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To God be the glory
Sermon Psalm 115

This morning for our Bible lesson we are going to take a look at Psalm 115. Psalm 115 begins with these words; "Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory."

These are just the sort of words that need to be engraved in each of our minds- for we are often tempted to take the credit that belongs to God, for the successes that come our way.

Before we dig into the text, a little bit of backstory

-This is figured to be a post exilic text written for the the second temple (so after the first temple was destroyed and the Israelites had returned from 70 years in Babylonian captivity)
-The Psalm reflects a time of hardship, a time when the mocker rose up and said "Where is your God". The saints have heard these words before and the call has ever been the same-- remember the works and words of God, hold on to your faith
-It is a Psalm that provides a grand contrast between the true and living God, the maker of heaven and earth and the idols made by the hands of men. Hence the call to God's people to flee from all idolatry and to worship and the serve the one true God -The LORD

A number of Kings have come to this Psalm for strength in hard times

a. After the Battle of Agincourt in France on October 25, 1415, King Henry the V commanded his victorious troops to kneel and sing verse 1 of this text.
b. King Jan Sobieski, the King of Poland (1629-1696) regarded Psalm 115 as his theme song.

In 1683 the Ottoman's, on the door step of Europe, had surrounded Vienna and were ready to take the city by storm (having bombarded it and having burrowed underground and mined the towers).

After much wrangling in Europe (for the Pope was alarmed by the violent spread of Islam), King Sobieski rode forth from Poland with 40,000 troops. Upon arriving, Sobieski immediately led the attack against an army of 300,000 Muslim troops. Incredibly, Sobieski and his army routed the Ottoman army, saved the city, rescued many captives that the army had with them and took for themselves a large amount of plunder.

In addition to saving the city of Vienna, Sobieski saved Europe-- for shortly after the battle the Muslim General was executed for his failure, and then for the next 200 years the Ottoman empire fell apart and disintegrated.

How does all this tie in to Psalm 115?

Following the Battle, Sobieski wrote a letter to his wife Mariette, praising God for the victory and telling her of the battle. Rather than taking credit for himself, Sobieski gives God the glory, citing Psalm 115 "Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory."

READ TEXT

LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, APPLICATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. Give God the glory! v.1

"Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory,..."

When someone comes to you and so "That was amazing" "You are incredible" "How did you do that". When you ace a test, nail a presentation, pick the right stock, get a great job, handle a tough assignment, come through a hard time.

What is our response always to be?

"To God be the glory!" "I thank God"

What is our temptation?

"I'm smart" "I did that" "That was me" "I'm the one that worked hard"

In looking for a picture to go with this point I happened across a lot of mean spirited pictures that capture people's rebellion against giving God the credit. A strong spirit exists that says 'God is not worthy, I did it...."

To such attitudes we must say "I'm sorry God. Please forgive my bad attitude and my not giving you the praise you are worthy of"

What we must always realize- all our talents, all our strengths, everything owes itself to God and His grace

To God be the glory, great things He has done!


2. Brace yourself, for at times you are going to hear the voice of the mocker saying "Where is your God"

In this life, we are going to face some difficult moments. In the midst of reeling from these shots, we are going to hear the naysayer say "You've put your faith in the wrong place" "God has failed you" "Where was God when...."

The Israelites, coming back from Babylon to a ruined country and a desecrated Temple in a land full of hardship, heard these words from their tormentors.

Note there response in verse 3 "Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him"

From this response the writer launches into a comparison between The LORD and the false gods that the people around them worshipped and trusted

The gods of men The LORD

Of the earth Of Heaven

Subject the placement of men Free and sovereign over all

Made by human hands He made everything

Mouths, but cannot speak Spoke the universe into existence

Ears, but cannot hear Ears open to the cry of His people and those
who humble themselves

They have noses, but cannot smell Scripture speaks of the pleasing aroma of the
sacrifices offered to God

They have hands, but cannot feel God holds us and takes us by the hand

They have feet but cannot walk God became a man and walked amongst us

They cannot speak God constantly speaks by His Spirit and Word

Conclusion of the matter v.8 "Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them"

We live in world full of Idols (Hindu gods, people who follow buddha). We live in a world with an increasing number of people who are foolish enough to deny the existence of God- though the skies declare His glory and the beauty and design of everything around us shouts "This is not an accident" "This could not happen by time and chance"

The next time you hear the mockers voice- remember the position they are coming from- they are trusting in themselves, some of them are trusting in a false god (made by the hands of men), some of them are trusting in the government or some other person they consider strong-- Remember the futility of their position, remember they are spiritually blind and need Christ.

The call of God and the Bible: There is ONE TRUE GOD, THE MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, the God of the Bible. Worship and serve Him alone. Give Him the glory due His name. AND When the mocker, who trusts in himself or in some brazen or carved image calls out sneeringly "Where is God" Remember who we serve, Remember what God has done, Remember what God has said He is going to do. Hold on to your faith and put on the armor of God that you make take your stand against the Devil's schemes.


3. No matter what people say or your situation: TRUST IN THE LORD! V.9-11

Note how our text flows beautifully from our last point. Herein is a 3 fold call to trust the Lord

"O house of Israel, trust in the LORD- he is their help and shield"
"O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD- he is their help and shield"
"You who fear him, trust in the LORD- he is their help and shield"

Sometimes we need to be told/called to do something more than once. The call to trust God fits the bill.

Our faith is always under attack. Doubts are part of our life too. We are also tempted to trust in our own abilities, our money, and others.

Over and over again we must tune our ears to the message of "Trust God". Remember what God has done. There is no one else to turn to. God is faithful. His Word will not fail- no matter how bleak the situation. His promises are good. Trust God!

Are you in a trying situation? Hold on to your faith. God is shield. He is your Helper


4. TRUSTING GOD AND HIS BLESSING GOES HAND IN HAND v. 12-15

The Scriptures teach us that obedience to God brings blessing, so too does trusting God

Now-- when we talk about blessing- the Bible doesn't always or just mean health, wealth, favor with others, good relations- for God's ultimate blessing is Peace with Him, the forgiveness of sins that is found in Christ alone, eternal life, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the empowering of the Spirit, assurance of faith and of the presence of God, Peace of heart and mind, and Heaven as our home

Mirroring the 3 fold call of v.9-11 to TRUST GOD is a 3 fold word plus blessing upon those who take refuge in the LORD and who call Him their God and who commit their way to Him.

Do you want God's blessings?
-Put your faith in Christ
-Be a doer of God's Word
-Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight
-Hold on to your faith

Some great supporting verses

Jeremiah 17:7 "But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him."

Psalm 84:12 "LORD Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you."


5. PRAISE THE LORD v.16-18

Our text closes with a call to praise the Lord- such is the call of us who live on the earth that God has given to us- to rule and to take care of -which is an awesome privilege.

While we are living, we are to give Him praise


CLOSING SONG

To God be the glory

A song to remind us that every perfect gift comes from the Lord, to Him we must give thanks and praise.

Benediction

"May the LORD make you increase, both you and your children. May you blessed by the LORD, the Maker of Heaven and earth" Psalm 115:14-15