This introduction serves as an invitation to join in an on-going journey of discovery. You will not need to buy tickets nor make travel plans. All that's required is your Bible and a quiet place to read and meditate. Together we'll explore the Book of Psalms, Israel’s hymnal and longest collection of poetry.  

Psalm 115:9-13

Trust in Yahweh

(9) O Israel, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and shield. (10) O house of Aaron, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and shield. (11) You who fear Yahweh, trust in Yahweh! He is their help and shield. (12) Yahweh has remembered us. He will bless us. He will bless the house of Israel. He will bless the house of Aaron (13) He will bless those who fear Yahweh, the small together with the great.

Almost every phrase in this brief segment is repeated. The name of Yahweh occurs six times in five verses. Having introduced the word “trust” (vs. 8) to warn the reader against trusting in idols, the psalmist exhorts the covenant nation to “trust in Yahweh” three times (vss. 9, 10, & 11). Each time his exhortation is followed by the same refrain, “He is their help and shield.” Another repeated phrase, “fear Yahweh,” is found twice (vss. 11 & 13). Finally, the psalmist uses the phrase, “he will bless,” four times (vss. 12 & 13).

I.  Exhortations to “trust in Yahweh who is our help and shield”  (9-11)
II.  Encouragement that “he will bless us”  (12 & 13)

Those who continue to trust in Yahweh can expect to receive his abundant blessings.

The repetitiveness found in this section of the psalm can seem a bit excessive unless we realize that this psalm was probably designed for use in congregational worship. The leader (L) would voice one phrase after another with the congregation (C) responding antiphonally:
   L: O Israel, trust in Yahweh.
         C: He is their help and shield.
   L: O house of Aaron, trust in Yahweh. 
         C: He is their help and shield.
   L: You who fear Yahweh, trust in Yahweh. 
         C: He is their help and shield.
The repetitions also help us remember a truth we so easily forget, the need to trust in Yahweh. We need this message hammered home in our hearts lest we, like Israel, forget God and turn to some other source of strength which will never sustain us. 

In the days before sophisticated electronic devices, naval pilots had to land their planes on aircraft carriers by sight and skill. They were told in their training to repeat to themselves the phrase, “Keep your eye on the ball, keep your eye on the ball,” as they came in for landing. The ball was an amber beacon light that enabled the pilot to determine visually the precise angle for lining up his plane for its final approach. It served as a reliable guide for landing safely on the carrier’s narrow deck.

Our duty, amidst all the distractions of our lives, is to keep our eyes fixed on the ball, to focus on trusting in Yahweh alone who is our help and our shield. Helen Lemmel wrote a simple chorus based on Hebrews 12:2 that captures this very thought: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face, / and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

Psalm 115:14-18

Psalm 115:1-8