Praise the Lord, my soul.
Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendour and majesty.
The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers,
flames of fire his servants.
He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
never again will they cover the earth.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
it flows between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate –
bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
The trees of the Lord are well watered,
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
There the birds make their nests;
the stork has its home in the junipers.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
He made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.
You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.
The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.
Then people go out to their work,
to their labour until evening.
How many are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number –
living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit,
they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure for ever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works –
he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.
But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.(Ps. 104:1-35 NIV)
Psalm 103 and 104 have similar beginnings and endings. Psalm 103 praises the Redeemer King and Psalm 104 praise the Creator King. The works of the Lord are evident in creation. The Lord is a very great God and is arrayed with splendour and majesty. The majesty and splendour of the Lord is revealed in the works of creation. Light is essential to life, and God is light. The light reveals the glory of the Lord and in poetic fashion the Psalmist speaks of God being covered with light. Without any exertion the Lord stretches out the heavens the way a camper would stretch out his tent. I love watching nature programmes, but is saddens me that the commentators offer their explanation of a mindless development of all the life that they see. Praise and honour are due to the Lord for the wonder of creation, for the endless beauty that is hidden in the depths of the sea and many amazing sights that we are only just discovering. God made this world beautiful and interesting for us to live in. Again poetically the Psalmist describes God laying the beams for his habitation. The Lord sits separate from creation but is involved in creation to this very day. The Psalmist uses a picture of a warrior God riding His chariot on the wings of the wind. The winds serve the Lord, and flames of fire are His servants. Everything that exists can be pressed into the service of the Lord. I heard an interesting comment yesterday, that Satan is God’s Satan. A little shocking when you first hear it but absolutely true. The Lord utilises the work of Satan to bring about His own plan. Hell is God’s hell and Satan the fallen servant of the Lord will be ruled by God in hell. The Lord is surrounded by His servants, whether that be angels or the inanimate creation. The Lord rides the chariot and rules all in this world.
The Lord laid the foundations of the earth, they have been established and cannot be moved. The earth is secure because God maintains everything by the power of His word. God separated the earth from the waters. God spoke and the waters receded. The voice of the Lord was like the roar of thunder and the waters took flight to obey His command. The Lord had assigned a place for the waters and so the mountains and valleys emerged as places that God would populate with living creatures. Many myths have been told about creation. One myth is that Baal fought Yamm, the god of the sea and the sea retreated. But God did not fight, there was no foe to fight, He spoke the word and it was done.
The Lord made provision for the created animals. The springs pour fresh water into the ravines. The Lord waters the earth and the land is satisfied by the fruit of the Lord’s work. The Lord provides food for both animals and humanity. He provides wine to gladden the heart, oil to make faces shine and bread to sustain the heart. We ought to remember this every time we pray, ‘give us this day our daily bread’. This earth belongs to the Lord, He owns the trees and we are merely stewards looking after the earth for the time the Lord allots to us. Every nook and cranny has been provided by the Lord for the animals and creatures to make their home.
The Lord has set the moon in place to mark the seasons and the sun knows its time to rise and set. As darkness falls so the nocturnal animals seek their food. The lions roar for food and God provides. God has given work for people to do. They go out in the morning and labour to evening. When we consider the vast number of systems in the world supporting each other, these have all been put in place by a Sovereign God. The many works of the Lord have been done by the vast wisdom of the Lord.
The sea teems with life from the smallest to the largest. The leviathan may have been feared by many and given many mythical features, but the Lord is in control of all living creatures.
The Lord is the source of the wellbeing of creation. The whole of creation looks to the Lord for their food in the proper time. In common grace God provides for all creation. When God opens His hand and gives, then creation is satisfied with the good things that God provides. Because God is God He can decide to withhold the food and to take away the breath of the creatures and they die and
return to dust. The Lord gives and sustains life by His life-giving Spirit.
The praise of God for creation is a noble theme that we ought not to ignore. The Psalmist vows to sing to the Lord all his life for the creation around him.
But there are many sinners who vanish from this earth and do not give glory to the Lord for His work of creation.
Not so, the Psalmist. He concludes, ‘Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord.’
Almighty God, creator of heaven and earth and all the multitudes of trees, plants and vegetables. You have populated this world with so many beautiful creatures. Lord forgive the many naturalists who know so much about the natural world and give us pleasure as we learn from them but they fail to give You glory for the creation. Lord thank You for the food that we will enjoy today and for all the good things You give us because You are a compassionate God. Receive our praise and thanksgiving in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.