The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
he will bless his people Israel,
he will bless the house of Aaron,
he will bless those who fear the LORD –
small and great alike.
May the LORD cause you to flourish,
both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Offering an elegant reminder of what faithful prayer looks like, Psalm 115 holds together words about God and words addressed to God. In doing so, it echoes the priestly blessing of Numbers 6, but takes us on a journey to hear the full force of those reverberations.
‘Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory’, the psalm begins. And the grounds for this resolute refusal to receive any of the glory which rightly belongs to the Lord flow out of his covenant commitment to us – ‘because of your love and faithfulness’ (115:1). The honour goes to the one who loves us deeply, who stays faithful to his people through history.
Not that we’re always fully aware of this. Or that we don’t feel the pinch when others ask, ‘Where is their God?’ (115:2). Where, indeed?
The psalm tells us: ‘Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him’ (115:3). Unlike idols ‘made by human hands’, God is not a mere object of worship, but the living Lord, sovereign over all creation. Idols, complete with all their body parts, look like they have the capacity to deliver on their promises. But they can’t. It’s the Lord who has a mouth, eyes, ears, nose, hands, feet, and vocal chords that work. He’s the real God who can speak and act in the world.
So, we can trust in him, the psalm says, because he is our ‘help and shield’ (115:9-11). He fights for us. He protects us.
Then, hearing those echoes at last, comes a threefold assurance for all of God’s people – ‘small and great’ – that blessing rests upon the person who trusts in the Lord. We can be confident, the psalm says, that ‘the LORD remembers us and will bless us’, that his blessing extends beyond the present to future generations, that ‘the Maker of heaven and earth’ has unlimited resources with which to bless us.
Our journey through the psalm brings us to a place where we can be emboldened, right where we are, even today. How? In our resolve to put God’s glory above our own. In our commitment to trust him in spite of the bemusement and even belligerence of others. And in daring to believe that he will bless us as we do so. In this is our confidence.