Psalm 115:1 (MEV): Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Your name give glory, for the sake of Your mercy, and for the sake of Your truth.
The opening of the psalm is a chorus of worship. The Lord is worthy of it just for His mercy and truth. These aren’t just attributes of God, but they are part of Who He is. You don’t think of God without thinking of Mercy or Truth among other immutable things.
Psalm 115:2–3 (MEV): Why should the nations say, “Where now is their God?” But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.
It’s those mocking and scorning questions. They are designed to make one question God. As a Christian, people may ask each of us this or similar at times.
Our answer, like the psalmist’s, God is in the heavens. We never have to wonder. He doesn’t leave. He doesn’t go on vacation. I would offer that the heavens includes creation itself. It is in some way an immutable part of Him, meaning it cannot exist without Him.
There is another important point that is presupposed by the question. It asks, where?
God is in a place. The place is called the heavens. If we remember the creation account their are multiple heavens, including the expanse encompassing our planet. God is here, too.
Isaiah 57:15 (MEV): For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place
and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
We have a clear answer to the question of where. God inhabits eternity. There’s not a place to go where (and when) He isn’t. Yet, He also says He dwells with the contrite and humble spirit.
We also have a hint to the things that He pleases to do. it’s to revive the spirit of the humble and the heart of the contrite ones He dwells with. That is who believe in Him. (To understand more, continue reading around that citation in Isaiah 15, it gives a glimpse into the character of God.)
Psalm 115:4–7 (MEV): Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; noses, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; feet, but they cannot walk; neither can they speak with their throat.
The psalmist turns the mockery back to where it squarely belongs. Those that mock make for themselves their own gods. They give them the appearances of the attributes of a human (or even possibly an animal.) But those things cannot do what a living being can do.
Think of the juxtapositions in the text. One God inhabits eternity and dwells with others. Idols can only remain in one place at a time. The idols have no senses, or motor skills and cannot talk. But our God does.
Psalm 115:8 (MEV): Those who make them are like them; so is everyone who trusts in them.
The indictment from the psalmist is clear. One becomes like the God He worships. This is an important biblical principle that is plainly evident in our world. It’s not just limited to religion. Look around and see how that can be identified. I think you might be surprised and maybe shocked.
There is an application for us. As we examine ourselves against what we know of our God, are we like Him?
In this passage, God dwells with the contrite and humble to revive them. The psalmist also says our God has mercy and is truthful.
I’m not intending this to be condemning, a downer or something that brings conviction. But if it does become a downer, I hope you see clearly the difference in the two other points. Each experience can lower our feelings, but discern what it is.
Condemnation always brings shame. It comes from the pit of hell.
Conviction is gentle, and always comes with the prodding to do better. Being convicted by God means there is hope! We can change.
I encourage you to read the Bible, even the Old Testament. Ask God to show you Who He is, you will also learn about what He likes to do. Then set out to ask Him to change you from the inside to be more like Him. This is you to yielding yourself to Him. Sometimes it is going to feel a bit awkward, or even like you don’t really mean it. There’s an answer for that, too.
A man brought his son to Jesus in desperation. This boy is terrorized by a foul entity. It endangers and even harms the boy. When brought to Jesus, the demon seizes the boy and makes him crash to the ground and foam at the mouth uncontrollably.
The father knows he can do nothing. He aches and fears for his boy. And brings his son to Jesus.
Mark 9:23–24 (MEV): Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”
This is a poignant exchange. Jesus encourages the father to believe. The father wants to believe, but knows there is some hesitation, or as I see it, like lip service. When we believe something with a bit of skepticism.
Jesus is okay with that. He healed that boy. (Read the encounter for yourself, it will bless you.)
And in the same way, when you come to God skeptical of your own motivations, He understands. He can even change those motivations, if you let Him.
I challenge you to get to know Him. Let Him change you. You will never regret it.