Vs. 1-3 indicate the inquiry of Gentiles, and the answer;
Vs. 4-8 give contrasts between idols and God;
Vs. 9-15 list God’s interactions with His people;
Vs. 16-18 remind people why idealize God now.
This is another “Hallel” Psalm, for it gives reasons to end with “hallelujah” (“praise the LORD”). The date and authorship of this Psalm are indefinite, but the challenge to idolatry in this Psalm certainly would have been an answer to the Rabshakeh. He represented Sennacherib, King of Assyria, whose army surrounded Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah, and dared “the LORD” to deliver His people (2 Kings 18:27-36). The LORD prevailed (2 Kings 19:1-37), then, and always.
Verses 1-3: (verse 1) None of us are worthy of the “glory” belonging to the “LORD,” for only His “name,” “mercy,” and “truth” deserve such praise. (verse 2) “Gentiles” (non-Israelites) question God’s Being with: “Where is He?” When worldly people define every deity in worldly terms, they cannot know “God [who] is in heaven” and “does whatever He pleases” (verse 3). God’s sovereignty is not limited to: “temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24), “neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem” (John 4:21), and remains above Jesus and the kingdom (1 Corinthians 15:25-28).
Verses 4-8: (verse 4) An “idol” (term meaning thing seen, form, figure) must be made out of physical substance, often precious metal (“silver and gold”). Humanly-devised “gods” represent qualities humans appreciate, but, as “gods,” they have absolutely no power. (verses 5-7) Idols have: wordless mouths; sightless eyes; deaf ears; insensitive noses; unfeeling hands; unmoving feet; soundless throats. (verse 8) People shape their lives to be like their “god:” poor or no communication ability; can’t see opportunity and responsibility; don’t listen to God’s rules of righteousness; disregards the stench of sin and foul living; fumbling away good works; unresponsive action; laryngitis of praise for God.
Verses 9-15: By contrast, (verse 9) the “LORD” of Israel helps and protects them; (verse 10) Aaron, Moses’ brother (Exodus 4:14), was the first of the Levitical priesthood representing those closer to the LORD in worship; (verse 11) all “who fear the LORD,” also know the living God helps and protects. (verses 12-13) That “the LORD has been mindful of us,” historically is written throughout the past, for God has helped and is helping “both small and great.” (verses 14-15) This why prayerful desires are given to God (1 Peter 5:7; 3 John 2), for all blessing come from the God who created “heaven and earth.”
Verses 16-18: (verse 16) God has total dominion from “the heavens,” but has endowed mankind with “dominion” over life on earth. (verse 17) Since all must die (Hebrews 9:27) our time is limited, for we cannot convert or worship God like we once could have, beyond the grave (Ecclesiastes 9:1-6), therefore we must give God glory from now on (verse 18). “Praise the LORD!”
Thought: God-given abilities of hearing, sight, and intelligence are to be used to learn more about God (Psalm 94:8-11). All idols are created by humans to represent some “god” or power greater than the human: sex, fame, fortune, wealth, popularity, friends, drugs, entertainment, covetousness, etc. From the Law of Moses (Exodus 20:4-5) and into the Law of Christ (1 John 5:21), God has condemned idols of every kind. One who obeys Jesus Christ has “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thessalonians 1:9).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.