Psalm 104

A Reflection on Psalm 104

The Psalms offer much to their readers. They offer words of praise, lament, thanksgiving, wonder, and much more. I find, in particular, that the Psalms offer words for reflection and prayer that always seem applicable. And so, today and this week, I encourage you to read in the Psalms. Reflect with me on a Psalm of my or your own choosing. Today, I offer you Psalm 104 as an opportunity to witness the grandeur of our God. 

Read this Psalm below:

Psalm 104

God the Creator and Provider

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
    Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honor and majesty,
    wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent;
    you set the beams of your chambers on the waters;
you make the clouds your chariot;
    you ride on the wings of the wind;
you make the winds your messengers,
    fire and flame your ministers.

You set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it shall never be shaken.
You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
At your rebuke they flee;
    at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys,
    to the place that you appointed for them.
You set a boundary that they may not pass,
    so that they might not again cover the earth.

10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys;
    they flow between the hills,
11 giving drink to every wild animal;
    the wild asses quench their thirst.
12 By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
    they sing among the branches.
13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
    the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

14 You cause the grass to grow for the cattle
    and plants for people to cultivate,
to bring forth food from the earth
15     and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine
    and bread to strengthen the human heart.
16 The trees of the field are watered abundantly,
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 In them the birds build their nests;
    the stork has its home in the fir trees.
18 The high mountains are for the wild goats;
    the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.
19 You have made the moon to mark the seasons;
    the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness, and it is night,
    when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.
21 The young lions roar for their prey,
    seeking their food from God.
22 When the sun rises, they withdraw
    and lie down in their dens.
23 People go out to their work
    and to their labor until the evening.

24 Lord, how manifold are your works!
    In wisdom you have made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, great and wide;
    creeping things innumerable are there,
    living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships
    and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you
    to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
    when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
    who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
    and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

As I read the words of Psalm 104, three things stand out to me. They are:

  1. God is responsible for creating and sustaining all of the world.
  2. We always have the opportunity to look around us and to give praise to God for what he has done.
  3. And everything that has been made is good; we must decide what to do with God’s generosity.

While these ideas may not be novel, they are quite important and beautiful. Over and over again, the first item in my list is made evident by the Psalmist. God receives credit for creating the heavens (v. 2-4), the earth (v. 5), the waters of the earth (v. 6-9), rivers and springs for refreshment (v. 10-13), grass and plants for sustenance of all the creations of the earth (v. 14), wine, oil, and bread for humanity (v. 15), trees, mountains, sun, and moon (v. 16-23), and the sea and all that moves in and on it (v. 25-26). The Psalmist sees God in everything that moves and is created. And in verses 27-30, the Psalmist says that everything depends on God completely.

In verse 1 and 31-35, we see the Psalmist give praise to God for what he has done. Everything that we see in the world is due to God’s goodness. 

And finally, we have a choice. to make in how we respond. Verse 24 offers us a glimpse into the thought process of this Psalmist. God made everything in wisdom–and in verse 34-35, the Psalmist concludes by praying that his meditation would be pleasing to God and that the sinners and wicked would be removed from God’s good creation. 

And so, as we reflect on this Psalm together, I hope that you will notice the good things of God all around you and give him praise. And I hope that you will respond to the choice before you by living with the righteousness of God. May we rejoice in the Lord and may all that we do be pleasing to him.