According to legend, Swiss patriot William Tell shot an apple off of his son’s head in order to secure his freedom. As the legend goes, Tell shot with perfect accuracy and his son was unharmed. Although there are many other details to this legend, the one thing many people remember is the pinpoint accuracy of Tell. People remember that if Tell had been slightly off target, the results would have been fatal.
I think that this is a good analogy between Tell’s accuracy in hitting the target and our need for biblical accuracy in worshipping God. If Tell’s aim was slightly off target, the results would have been disastrous and in the same way, if our arrow of adoration toward God is slightly off, the results can be disastrous.
Psalm 115 begins with “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and truth’s sake.” We must aim the arrow of our adoration at God alone. We must resist the elevation of self or anything else that would try to steal the glory where it is due. We must constantly check our hearts and root out the natural inclination to glory in the arm of flesh.
So how do we keep the scope of our lives dialed in on the Lord of glory? The Psalmist helps us to do this by contrasting the greatness of our God with the impotency of the “gods” of this world. We are reminded that “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (v. 3). God does not dwell in temples made with hands. Rather, He abides as Sovereign over every atom contained in the universe. What an amazing God! However in contrast to the excellencies of our God are the works of men’s hands- “Their idols are silver and gold…they have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat” (vv. 4-7). The idols of men are lifeless in contrast to our living God. They are created by men in contrast to our life-giving God. They are irrational in contrast to our omniscient God. They are blind in contrast to our God who sees all things. Worst of all, the Bible declares, “They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them” (v. 8). Those who behold these idols become like these idols.
The response is clear: “…trust thou in the LORD” and fear God for he is truly a help and shield. If our worship is off target, it will lead to idolatry in some form. However, if we get our sights dialed in on God and His glory, we will learn to “bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore” (v. 18).