Bible Commentaries
Psalms 115

Smith's WritingsSmith's Writings

Verses 1-18


The restored people of Israel, realizing that their deliverance depends upon the presence of the Lord, deprecate all merit in themselves, and ascribe all glory to the Lord. In result the earth will be held by the children of men for the praise of the Lord.

(v. 1) The opening verse gives the theme of the psalm - God's people refusing any merit in themselves, and ascribing all blessing to the Lord. Psalm 114 had traced their deliverance to the presence of the Lord acting in power on behalf of His people. Psalm 115 shuts out the power and glory of man. “Not unto us,” they say, “but unto thy name give glory.” His mercy and His truth have combined for the blessing of His people.

(v. 2) Nevertheless, in the governmental ways of God, they had, because of their failure and idolatry, been cast off, giving the enemy the occasion of asking, “Where is their God?” Israel may call the earth to tremble at the presence of the God of Jacob ( Psa_114:7 ); but where is He?

(vv. 3-8) Faith replies, “Our God is in the heavens.” A contrast is then drawn between the unseen God, known to faith, and the visible idols in which the heathen trust.

“Our God,” faith can say, “hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” As to the idols that men have made, they can neither speak, nor see, nor hear, nor smell, nor act, nor walk. In a word they are helpless, as indeed are those who trust in them.

(vv. 9-11) The psalmist then exhorts to trust in Jehovah, for He alone can help, and defend those who trust in Him. The nation of Israel, the priestly family of Aaron, the Gentiles that fear the Lord, are called to trust in the Lord, and thus find in Him their help and shield.

(vv. 12-15) Though God is in the heavens (v. 3) the godly can look back over their long history of failure and say, “The Lord hath been mindful of us.” Having experienced Jehovah's care for them in the past, they can look on to the future with confidence, and say He will bless Israel, the house of Aaron, and all that fear the Lord, both small and great. Moreover, those He blesses are increased, and blessed in the present, for says the psalmist - “Ye are blessed,” He who blesses is the Maker of heaven and earth.

(vv. 16-18) The closing verses present the result of being blessed by the Creator. The heavens are the Lord's, but the earth hath He given to the children of men to be held for His praise. If we are “blessed of the Lord” it is in order that we may “Bless the Lord” (vv. 15-16). The psalm does not look beyond death: the blessing of which it speaks is not heavenly as with the Christian. It is the millennial life of blessing that the psalmist has in view, when he says, “We will bless the Lord from this time forth and for ever more.” Of the heavenly life beyond death he knows nothing.

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 115". "Smith's Writings". 1832.