Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk,
nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them,
and so will all who trust in them.
Have you ever been ridiculed because of your belief in Jesus? Felt crazy to believe in a God you’ve never seen? Does God sometimes seem distant from you?
Psalm 115 reminds Israel that God is faithful. They have been defeated and carried off into slavery – they would have wondered if God had forgotten them. Psalm 115 quotes an insult thrown at them: “Where is their God?”. Israel no longer exists – so to the nations, this means that Israel’s God is weak and powerless to save his people. God’s name is being ridiculed: obviously, God either doesn’t know the plight of his people, or worse, he knows and doesn’t care.
The gentile nations worshipped idols that could be seen – that had mouths, ears, noses, hands, feet, and throats. If they won political victories – like defeating the Israelites – they assumed this meant that their god was the most powerful god. However, as Psalm 115 points out, their idols are worthless. They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, walk, or utter a single sound. They are completely passive, and know nothing about the people who worship them.
How different is this to the one true God!
God is a faithful God. God is a relational God. Throughout history, he has related with his people – faithfully, despite Israel’s repeated rejection of him. He spoke to them, he listened to them. He cared for them in many ways. Ultimately, we can know and trust this one true God today because we look to Jesus. Jesus is God’s ultimate faithfulness to us – God himself took on a mouth, eyes, ears, a nose, hands, feet and throat. He spoke, he saw, he heard, he felt, he walked. Jesus is God speaking to us – God’s ultimate Word. And Jesus wasn’t powerless to save God’s people – in fact, he did everything to save us: he died on the cross. God is anything BUT distant from us!
We didn’t witness Jesus’ life and death first hand. Other people worship tangible gods of their own making – relationships, money, career, homes – and might say to you “where is your God?”. However, we can read the words of Jesus and the eyewitness accounts of his life in the Bible, and encourage others to do the same. Thank God now that the risen Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, and through Jesus, God hears our prayers. He knows us, and he cares.
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess… Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:14, 16
Read Psalm 115.
Read v12-13: God has remembered and will bless. How could Israel really say that in the light of the exile? In what situations are you tempted to think that God has forgotten you?
Jesus bears God’s name, and through him, we can too. Think through your plans for today. How can you bring glory to the name of Jesus?
Loving Father, thank you for the absolute assurance in Jesus that I have a relationship with you – that you haven’t forgotten or abandoned me. Thank you for dealing with my rejection of you on the cross, and opening the way for me to have this relationship with you. Help me to look to Jesus in everything that happens today, both good and bad – help me to remember in every circumstance that you know me, love me, hear me and speak to me. Please be at work through me to bring people to worship the name of Jesus instead of their own idols.
In Jesus’ name,