1 Not unto us, O Lord of heaven,
but unto you be glory given.
In love and truth you do fulfill
the counsels of your sovereign will;
though nations fail your power to own,
yet you still reign, and you alone.
2 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.
3 So let us trust in God alone,
the Lord, whose grace and power are known;
and our complete allegiance yield
to God who is our help and shield.
Join, heaven and earth, in sweet accord;
sing "Hallelujah, praise the Lord!"
Number five of the eight "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 115 was probably composed by a priest or Levite as a liturgy of praise for temple worship. Some scholars suggest that it was originally used at the dedication of the second temple (Ezra 6:16) after the return from Babylonian exile. This psalm stands third in the "Egyptian Hallel" used in Jewish liturgy at the annual religious festivals prescribed in the Torah. At Passover, Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal; 115 through 118 were sung after the meal. In this psalm many voices speak. Here is a probable scenario: vv. 1-8, 12-13, and 16-18–the people; vv. 9-11–the Levitical choir; vv. 14-15–a priest. The psalmist praises God for his love, faithfulness, and sovereign power (st. 1, 5). He belittles the idols of the nations (st. 2), exhorts Israel to trust in the LORD (st. 3), and pronounces a blessing upon God's people (st. 4). The (altered) versification is from the 1912 Psalter.
What we know as the attributes of God reveal his character and being. For these, he is worthy of praise and adoration. Even before he says or does anything, he is praise-worthy. The opening words of Belgic Confession, Article 1 declare that God is “eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, unchangeable, infinite, almighty; completely wise, just, and good, and the overflowing source of all good.”
The Lord’s Prayer ends with a doxology, and Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 52, Question and Answer 128 extrapolates: “Your holy name…should receive all the praise, forever.” After expressing our trust in the total care of God for all things, Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 9, Question and Answer 26 declares, “God is able to do this because he is Almighty God and desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.” And so we express our praise and adoration to God for who he is.