Psalm 115 Commentary
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. Verse 3.
The psalmist presents a hugely important subject, especially during a time of countless temples and shrines. Yahweh didn’t reside in a human structure. Yes, God is in Heaven but Solomon knew better. “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” First Kings 8 verse 27.
The LORD is not like an idol. The LORD is sovereign.
The god that is created in a workshop is not God. The god that man creates using tools of logic, imagination, and observation is not the LORD God. They cannot speak; they cannot see; they cannot smell; they cannot feel; they cannot walk.
Those who make them will be like them – dead. But Israel should be different.
“It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore.” Verses 17 and 18.
The LORD cannot be praised by the dead – those who are dead because they have made their own gods. Killed by idolatry. On the contrary, the opposite is true: the LORD is praised by the living – those made alive by their exclusive trust in the LORD God.
They praise God now and forevermore. Could this mean they will never die? Probably yes. “The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” Said the LORD Jesus Christ as recorded in John 11.
This psalm beautifully highlights the difference between life and death. Death is manufactured in the individual’s workshop as he makes idols. He becomes what he makes – lifeless. Life, on the other hand, is the gift the LORD gives to the individual as they put their trust in the LORD God.
The New Testament has expanded the definition of idols or gods. Money, the stomach, appetites, and demonic hosts among many others. Some are dumb and lifeless and you wonder why some people cannot see it that way. Others are not exactly lifeless. They can act and talk. These are meant to mislead the sensitive sections of human society. There is a god fitting just about every possible appetite. Many more new ones are on the production line.
This psalm, however, implores the saint to trust in the LORD God.
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