Man's utter nothingness is here acknowledged. In God
alone all power resides. The idols of the heathen are the vanity of
vanities. Let all confidence be placed in God!
1. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Your
name give glory, for Your mercy, and for Your truth's sake."
Piety shudders at the thought of the assumption of any
power by man. We cannot sink too low. We cannot raise our God too high.
There is no depth from which we may not look up to Him. Let the assurance be
always ours that His mercy and His truth will certainly befriend.
2-3. "Why should the heathen say, Where is now their
God? But our God is in the heavens; He has done whatever He has pleased."
Israel was often brought into heathen bondage. Insulting
foes derided them as helpless, and tauntingly inquired, Where is their God?
The reply was indisputable. God reigns on high. Heaven is His throne. His
overruling hand moves everywhere. He works all things after the counsel of
His own will.
4-8. "Their idols are silver and gold, the work of
men's hands. They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they
see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell
not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk
not; neither speak they through their throat. Those who make them are like
them; so is everyone who trusts in them."
What can be more contemptible than the idols of the
heathen world! These images may be cased in silver and in gold. They may
shine dazzlingly in the sight of prostrate crowds. But emptiness is their
only property. Blind, deaf, motionless, speechless, they are less than
nothing. Their worshipers are scarcely better. Where are the minds of those
who kneel before the workmanship of their own hands? But while we pity such
degraded folly, let us never forget that creature-worship is nature's
religion. The love of silver and gold is innate idolatry of heart.
9-11. "O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help
and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and
their shield. You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and
From a view of worthless idols, the exhortation gains
force to trust in the ever-living God, who has all power in heaven and in
earth. Let all His people trust Him. Let all who fear Him trust Him.
Especially let the ministers of His word be foremost in this holy
confidence. The standard-bearers should precede the host. They have all
cause to trust. He is ever ready and ever able to give help. His sure
protection can never fail.
12-15. "The Lord has been mindful of us, He will bless
us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron; He
will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great. The Lord shall
increase you more and more, you and your children. You are blessed of the
Lord, who made heaven and earth."
The review of the past testifies of the ever-mindful hand
of God. Each Ebenezer gives assurance that blessings will still incessantly
descend. Though appearances may sometimes have an adverse look, yet from age
to age generations of men shall rejoice under His gracious care. He has
delivered us, and still delivers, and we trust that He will yet deliver us.
16-18. "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's;
but the earth has He given to the children of men. The dead praise not the
Lord, neither any that go down into silence. But we will bless the Lord from
this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord."
While we continue inhabitants of earth our lips may
praise the Lord, and lift up adorations to the heavens. But our life here
may be very brief. Our opportunities may quickly pass. Lips mute in the
grave can no more be heard on earth. Let us bear in mind, also, that dead
souls on earth cannot have spiritual usefulness. Let us then pray, Quicken
us, good Lord, more and more. The tribute of praise shall then respond in
louder and holier notes.