1 Not unto us, LORD, not to us, but do thou glory take Unto thy name, ev’n for thy truth, and for thy mercy’s sake.
2 O wherefore should the heathen say, Where is their God now gone? 3 But our God in the heavens is, what pleased him he hath done.
4 Their idols silver are and gold, work of men’s hands they be. 5 Mouths have they, but they do not speak; and eyes, but do not see;
6 Ears have they, but they do not hear; noses, but savour not; 7 Hands, feet, but handle not, nor walk; nor speak they through their throat.
8 Like them their makers are, and all on them their trust that build. 9 O Isr’el, trust thou in the LORD, he is their help and shield.
10 O Aaron’s house, trust in the LORD, their help and shield is he. 11 Ye that fear God, trust in the LORD, their help and shield he’ll be.
12 The LORD of us hath mindful been, and he will bless us still: He will the house of Isr’el bless, bless Aaron’s house he will.
13 Both small and great, that fear the LORD, he will them surely bless. 14 The LORD will you, you and your seed, aye more and more increase.
15 O blessèd are ye of the LORD, who made the earth and heav’n. 16 The heav’n, ev’n heav’ns, are GOD’s, but he earth to men’s sons hath giv’n.
17 The dead, nor who to silence go, GOD’s praise do not record. 18 But henceforth we for ever will bless GOD. Praise ye the LORD.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland Congregation some of this to the lovely tune Land of Rest here.
Psalm 115 invites us to consider in whom we put our trust: ourselves, human constructs, or God?
There are many reasons to trust ourselves. Driving, for example. What right have we to get on the public highway if we do not trust our own ability to do so? Or if we are nurses, how can we presume to care for others if we don’t trust our abilities? Similarly, there are all sorts of human constructs in which we can trust. The manufacturers of our cars, for instance, are to be trusted for the vehicles’ safety. And what of our hospitals? They are amongst the most sophisticated of human constructs. There are countless reasons to trust them, and to be grateful for them.
In verse 8, though, the Psalmist suggests we risk becoming like what we trust. So, if we put our trust in the powerful, we might hunger to be in control If we put our trust in the rich, then we might lust after wealth.
So it is that this Psalm urges us to put our trust in the Lord, ‘our help and shield’ (verse 9). Moreover, if Christian people put their trust in God as God is in Jesus Christ, then they increase the possibility that they will grow in Christlikeness. That way, in the words of a URC Prayer after Communion, our love is God’s love ‘reaching out into the life of the world’. Striving to make that sort of difference in this era of polarised politics is more than worthwhile. We should, though, make sure that we don’t take the credit, but keep singing the beginning of the Psalm, ‘Not unto us, Lord, not to us, but do thou glory take.’
Lord, we trust you as you are in Jesus – that you regard us not according to our failure, but according to your forgiveness; not according to how we went astray, but according to how you save us.
And may that love define our love for each other.
We seek no credit, no glory for ourselves, but rather for you and for you alone, through that same Jesus Christ, Amen
The Revd Nigel Uden, of Downing Place URC, Fulbourn URC and Stetchworth & Cheveley URC in Cambridgeshire and a Moderator of the General Assembly.