God alone is the God of all glory, and so we must turn to Him to bless Him alone. And when we give glory to Him, He in His divine grace has fashioned the world in such a way as to allow us to be a reflected glory.
This wonderful psalm can be divided into 5 sections. The first is an entreaty for God to vindicate His name (vv. 1-2). The second is a contemptuous dismissal of all idolatry (vv. 3:8), followed by the third which is a strong exhortation to the people of God to trust in their shield (vv. 9-15), and to anticipate great blessings from Him. The basic cosmological map is drawn in v. 16, and then the people are reminded that God must be worshiped in the land of the living (vv. 17-18).
“Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, But unto thy name give glory, For thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever he hath pleased . . .” (Psalm 115:1–18).
Summary of the Text
The psalm begins by rejecting glory—not to us, not to us. Rather glory should go to the name of God (v. 1). Why should the heathen taunt us (v. 2)? Our God dwells over all, and He does whatever He wants (v. 3). Their gods are silver and gold, their own handiwork (v. 4). These idols have all the requisite sense organs, but can’t do anything with them (vv. 5-7). Those who make the idols become like the idols (v. 8). Israel should trust in her shield (v. 9). The house of Aaron should trust in their shield (v. 10). Those who fear the Lord should trust in their shield (v. 11). The Lord will bless all those who do this (v. 12). He will bless those who fear the Lord, whether small and great (v. 13). And if you are a small one, that’s all right because the Lord will increase you more and more (v. 14). You are being blessed by the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth (v. 15). Heaven belongs to Him, but earth was His gift to us (v. 16). The dead are silenced in their earthly praise (v. 17), but the living will praise Him forever (v. 18). Praise the Lord (hallelujah).
Your Shield and Hiding Place
Idolaters trust in something that is manifestly untrustworthy. The idolatry is capable of shaping the worshiper into something ridiculous, but that is the extent of their magnificent powers.
We, on the other, are enjoined to trust in the Lord. We are to trust in the God who is in the heavens, the one who does whatever He pleases (v. 3). Israel is to trust in the Lord (v. 9). The house of Aaron is to trust in the Lord (v. 10). All who fear God must trust in the Lord (v. 11). All three categories are told to trust in the Lord, the one who is their help and shield. Trust the Lord, trust the Lord, trust the Lord.
Your help and shield, your help and shield, your help and shield.
And do not say in your heart, “Behold, I am but a small fry.” The Lord is mindful of us, and He can see strugglers at the microscopic level. He will bless, He will bless, He will bless—both small and great. If you think you are not big enough to bless, He will make you big enough to bless.
Reflected Glory as Salvation
The eternal destiny of your eternal soul is not so much a matter of where you are going as it is a matter of what you are becoming. And we see the central principle in all of it taught here—you become like what you worship.
Those who fashion deaf, dumb and blind idols are demonstrating how deaf, dumb and blind they already are, and show us all how they are on the path, if possible, to becoming even more like that. Those that make them are like unto them. If you bow down to a grotesque and twisted idol (which is what you are doing if you are not worshiping God the Father in the name of the Son through the power of the Spirit), then you are in the process of becoming just like your grotesque and twisted god.
The principle works in the other direction as well because the human race is an imaging race. We are created reflectors. We were fashioned in the image of God; we reflect the image of God. Because of our sin and rebellion, those mirrors are now pointed at absurd things—which is why they reflect absurd things back.
In regeneration, the shattered mirrors are pieced back together, and are pointed in the right direction again. And what happens?
What will happen when we see Christ as He is? We will become like Him for that reason. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
And what is happening here and now, in our worship of the Father?
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
But the mirror cannot reflect this glory properly unless it is pointed away from itself. Not to us, not to us (v. 1). A mirror cannot generate its own light; a mirror is not a lamp. A moon is not a sun. Chase after your own identity, pursue the glory of your own name, and you are like a man carrying a backpack full of mirrors down into a deep cavernous dungeon, a place with no lights, so that you might generate glory that you need not share with any other. And it all works out because nobody wants the kind of glory you can generate down there. But surrender your own identity, surrender your pride in your own name, and when you’ve been there, ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, you still will not have gotten over it.
Trust in the Lord, your help and shield. What did He say about it? “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25).