Psalm 115

115:0We do not know who wrote Psalm 115. And we do not know when they wrote it. It was a time when there were not many Jews. But there were a lot of enemies. Perhaps it was before the exile. The exile was when Assyria or Babylon took them away from their own country. Perhaps it was when they came back to their own country. We do not know.

But the psalm tells people to trust in the LORD. This means, believe what the LORD says, and wait until he sends you help. ‘He is their help’ in verses 9, 10 and 11 mean ‘he will send you help.’ We learn what the LORD says when we read the Bible.

The important thing that the psalm teaches us is this: there is only one God. All other gods are man-made, and cannot do anything to send us help.

There is Only One True God

1 Do not give to us, LORD, do not give to us the glory.

Keep it for yourself! Do this because of your kind love to us.

And do it because you always do what you have promised.

115:1In verse 1, LORD is a special name for God. It is the covenant name for God. A covenant is when two people (or groups of people) agree. Here the covenant is with God and the people of Israel. The verse says that God must keep the glory for himself. He should not give some of it to his people. ‘Glory’ is a ‘big shining.’ Here it means all the good things that people say about God.

2 Why should people say, ‘Where is their God?’

115:2In verse 2, people are saying ‘Where is their God?’ The people are those who do not believe. They do not believe that there is a God. So they say, ‘Where is God?’ or ‘What is God doing to show that he is really alive?’ The answer is in verse 3. God is in heaven – the home of God. And he is doing everything that he wants to do!

3 Our God is in heaven. He does what he wants to do.

4 People make their idols with silver and gold.

Human hands make them!

5 Each idol has a mouth – but it cannot speak!

It has eyes – but it cannot see!

6 It has ears – but it cannot hear!

It has a nose – but it cannot smell!

7 It has hands – but it feels nothing!

It has feet – but it cannot walk!

Its mouth cannot make a sound!

8 The people that make them will become like them.

Also, everyone who believes what they say will become like them.

115:8Verses 4-8 tell us about idols. An idol is a god that people make. It is not a true god. Often people make it from wood. But it cannot speak or see (verse 5). It cannot hear or smell (verse 6). It cannot walk or make any sound (verse 7). People make it from gold and silver. Silver is like gold, very valuable. People that have idols will become like them (verse 8).

9 People of Israel – trust in the LORD.

He is their help and their shield.

10 People of Aaron – trust in the LORD.

He is their help and their shield.

11 Everyone that is in awe of the LORD – trust in the LORD.

He is their help and their shield.

115:11Verses 9-11 are about trusting in the LORD. To ‘trust’ is ‘to believe that the LORD will send you help because he loves you.’ The people of Israel and the people of Aaron are the Jews. But verse 11 says ‘everyone’ – and that includes us! ‘In awe’ means ‘a bit afraid of someone that you love.’ ‘Their help’ in verse 9 means ‘the person that gives them help.’ And the shield is something that stops an enemy hurting them. A shield was something a soldier used. He held it over his body, so that it stopped things hitting him.

12 The LORD will remember us. He will bless us.

He will bless the people of Israel.

He will bless the people of Aaron.

13 He will bless everybody that is in awe of the LORD.

He will bless them whether they are important or not.

14 I pray that the LORD will give you more good things.

I pray that he will do this to your children also.

15 I pray that the LORD will bless you.

The LORD made heaven and earth.

16 Heaven is where the LORD lives.

He gave the earth to the people that live there.

115:16In verses 12-16 we read about the LORD blessing people. The word ‘bless’ now means ‘do good things to.’ But in Bible times, it meant ‘have many children.’ So in verse 14 ‘the LORD will give you more’ means more children. Also, he will give more children to your children!

17 Dead people cannot praise the LORD.

Neither can anyone that goes to the Quiet Place.

18 But we will bless the LORD, now and always.

Hallelujah!

115:18In verses 17-18 we read about ‘praise’ and the ‘Quiet Place.’ ‘Praise’ means ‘tell someone that they are great.’ So ‘praise the LORD’ means ‘tell the LORD that he is great.’ Dead people cannot praise the LORD, because they are in the Quiet Place. This is another name for Sheol. The Jews believed that you went to Sheol when you died. You could not praise God in Sheol. ‘We will bless the LORD now and always’ means ‘Jews will always bless the LORD and praise him.’ But we know now that we will always praise the LORD – if we love Jesus!