EBC Abridged: “The Hallel psalms are found in three separate collections: the “Egyptian Hallel” (113-118), the “Great Hallel” (120-136), and the concluding Hallel psalms (146-150)….The Egyptian Hallel and the Great Hallel were sung during the annual feasts (Lev 23; Nu 10:10). The Egyptian Hallel psalms received a special place in the Passover liturgy, as 113-114 were recited or sung before and 115-118 after the festive meal (cf. Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26). The concluding Hallel psalms (146-150) were incorporated in the daily prayers in the synagogue after the destruction of the temple (A.D. 70).”
Spurgeon: "In the former psalm the past wonders which God had wrought were recounted to his honour, and in the present psalm he is entreated to glorify himself again, because the heathen were presuming upon the absence of miracles, were altogether denying the miracles of former ages, and insulting the people of God with the question, ‘Where is now their God?’”
Psalms 115:1 ¶ Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.
Psalms 115:2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
The psalmist opens by calling for the LORD to do something to demonstrate His glory in testimony of His loving kindness, pity and truth. He doesn’t like hearing the people of other nations wondering where their God is in light of the absence of any recent miracles or obvious works on their behalf.
It appears that the psalmist is writing during a time when the people of Israel are feeling threatened and being taunted by their enemies.
Psalms 115:3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
Psalms 115:4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
Psalms 115:5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not:
Psalms 115:6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not:
Psalms 115:7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat.
The psalmist is not questioning God’s presence. He knows that God is on his throne in heaven and that He acts in accordance with His own purposes. Men made the gods of the heathen out of silver and gold. Though they had mouths, they could not speak; though they had eyes, they could not see. They had ears, but could not hear; noses, but could not smell; hands, but could not touch or hold things; feet, but could not walk.
How can any thinking person justify faith in such a god—man-made and powerless!
Chuck Smith: “I need to remember that. ‘He has done what He has pleased.’ May not please me, but that isn"t what"s important.”
Psalms 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
The psalmist goes on to declare that those that make these idols of false gods are just as helpless and foolish as the gods they make. The same is true of every person that trusts in such a false god.
Smith: “A man becomes like his god. That can be the greatest curse in all the world. Or it can be the greatest blessing in all the world. It"s all relative as to who is your god….So you have actually in one side of it, man making a god like himself, infinitely less than himself; and thus, man being degraded as he worships his god. On the other hand, you have God making a man more than himself. More than man could ever be in himself. And thus, the worship of the true and the living God is always an elevating experience as God is conforming you into His image. Making you like Him.”
It’s pretty obvious to me that those who worship false gods are evil because they aren’t connected to the source of love. Their focus is always on self. Their beliefs are the breeding ground for immorality and cruelty. That is because they have no understanding of the truth and love that are rooted in the character of the one true God. Such understanding can only be found in relationship with God. We, today get that relationship through faith in Jesus.
Galatians 4:4–7 “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.”
Though we cannot see the one true God, evidence testifying to His authority and power abound in creation. One of the greatest testimonies to His greatness is evidenced by the many fulfilled prophecies declared in His word. God tells us this through the words of the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 48:3–7 “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them. Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them. They are created now, and not from the beginning; even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, Behold, I knew them.”
Psalms 115:9 ¶ O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Psalms 115:10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
Psalms 115:11 Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
The psalmist calls for the people of Israel, the priests (descended from Aaron) and any other people that fear the LORD (in context, probably addressing the foreigners in Israel who chose to serve God) to hold firm to their trust in the LORD as their provider and defender. God always provides for His own.
Psalms 84:11 “For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”
Psalms 34:10 “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.”
Matthew 6:25–26 “Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”
2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work….”
Psalms 115:12 The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron.
Psalms 115:13 He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.
Psalms 115:14 The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
Sometimes it seems like God has forgotten us. The psalmist knows this and is reminding all those that fear the LORD that God knows who they are and will bless them—be they rich or poor, famous or unknown—in His time. In fact, He will multiply their descendants and those of their children.
Spurgeon: “Blessing does not impoverish the Lord: he has multiplied his mercies in the past, and he will pour them forth thick and threefold in the future….It is his nature to bless, it is his prerogative to bless, it is his glory to bless, it is his delight to bless; he has promised to bless, and therefore be sure of this, that he will bless and bless and bless without ceasing.”
Psalms 115:15 Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.
Psalms 115:16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
The writer notes that the LORD is the creator of heaven and earth. All creation belongs to the LORD, but He made earth especially for people—those created in His image.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Psalms 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
Psalms 115:18 But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD.
The psalm closes declaring that the dead cannot praise the LORD from the grave—a place of dead silence. We that live and fear the LORD will praise and adore Him for now and for forever. Hallelujah!
“…and for evermore” - Did the psalmist understand like Job that those that feared the LORD would live in His presence after death?
Job 19:25–27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold….”