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*Glorifying God in the Church by our Prayer (Psalm 115:1)*
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Psalm 115 \\ *1 **Not to us, O Lord, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.*
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This one little verse can change your life.
In some ways it has already changed the way I think and pray but I hope it will continue to do so more and more.
This verse changed the direction of the life of Adoniram Judson, the missionary, when he was wrestling with the Lord’s call on his life.
It was essentially the truth of this verse, the same principle that affected the direction of a young Charles Spurgeon as he was contemplating pursuing formal education and examining his heart as to his motive for seeking great things for himself.
This one verse might turn your whole world upside down, if you let it (and if God might be so gracious).
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory because of your lovingkindness, because of your truth”
 
At seminary, one of the very moving chapel services we would have was the service where graduating seniors would give about a 5 minute testimony before the student body.
One testimony of a South American brother stands out to me.
He began by reading our text “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
And then he proceeded to share his testimony of God’s grace in His life, of God’s amazing provision, of God’s providence in remarkable circumstances, in his conversion, in meeting and marrying his bride, in God taking care of him every step of the way and preparing his future place of ministry.
-          I don’t remember the details of what he said but what stuck with me was as he discussed each of those things, he kept saying “All I can say in response is ‘not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.’”
-          As he spoke of his conversion by God’s sovereign grace, he again said “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
-          As he shared about God’s provision and providence in his life and through seminary, he again said “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
-          As he spoke of his wife and family and God’s blessing in the past and God’s plan for his future, he again said “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
-          I don’t even remember this classmate’s name, but what I will always remember was he kept saying to the Lord “to YOUR NAME give glory” (and I think that’s what he desired and I think that’s what the original psalmist desired.
Interestingly, the writer’s name of Ps 115 is not recorded but God’s name is what v. 1 wants to be glorified)
-          Walking away from that testimony, the focus was not on man, it was on God and that’s what I left with, and I suspect many others were refreshed and revitalized and refocused on God’s glory.
Everyone in that chapel had that verse memorized before they left by repetition and I had that phrase echoing blessedly in my mind for many days.
My prayer today is that the same great God who worked through this passage on that day would work in mighty ways through this text today, and that we would walk away not focused on man or us or anything other than God’s name and glory and that our prayers would glorify God as we often pray from the heart “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”
This verse has meant a lot to Christians through the ages.
Through at least the 19th century, Spurgeon records that a part of the Latin version of this Psalm was frequently sung after grace at public dinners as a constant reminder to guide against pride and remind them of their dependence on God.
Even as God gives us each day our daily bread, it was a reminder to pray first and foremost to honor and hallow his name.
On September 11, 1683, Vienna was under siege by the Turks as Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe.
By one account, the followers of Mohammed were conquering the followers of Christ and much of Europe had fallen already to their advances in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia.
Wherever the Muslim armies went, they plundered cities, took slaves, turned churches into mosques, and converted many thousands of captives to Islam at the point of a sword.
Vienna was a strategic location for the advance of Islam, because the fall of that city would open the way into the heart of Austria and therefore the rich principalities of Southern Germany.
It was on September 11 of that year that an alliance of armies from Christian nations arrived at the gates of Vienna.
On September 12, 1683, John Sobieski, King of Poland, defeated the immense army of Turks besieging Vienna.
It has been described as “a turning point in history, the final great Eastern invasion which has thundered at that gate of Europe; and … the Turkish power and [Muslim] faith [declined – perhaps not coincidentally why radical Muslim terrorists used the anniversary of Sept. 11 to stage their attempt to reverse this great defeat of Islam in the 17th century.
When the Muslim army was defeated on that day] there was indescribable enthusiasm as the psalm [115] was sung” (John Ker, /The Psalms in History and Biography, /136)
 
History records that King Henry V was given this Psalm and this verse as a motto to guide his life and his battles.
In 1415 at Agincourt on St. Crispin’s Day (October 25) the English army overwhelmingly conquered the French army in King Henry’s quest to unite Christendom against the advancing Turks.
French historians put the deaths at 1,600 English to nearly 10,000 losses on the French side.
Shakespeare’s version put the English losses as far less, but whatever the exact number, it was a crushing victory by England.
(Boice, 935).
‘After the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the English army fresh from battle, chanted on bended knees by the order of Henry V, the opening verse of the Psalm “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give the praise.”’
(Lockyer, /Psalms, /491.)
It is said that William Wilberforce meditated thankfully on this psalm when the bill to abolish slavery went through the British parliament.
About a year ago, an excellent movie on his life came out called /Amazing Grace/
 
 
 
THE HALLEL HYMNS
This psalm throughout history had a great place of importance for the Jews as well.
Psalm 115 belongs to a cluster of Psalms the Jews called the Hallel psalms (Hallel is Hebrew for “praise”), beginning with Psalm 113 through 118 were referred to as the Egyptian Hallel.
Hallel-ujah means “praise the Lord” (jah is short for Yahweh) and in the Hebrew it is the last phrase in Psalm 113, 114-115 (one psalm in LXX and Vulgate), Psalm 116, and Psalm 117
 
The Psalter summarizes the message of Psalm 115:1-11 this way:
 
Not unto us, O Lord of Heav’n,
But unto Thee be glory given;
In love and truth Thou dost fulfill
The counsels of Thy sovereign will;
 
Though nations fail Thy pow’r to own,
Yet Thou dost reign, and Thou alone.
The idol gods of heathen lands
Are but the work of human hands;
 
They cannot see, they cannot speak,
Their ears are deaf, their hands are weak;
Like them shall be all those who hold
To gods of silver and of gold.
Let Israel trust in God alone,
The Lord Whose grace and pow’r are known;
To Him your full allegiance yield,
And He will be your Help and Shield;
 
All those who fear Him God will bless,
His saints have proved His faithfulness.
PASSOVER BACKGROUND
 
Psalms 113-114 were recited or sung before the Passover meal, and then after the meal at the fourth and final cup they sang Psalm 115-118.
According to Matthew 26:30, Jesus and His disciples after the last supper, sang a song together before going to the Mount of Olives, probably beginning with the line of this Psalm.
It was very fitting, because Christ’s prayer to the Father before this time was that His name would be glorified as He came to complete the work God had called Him to, for the glory of His Father.
Traditionally, the Jews would finish singing Psalm 115-118 and would also say these brief prayers:
 
‘All Thy works shall praise Thee, Jehovah our God.
And Thy saints, the righteous, who do Thy good pleasure, and all Thy people, the house of Israel, with joyous song let them praise, and bless, and magnify, and *glorify*, and exalt, and reverence, and sanctify, and ascribe the kingdom *to Thy name*, O our King!
For it is good to praise Thee, and pleasure to sing praises unto *Thy name*, for from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God.’
‘The breath of all that lives shall *praise Thy name*, Jehovah our God.
And the spirit of all flesh shall *continually glorify* and exalt Thy memorial, O our King!
For from everlasting to everlasting Thou art God, and besides Thee we have no King, Redeemer, or Saviour’[1]
 
They knew how to pray well from the Old Testament, and we would do well to learn in the church to pray as they did in the O.T. assembly.
This part of Passover service for the Jews began and ended with the note of God’s glory, not only the first line of their concluding hymns but in their closing prayer saying essentially again “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your Name give glory”
 
The great Puritan hymnwriter Isaac Watts summarized the Psalm’s intro this way:
 
Not to ourselves, who are but dust,
Not to ourselves is glory due,
Eternal God, thou only just,
Thou only gracious, wise, and true.
NOT TO US
This is a great way to start.
And starting there is not enough, he says it again.
The repetition puts great emphasis.
It’s NOT about us.
It’s not about us.
It’s all about you, God.
This is a great mantra to say, this is a great manner of prayer.
O that God would write this indelibly on our hearts and lives and that we would pray more this way!
 
Henry Law wrote: Man's utter nothingness is here acknowledged.
In God alone all power resides.
The idols of the heathen are the vanity of vanities.
Let all confidence be placed in God!
… [A godly believer] shudders at the thought of the assumption of any power by man.
We cannot sink too low.
We cannot raise our God too high.
There is no depth from which we may not look up to Him.
Let the assurance be always ours that His mercy and His truth will certainly befriend.
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