Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).
How do we respond when God doesn’t do what we want Him to do?
Among God’s people Israel, the Lord’s love and faithfulness seem in the land, Far, Far Away. Israel’s existence is bleak. So the nations are taunting her, “Where is your God?” (2). We might have a small sense of this in our culture, but for many of our Christian family this is very real.
So what do we do when God doesn’t do what we want Him to do? Now, let’s analysis the question a little. The way I have phrased the question, it is all about us. What do I want? God is under no obligation to do what I or you want.
However, Psalm 115 is about God’s love and faithfulness. When these things are not in evidence than there is a real problem because God is under full obligation to be true to Himself.
When God doesn’t do what we want Him to do, then we need only Psalm 115:1. When life is about what I want than I am most important and I want the glory. Here, we are knocked off our rotting pedestal and bluntly reminded that life is about God, not me.
But when God’s love and faithfulness appear to be absent, then we need the rest of the psalm. It offers us two responses.
First, we can go find a different god. And this we have done. Our lives are filled with idols that are of our own making. But, as the psalmist points out, these idols have no voice, no vision, no hearing, no senses of smell or feeling. They cannot walk, and they cannot utter a single sound.
They are merely idols — the house, the boat, the car, the fine jewellery, the awards and recognition, the high-paying job, the self-help method. No matter what we offer them, they have nothing for us. They only stand in the corner collecting dust as we slowly kill ourselves sacrificing to them.
What ultimately matters, what lasts, is the God of the house of Israel, whose blessings extend beyond our own earthly existence to those who come after us. And thus we may declare, along with all the generations of the faithful, that we will praise the Lord from now and for all time (v. 18).
Thus, the second response this psalm offers us is this: to gather with God’s people to declare the praise of God. To do so in the firm hope that God is our help and shield (9). We praise Him, convinced that we will experience God’s love and faithfulness.
In response to this psalm, God’s people gather on Sundays to worship Him. We worship to remember who is God. ‘Lest we forget’, is first of all the Christian call to communal worship.
Your Friend & God’s Friend,
1 Corinthians 15:1-28