“Where are you going?!”

These were my words to friends when we reached the top of Stone Mountain in Georgia. It’s exactly what it sounds like, a mountain made of stones. I am not a mountain climber, more like a steep trail walker. Steep trail escapades have allowed me to see God’s creation from some of our world’s most beautiful peaks. No matter how steep the climb, short or long the tread, I am always amazed when I get to the top.

Even though I was out of breath, hungry, and my mouth was drier than ashy elbows, I could not pass up an opportunity to see God’s glory from another angle. So, my friends left me to gaze out at endless trees, two cities and even a peek of the Appalachian Mountains. I mediated on this truth from Psalm 115:1-3:

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
For the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!
Why should the nations say,
Where is their God?”
Our God is in the heavens;
He does all that he pleases.”

Psalm 115 is part of the Hallel Jewish prayers sung during Passover in remembrance of God’s love and faithfulness in freeing them from bondage of the Egyptians, parting the Red Sea (Exodus 12-14), and other miracles. Aware of their own unfaithfulness, they fiercely proclaim with repetition,

Not to us, not to us but your name give glory.

In other words, may the weight or heaviness of anything good done to or for us be ascribed to God alone. There was indeed temptation to forget the work of their God and a fight to uphold God’s reputation as Supreme in the face of doubtful nations that taunted them with questions like, “Where is your God?” The Israelites kept this song as a constant reminder to the answer,

Our God is in the heavens;
He does all that he pleases.

It’s easy to remember God’s glory when you gaze at the world from a mountaintop.  The closer you get to the Sun, the more you see how truly small our existence is. I felt so small suspended on 1,000 feet of stone that I did not create.

Yet in the valley, we lead deceiving lives. We are fashioned to forget God’s glory. We set our own alarm clocks and awaken on the buzz, brush our own teeth, pick out our own clothes, commute to work or school, get paychecks, homes, and cars in our own names. We deny our own glory with phrases like, “All glory to God,” yet we have only to return to our me, mine, and more culture and almost everything we do tells us that the glory is our own.

This God that the Israelites praise in Psalm 115 is the Creator of the entire cosmos! Within it are planets, stars, worlds, and our very lives. He is the invisible God who sent his Son as the firstborn of all creation to reconcile all that He made to Himself. Through His Son, Jesus, not only do the Israelites have a right to sing this song of praise, but also all who believe in His Son can have this privilege (John 3:16-18)! He created all beauty, seen and unseen. If we refuse to revere God’s richness with our lips and our lives, the very stones he created will cry out (Luke 19:28-40) just as they did to me the day I climbed Stone Mountain.

In what areas of your life are you most tempted to ascribe glory to yourself? Sometimes, we are not blatantly disregarding God’s glory but in these moments, we can retreat or we can expose our weakness to God and others by resting in His strength. How can you give God glory through your weaknesses this week? How can you practice remembering God’s faithfulness and love towards you?

Take a moment to read all of Psalm 115 and reflect on God’s goodness in your own life. Write a song of praise so that you can remember His specific goodness to you.

Not to us, not us, but to your name give glory!