READING: Psalms 113-115, 1 Corinthians 6
“Not to us, Yahweh, but to Your name give glory.”
We sing the praise chorus, but I’m not sure we always listen to the lyrics. I confess that while I really like the tune of this chorus, I haven’t always thought about the chorus as much as I now have after reading Psalm 115.
“Not to us, Yahweh, but to Your name give glory,” the psalmist wrote (Psalm 115:1), “not to us.” I read those words, and applications bounce around in my head. “Lord, don’t let the glory come to me . . . even if I live in an evangelical world that too often promotes pastoral celebrities more than shepherds . . . and I live in a culture that magnifies my PhD degree as the highest in the land . . . and I serve in a denomination where ‘who you know’ and ‘how big your numbers are’ matter . . . .” Frankly, I, like so many other believers and church leaders, have enough ego that I like it to be affirmed at times.
I still remember the first denominational award my church received when I was just a 20-year-old pastor. We had baptized so many people that our baptism: church member ratio was one of the highest in the state of Ohio. I received a letter and a certificate from our denominational leaders, and one of our state “bigwigs” came to visit me personally. I couldn’t wait until the news of our church’s achievement appeared in our state denominational newspaper so others would see “what God was going” – or so I at least said, because it was the spiritual thing to say. Looking back, I would be lying to say that I wasn’t compelled by my ego in those days. Having my church recognized once, I wanted us to be recognized every year. The bigger the venue of the recognition, the better it would be for me because more people would know how God was using me.
I cringe as I write those words today. I would have sung the praise chorus back then, and I would have sung loudly, “Not to us, Lord, but to Your name be the glory” – all the while hoping others would see how much God was using me to reach people. I may be remembering those days too harshly, but I think my honest praise chorus would have been back then, “Not to anyone else, Lord, be my glory. Not to anyone else.”
Wow. I’m embarrassed and ashamed. That’s what the Word of God does to us sometimes, you know – it peels back the layers of our soul and forces us to see ourselves with Holy Spirit insight and truthfulness. On the other hand, I’m grateful I still have the privilege of reading God’s Word and writing these devotions today. He’s a gracious God, and I have much reason to praise Him “both now and forever” (Psalm 115:18).
- Listen to the praise chorus linked above, and then honor the Lord with your own singing.
- Confess throughout the day any time that your ego gets in the way of God’s getting His glory.
PRAYER: “Father, to You alone be the glory. Amen.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Psalms 116-118, 1 Corinthians 7:1-19