You Become What You Worship: Introducing Psalm 115A

This past Sunday at my church, we started a new round of Psalms for “Psalm of the Month” in the morning and afternoon services. We sing more than one Psalm in each service, but we focus on one Psalm for the whole month in each service as well. In the afternoon we are singing Psalm 115A from The Book of Psalms for Worship. Here is a meditation on Psalm 115:1-8 (the verses that we sing) that I wrote for my congregation. I encourage you to meditate on the whole Psalm as well.

Introducing Psalm 115A:

In this Psalm, we give our God all the glory for His faithfulness and steadfast love to us. And in response to those who make fun of us for worshipping a God who is invisible, we respond with a sort of holy mocking in return where we point out the fact that although their gods have mouths and eyes and ears, amongst other body parts, they can’t speak, they can’t see, and they can’t hear. In other words, they can’t act to be faithful and loving to them in their time of need. Indeed, in the words of Paul, “we know that ‘an idol has no real existence,’ and that ‘there is no God but one'” (1 Cor. 8:4). But our God has always been and always will be faithful to us. He has proven this to us ultimately in the person and work of Jesus Christ, God the Son, who was manifested to us in the flesh, died for our sins, and was raised the third day.

It’s also interesting to note that in this Psalm God’s Word teaches us that we become like what we worship. Notice the 5th stanza in our Psalter: “Whoever makes these lifeless gods–these idols which are vain–whoever puts his trust in them in time becomes the same.” This is why it is so important that we worship the one true God every week, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We worship because it takes our idolatrous hearts off of our own idols and the idols of the world, false gods who cannot save us or satisfy us, and draws our attention to the one true God as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word. And as we worship God the Father through faith in Christ and by the Holy Spirit, the Bible tells us once again that we become like what we worship: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).

I look forward to worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with you this Sunday and becoming more like Christ!

(BTW: Dr. G.K. Beale wrote a book on this theme of becoming what you worship. You can also find introductions to all of the Psalms by Rev. Terry Johnson here.)

8 thoughts on “You Become What You Worship: Introducing Psalm 115A

  1. Rev. Cochran,

    Again, you’re probably not surprised that I’m “liking” this. But seriously, Psalm 115 has always been one of my favorite Scriptures for its unapologetic honesty. It’s been popping up a lot in my devotional life lately. And along with it, I keep remembering the quote–was it from Martin Luther?–that “the God we imagine is the God we get.”

    It’s almost as if idol worshipers are “made in the image of their gods” just as Christians are made in the image of our God. If their deities are blind, deaf, and inert, they too will be blind and deaf to God’s truth and unable to do anything pleasing to him. Feel free to correct me if that’s not a correct interpretation, but it’s just an interesting thought that struck me.

    Thanks again!

    Michael Kearney
    West Sayville URC
    Long Island, New York

    • Hi Michael,

      Thanks again for your thoughts. I think what you write is true. As the Psalm says, they become like what they worship (i.e. created in the image of those idols). They become more and more lifeless like them and eventually experience eternal death.

      The only way to know and experience life truly is to worship the one true God in Christ and by the Spirit and to be re-created in the image of Christ. The theme of life is a key theme in John’s writings. Apart from Jesus there’s no true life:

      John 1:4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

      John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

      John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

      John 6:27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

      John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

      John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

      John 6:63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

      John 8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

      John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. . .15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. . .17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. . .28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

      John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.* Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

      John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

      John 17:2 since qyou have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, uthat they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

      John 20:31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life ain his name.

      1John 5:13  I write fthese things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may now that you have eternal life.

      1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

      When we worship idols we become like them. . .lifeless more and more until Jesus returns and we experience eternal death. When we worship the one true God in Christ we know life and we know it abundantly until we experience it consummately when Jesus returns. Until then: “we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

      • Thanks for these references–they really do give pause for thought. For the Christian, I guess the only adequate response is that given in Psalm 56 (which I’ve just been meditating on over at URC Psalmody)–

        I must perform my vows to you, O God;
        I will render thank offerings to you.
        For you have delivered my soul from death,
        yes, my feet from falling,
        that I may walk before God
        in the light of life.

        What an indescribable truth.


  2. Pingback: Daily Roundup | Rated R For Reformed

  3. This is good stuff! Love the teaching and it is scary but true! The Lord says, you shall have no other gods before me! This is to protect us for He knows the end result is not something we really desire. God is do good

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