especially the words of Christ.

But we will bless the LORD from this time forth for evermore. Hallelujah ( Psalms 115:18 ).

May the Lord be with you now and fill you with His love. May He guide you through this week. Entering into that time of the year where pressures always increase as we prepare to celebrate the pagan holiday of Saturnalia in our own Christianized form. May God protect you from the crass commercialism and keep you out of the hype of man. That you lose not sight of God and the things of the Spirit. But may more and more we become spiritually minded. And may we walk in the Spirit that we will not be guilty of fulfilling the desires of our own flesh. May the Lord be with you now and bless and keep you in the love of Jesus Christ. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 115". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-115.html. 2014.
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