Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
The heavens and the earth are set in contrast with each other. And their contrast is in this, that, while the heavens are out of the reach of man, the expression and result of forces which he cannot control, the earth is what man makes it. David's verse has in it the lofty description of the great philosophy of the universe that the source of all power is beyond man's reach, and that the place of man is just to furnish in his faithful and obedient life a medium through which the power that is in the heavens may descend and work upon the earth.
I. Here is the fundamental difference in the lives of men. Man finds the world in his hands. Everywhere the world is his. But everywhere the difference of man lies here, in whether this mastery seems to be absolute or whether it seems to be a trust. Absolute mastery means self-indulgence. The mastery of trust means humility, conscientiousness, elevation, charity, the fear of God and love of man.
II. It is in connection with this higher and true view of the giving of the world by God to man that the coming of Christ into the world gains its true meaning. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." The Giver came with clear assurance of Himself, making the men who saw Him know that it was He, touching the earth which was His own with a wise power that called out from it capacities which the poor tenant had never discovered, not taking it back out of man's keeping, but making Himself man, so that all men might see what it might really mean for man to keep, and use, and work the earth of God. So God came to His world.
III. What has all this to do with foreign missions? The fact which Christ comes to establish, the consciousness which He comes to renew, is one that belongs to all the earth. The desire to let the whole redeemed world know of its redemption moves in the heart of every man vividly conscious of the redemption in himself.
Phillips Brooks, Twenty Sermons, p. 173.
References: Psalm 115:17, Psalm 115:18.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes: Genesis to Proverbs, p. 160. Psalm 116:1.—Ibid., Sermons, vol. v., No. 240. Psalm 116:3-4, Psalm 116:8.—Ibid., vol. xxi., No 1216. Psalm 116:6.—G. Dawson, Sermons on Daily Life and Duty, p. 76.
Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God?
But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.
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.
They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
O Israel, trust thou 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.
Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
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.
He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.
The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children.
Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth.
The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath 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 for evermore. Praise the LORD.