Psalm 104 – Worship God Through His Creation
Psalm 104:1-35 NIV
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 labor 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 forever; 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.
The Psalmist was a student of God’s Creation. He anchored his worship on His Creation – how God made the world and made it work. These are things that most of us take for granted. How would spending time pondering on God’s wonders help in our worship? If we don’t do that, we miss out on the minor details that can easily go unnoticed because of our busy lifestyle. We feel the warmth of the sun everyday but don’t think about how God gets it burning almost perpetually. It’s amazing how the Psalmist can derive so much insight into God’s Creation at a time with limited technology and knowledge of science. It was only through the Spirit of God.
Near the end of this psalm, the Psalmist concluded “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” The Psalmist desired to worship and praise God his entire life. It's like finding our desired partners and wanting to spend the rest of our life with them. Whether we are enjoying good times or suffering, life is fleeting. What we have found in God is perfect and eternal. Enjoy God’s Creation.
The Psalmist describes God’s splendour in the heavens (Psalm 104:1–4), how the waters were brought to fertilise and feed the world (Psalm 104:5–18), and how the night was made for us to rest while the animals were out to prowl for food (Psalm 104:19–23). The Psalmist have penned God's Creation in a sequence that parallels Genesis 1.
Vs. 1-5 (Compare with Genesis 1:1-5)
God created light, and He separated light from darkness. The Psalmist pictured God wrapping “himself in light as with a garment”. When Moses came back from meeting God, his face was illuminated.
God is light, in Him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5b)
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Isaiah 60:19)
Light was the first thing that God created, and it lasts till the end of life. But God is our light and He lasts forever.
The Psalmist wrote that God “stretches out the heavens like a tent”. Some theorise that this is a reference to how God created the atmosphere to protect earth from the debris of space.
The Psalmist wrote that God “set the earth on its foundation”. Some theorise that it is a reference to how God had set earth in relation to the sun. If earth is not situated at the right distance from the sun and at the correct angle, it will not be able to sustain life.
Vs. 6-9 (Compare with Genesis 1:6-10)
The Psalmist described the creation of water that “covered it (earth) with the watery depths”, referring to the sea, and also the “waters (that) stood above the mountains”, referring to clouds and vapours in the air. The separation of land from sea was also poetically described.
Vs. 10-18 (Compare with Genesis 1:11-13)
The Psalmist went on to describe how the water God created gives life to the “the beasts of the field” and the “birds of the sky”, and how the “trees of the Lord are well watered”. This “makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate”, ultimately “bringing forth food from the earth” for us.
Vs. 19-23 (Compare with Genesis 1:14-19)
God created the day and night, and made the sun and the moon for their intended purposes. The nocturnal animals prowl at night while man sleeps; and man goes out to work in the day while the animals return to their den. God created nature to be wonderfully balanced.
Vs. 24-26 (Compare with Genesis 1:20-25)
The Psalmist praised God for His wisdom and the vastness of His wonderful works. Land is “full of your (God’s) creatures” and the sea is “teeming with creatures beyond number”.
The Psalmist appreciated the fact that all creatures submit to God’s full control – He provides for their basic needs and He can take them away, and He decides how long they live.
The Psalmist wrote, “may the Lord rejoice in His works”. We wish one another well when we take up new jobs, but we seldom think about God’s work. God too wants to enjoy his work! Do we want God to rejoice in His work? God wants to be our partner in His work since the beginning, when He made man to rule the earth. May we meditate on pleasing God too, as we rejoice in the Lord.
Andy is the head of compliance for an international bank and is happily married, with three daughters. He became a disciple of Christ three decades ago, and studies God's Word passionately. He desires to be constantly led by the Spirit. Andy joined the Central Christian Church in 1990.