115. Not unto Us, O LORD of Heaven

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,
you are the King you reign 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 O Israel, trust in God alone,
the LORD, whose grace and power 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.

4 All you that fear him and adore,
the LORD increase you more and more;
both great and small who God confess,
you and your children he will bless.
You all are blest by him who made
the heavens and earth's foundations laid.

5 The heavens are God's since time began,
but he has given the earth to man.
The dead praise not the living God,
but we will sound his praise abroad.
Yes, we will ever bless his name;
O praise the LORD, his praise proclaim.

Text Information
First Line: Not unto us, O LORD of heaven
Title: Not unto Us, O LORD of Heaven
Meter: 88 88 88
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Election; New Year - Old Year; Eternal Life (1 more...)
Source: Psalter, 1912, alt.
Tune Information
Composer: Ernest R. Kroeger, 1862-1934
Meter: 88 88 88
Key: D Major

Text Information:

A liturgy of praise including an exhortation to trust in the LORD, followed by a priestly benediction.

Scripture References:
st. 1 =vv. 1-3
st. 2 = vv. 4-8
st. 3 =vv. 9-12
st. 4 = vv. 13-15
st. 5 =vv. 16-18

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.

Liturgical Use:
Beginning of worship; profession of faith, ordination/ commissioning, marriage, and family services (st. 3-5).

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

Ernest Richard Kroeger (b. St. Louis, MO, 1862; d. St. Louis, 1934) wrote GAIRNEY BRIDGE in gospel-hymn style. The tune was set to Psalm 115 also in the 1912 Psalter. The tune should be sung in harmony, ably supported by organ articulation that points clearly to three beats per bar. The liturgical dialogue built into this psalm may be expressed through antiphonal performance: stanzas 1, 2, and 5 by everyone; stanza 3 by one group; and stanza 4 by another.

Kroeger left his mercantile business in 1885 and began formal studies in music, although he had been organist of Grace Episcopal Church in St. Louis at the age of fifteen. From 1878 to 1885 he served as organist for Trinity Episcopal Church and from 1885 to 1921 for the (Unitarian) Church of the Messiah. A founder of the Kroeger School of Music, he was also director of music at Forest Park College for Women, and he led a number of choirs in St. Louis. Kroeger composed orchestral works, string quartets, and various pieces for organ and voices.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

MIDI file: MIDI Preview
(Faith Alive Christian Resources)
More media are available on the text authority and tune authority pages.

NOT UNTO US, O LORD OF HEAVEN (Gray Psalter Hymnal 115)
PowerPoint Presentation for Projection
NOT UNTO US, O LORD OF HEAVEN (Blue Psalter 226)
PowerPoint Presentation for Projection
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