Through the Bible Day by Day
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake.
POWERLESS IDOLS; OUR POWERFUL GOD
Evidently this psalm was intended to be sung by various voices: Psa_115:1-8 by the whole congregation in unison, while the sacrifice was being offered; Psa_115:9-11, by a solo voice giving the first line of each couplet, the whole audience chanting the refrain; Psa_115:12-15, by the priest as a benediction; Psa_115:16-18, by the whole congregation, which now breaks into glad hallelujahs.
It was composed during the early days of the return from Babylon, when the small groups of settlers were surrounded by the jeers and scoffs of their enemies. This was their reply, as they brought out the scathing contrast between the idols of their neighbors and the majesty of Jehovah. We are reminded of Isaiah’s description of an idol factory. The idols had outward semblance and no power. Jehovah had no outward semblance, but all power. Let us take to heart the threefold invitation to faith in Psa_115:9-11, and reckon on God as our help in the battle and our shield against our foes. The smallest may get his blessing as well as the greatest, Psa_115:13. We can never impose a strain on the resources of God, however great our demands.