Not To Us, Not To Us! – by Eliezer Gonzalez

Jan 11, 2016 1036

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 1.46.15 pmNot to us, O Lord, not to us,

    but to your name goes all the glory

    for your unfailing love and faithfulness. – Psalm 115:1, NLT

Can there be a more striking opening line to any of Psalms that this?

This is the more than a statement, it is a desperate prayer. The Psalmist not only repeats it for emphasis, but he pleads with God… Not to us, O Lord, Not to us.

This line begs two questions: “If not to us, then to whom?” and “Why?”

The answer of to whom goes all the glory is to the Lord. Not one grain, not one particle of glory is to go to us… not to us, not to us, but to the Lord.

Why the desperation in the Psalmist’s prayer? Because ego and selfishness are everywhere in this world, everywhere around us, and they have wormed themselves into our very beings. Because every fibre in our bodies tempts us to take at least some of the glory for ourselves.

One of the greatest temptations for the believer is to be deceived into thinking that we are somehow better than the next person, because we have had the intelligence to believe, but they have not. Or because we have made better life choices than they have.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us…

The answer to the question of “Why?” is because of the Lord’s “unfailing love and faithfulness.” Here the Psalmist uses two different Hebrew words.

The first word is chesed, translated as “unfailing love” in the NLT, is beyond the ability of the English language to translate adequately in a single word. In Hebrew it refers to God’s unfailing covenantal love for his people, which is always entirely undeserved, which is rooted in his pity and mercy, and that perfectly reconciles his righteousness and love. I told you it couldn’t be expressed in one word in English!

Basically it means that all the praise, fame, and acclaim – all the glory – goes to God, because we are entirely undeserving of anything at all that we have. However, in his love and mercy, that will never let us go, he has saved us.

The second word that the Psalmist uses is emeth, which is translated in the NLT as “faithfulness.” This Hebrew word is also a covenantal term and refers to God’s absolute reliability, and utter trustworthiness. What is God trustworthy and reliable about? His chesed towards sinners such as us.

When your religious experience is based on this truth as its foundation, then you may be sure that you are in a safe place.

I am so far from being as mercifully loving as God is, as the heaven is from the depths of the earth. I am as far from being as faithful and true as God is, as the East is from the West. All my righteousness is but filthy rags.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us,

    but to your name goes all the glory.

– Eliezer Gonzalez

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