Read: Psalm 115:1; Ephesians 2:8 – 9; 1 Corinthians 1:26 – 31; Jeremiah 9:23 – 24; 2 Corinthians 10:17; Galatians 6:14
Psalm 115 is the third psalm in the Great Hallel sung by Jews at the Passover meal. In Psalm 115 the psalmist shows what worship is not and what it is necessary for true worship. Psalm 115:1 establishes that worship is not self-glorifying nor man–glorifying. What are some possible examples of ways in which we glorify self or people in worship and thus miss its true significance?
Think About It: What are some ways I am tempted to give glory to myself or to other people rather than to God? Is Galatians 6:14 true of me?
Prayer: To God be the glory.
Read: Psalm 115:2 – 8; Exodus 20:1 – 6, 32:1 – 5; Colossians 3:5
Psalm 115:2 – 8 establishes that genuine worship is not idolatry. Idolatry may involve making an image and worshiping it, even if that image is an attempt to represent the true God. Idolatry does not require a graven image, however. If we invent and worship a god according to our own ideas rather than worshipping the God who reveals Himself to us through Scripture and in Christ, we are committing idolatry.
Think About It: What does Psalm 115:2 suggest as a possible motivation for idolatry? According to 115:8, what happens to idolaters?
Prayer: That I might cast down every idol and worship the God of revelation.
Read: Psalm 115:1, 108:4, 138:2; John 14:6; 17:17; Proverbs 14:22; 16:6
True worship involves the glorification of God. “Giving glory” means to make great, to magnify, to ascribe excellence and worth, to give credit and thanks. The psalmist humbly asks God to glorify Himself. Recognizing our inability to adequately glorify God seems to be a prerequisite of worship.
Think About It: Psalm 115:1 provides two reasons for glorifying God. What are they, and why are they significant?
Prayer: That I might glorify God for His mercy and His truth.
Read: Psalm 115:3; Matthew 6:9; 2 Chronicles 20:6; Isaiah 57:15
True worship recognizes God’s objective reality and His absolute sovereignty. Idolatrous worship makes an imaginary god who does what we want; real worship recognizes that God is really there, outside of our minds, and that He does things according to His good counsel, with no need to consult us for our advice or our permission.
Think About It: What is the significance of Jesus’ instruction to pray to Our Father “in heaven”? According to James 4:13 – 16, what is a practical way in which we must acknowledge God’s sovereignty?
Prayer: Glory to God for His sovereignty.
Read: Psalm 115:9 -15; Hebrews 11:6; John 14:6 – 11; 1 John 2:23
Genuine worship is impossible without trusting in God, or in other words, without faith. Through trust we show that we mean what we say when we ascribe worth to God and recognize Him as Sovereign. The psalmist gives the instruction to trust to three categories of people: Israel (the covenant people), the house of Aaron (the priesthood, the religious leaders), and those who fear the Lord (all the household of faith, including the Gentiles).
Think About It: According to 1 John 2:23 and John 14:6, what is the only way to have the trust in God required for genuine worship? Why did the psalmist include three categories of people in his call to trust the Lord?
Prayer: Praise God that I have been included in the call to worship Him.
Read: Psalm 115:9 – 15; Genesis 15:1; Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 33:20; Luke 12:30 – 32; Philippians 4:19
According to Psalm 115:9-11 we should trust the Lord because he is our help and our shield. According to Psalm 115:12 we should trust the Lord because He is mindful of us. According to Psalm 115:12 – 15 we should trust the Lord because He blesses us and provides for us. Genuine worship will involve recognition of all these truths about God’s providence towards us.
Think About It: What does the image of God as a “shield” suggest about God, and about us? Where am I under attack? From what do I need protection? How does Ephesians 1:4 relate to the concept that God is mindful of me? For how long has He been mindful of me?
Prayer: Praise God that He thinks of me, blesses me, protects me.
Read: Psalm 115:16 – 18; Psalm 22:25; Psalm 35:18; Psalm 40:9 – 10; Luke 12:8 – 9
Genuine worship involves recognition of our responsibility to bear a testimony to God. The dead — that is, the spiritually dead– do not praise Him; but while we who are God’s children are on this earth, we must begin the praise of Him that will continue on to eternity.
Think About It: A very literal interpretation of passages like Psalm 116:17 led the Sadducees to deny the possibility of life after death. What Scriptural evidence could I use to convince a Sadducee that his interpretation of Psalm 116:17 was incorrect (e.g. Job 19:26; Revelation 7:9 – 10)?
Prayer: For my worship to be a witness to God.