OceanSide church of Christ

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The Beauty of God’s Creation

Psalm 104


Mike Wencel


This Psalm is a poetic rendering of the Genesis creation story, coupled with a deep sense of awe and admiration for the glory of God and his creation. It is most commonly attributed to David, though the authorship is not as clear as many of the other Psalms penned by David.


{1}  Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour

        and majesty. 

This Psalm begins with praise for God, and exposes the psalmists understanding of God’s character. We should emulate this in our own prayers – putting aside the mundane trivialities of our lives to focus on the unfathomable power and goodness of our God.  


{2}  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: 

The reason God is depicted as clothed in light is because light exposes everything and God has absolutely nothing to hide - there is not one shred of darkness in Him – He is pure and perfect goodness – let that sink in for a bit.  1st John 1:5  This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Have you ever thought of God s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g out the universe to the size that is? What picturesque imagery.


{3}  Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who

        walketh upon the wings of the wind: 

God created and controls the waters, the clouds the winds and all other aspects of his creation. He built them in such a way that are autonomous but He can take control of them at will.


{4}  Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: 

The psalmist is all-inclusive in his listing of God’s creations – here he includes the angels which God created and uses in many different ways. Angels can take on different forms as necessary to accomplish God’s purposes (wind, fire, human traits, light, warriors etc.). 


{5}  Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. 

The earth will be around as long as God wants it to be – man does not and can not know when the world will end even though many have believed they could predict the end of the world. 


{6}  Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 

Genesis 1:9  And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.


{7}  At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 

This verse reiterates God complete control over the universe He created. Recall the amazement of Jesus’ apostles at His power over the weather: Matthew 8:26-27 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!


{8}  They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast

        founded for them. 

{9}  Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. 

We need not worry about the polar ice caps melting and flooding the world. This passage tells us that God has set boundaries for the water which it may not pass over. Recall God’s promise in Genesis 9:11  And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.


{10}  He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. 

{11}  They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

« Now the psalmist turns from the planetary creation to the myriad creatures of God’s creation. He starts by praising God’s design of this planet whereby all creatures can find water necessary for their survival. He is in awe of the fact that not only did God create a vast diversity of creatures, but He also designed the means of survival for each one of them. Given the estimated 8.7 million species estimated to currently be in existence (not including subspecies and species that have gone extinct) of creatures on the planet, that is no small feat, and we, like the psalmist, should be in awe of God’s intelligence and power.


{12}  By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. 

When you wake up in the morning and hear the birds singing, did you ever consider that there are around 10,000 different species of birds, each one having a distinct chirp and a distinct coloring. If I asked you to invent 10,000 unique bird calls, could you do it? You’d probably be lucky to come up with 50. Only God could accomplish such a feat.  


{13}  He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 

Spurgeon, Treasury of David: The result of the divine working is fullness everywhere, the soil is saturated with rain, the seed germinates, the beasts drink, and the birds sing - nothing is left unsupplied. 


{14}  He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring

          forth food out of the earth; 

Not only does God supply water for his creation, but he supplies food as well. The earth was designed to provide everything that all living creatures need. Think about the incredible way that the earth supports the billions upon billions of creatures that are present on the earth today, and it has been doing that for thousands of years and will be able to continue for as long as God desires. 


{15}  And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread

         which strengtheneth man's heart. 

Now the psalmist reflects on the human population – God’s highest creation.  As with all of his other creatures, God has supplied humanity with everything we need for survival. Water, plants, fruits, vegetables, animals – all were given to us by God for our survival. And He designed a process fueled by rain and sunshine that enables the propagation of all these resources in perpetuity.


Recall God’s statement in Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.   


{16}  The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; 

Barnes: The cedars of Lebanon - As among the loftiest and most magnificent productions of the earth. So lofty and large, that it would seem as if none could plant them but the Almighty.


Smith’s Bible Dictionary gives an interesting comparison: The cedar is a 'type' of the Christian, being evergreen, beautiful, aromatic, wide spreading, slow growing, long lived, and having many uses.


{17}  Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. 

{18}  The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies. 

So not only did God provide food and drink for his creation, but he provided homes for them as well. Nothing was overlooked – this complete care for all of his creation is something to marvel at.


{19}  He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. 

{20}  Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.  

{21}  The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.  

{22}  The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. 

{23}  Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. 

Coffman: The day and the night provide dual opportunities. The young lions search for their prey at night and retire to their dens in the daytime. Man, on the other hand works in the daytime and retires to his place at night. God's creation provides the correct environment for all of the creatures God made to live upon earth.


This is one way God lessened the competition for food – while some animals are sleeping, others are hunting. Nocturnal animals are endowed with a keen sense of smell, while daytime dwelling creatures are endowed with excellent eyesight – each species is perfectly adapted for their environment.


{24}  O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of

          thy riches.

Barnes: The reference is to the number and the variety of the works of God, and to the wisdom displayed in them all. The earth is not suited up merely for one class of inhabitants, but for an almost endless variety; and the wisdom of God is manifested alike in the number and in the variety. No one can estimate the number of beings God has made on the earth; no one can comprehend the richness of the variety... there is an endless variety. No two are alike. Individuality is everywhere preserved, and the mind is astonished and confounded alike at the numbers and the variety.


Why are so many different creatures? Atheistic evolution has no explanation as to the reason for such unfathomable diversity. That leads us to one answer: Because God designed them for his own pleasure.  Recall  Genesis 1:31 - And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.


{25}  So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great


The psalmist now moves to the oceans and seas and all of their magnificent creatures. To this day new species of aquatic animals are being discovered that have never been seen before – many in the deepest recesses of the Pacific ocean (Mariana Trench) which is almost 7 miles deep and where the pressure is 8 tons per square inch, yet God has designed them to be able to survive in this inhospitable environment.   


{26}  There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. 

Leviathan is an interesting word:

Brown-Driver-Briggs: sea monster, dragon,  large aquatic animal perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary: The crocodile is most clearly the animal denoted by the Hebrew word.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary: denotes any large animal that moves by writhing or wriggling the body, the whale, the monsters of the deep.”


Did you every consider why whales is so large? From an atheistic evolution viewpoint, there is no need or explanation for such size. The same goes for the dinosaurs. I propose that these animals are this large for one reason: because God wanted them to be that size.


{27}  These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. 

{28}  That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. 

{29}  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to

          their dust. 

The psalmist clearly identifies God as the source of all life, and the one that supplies everything that is needed by his living creatures. He also describes the inevitable fate of all life forms – they die and return to the dust. Some may think this is a depressing thought, but it is totally necessary for the continuation of the earth. Just imagine how crowded the earth would be if nothing ever died – the earth would not be able to sustain them all).

{30}  Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. 

The earth is constantly renewing itself. Trees and plants die and become fertilizer for new trees to bloom and grow, animals die but their offspring lives and creates their own offspring.  What a wonderful and ingenious design for the perpetuity of the earth.    


{31}  The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works. 

The evidence of God in his creation will endure as long as the world endures. No human who is ever born will not have the opportunity to understand the glory of God by looking at and experiencing his creation. Recall Paul’s statement in Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.


{32}  He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. 

Barnes: God has only to “look” upon his works, and they stand in awe and tremble. The most mighty and fearful convulsions of nature occur as if they were the mere effect of God’s “looking” on the earth. Compare to Habakkuk 3:10 - The mountains saw thee, and they trembled.


{33}  I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 

Barnes: The result of the psalmist’s meditations on the wonderful works of God is to awaken in his mind a desire to praise God forever. He is so filled with a sense of his greatness and glory that he sees that there would be occasion for eternal praise; or that the reason for praise could never be exhausted. 


We too, should be inspired in like manner.


Spurgeon, Treasury of David: The birds sang God's praises before men were created, but redeemed men will sing his glories when the birds are no more. Jehovah, who ever lives, and makes us to live, shall be for ever exalted and extolled in the songs of redeemed men.


{34}  My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord. 

Spurgeon, Treasury of David: This meditation is sweet both to God and to me. I shall be delighted to survey his works and think of His person, and He will graciously accept my notes of praise. Meditation is the soul of religion. It is the tree of life in the midst of the garden of piety, and very refreshing is its fruit to the soul which feeds thereon.


  Let us never neglect to make meditation on God and all of his attributes and creations, an integral part of our lives.


{35}  Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the 

          Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.

Spurgeon, Treasury of David: In holy indignation the Psalmist would fain rid the world of beings so base as not to love their gracious Creator, so blind as to rebel against their Benefactor. He does but ask for that which just men look forward to as the end of history; for the day is eminently to be desired when in all God's kingdom there shall not remain a single traitor or rebel.


Barnes: The word translated “consumed” means  to complete, to perfect, to finish, to cease. It does not mean “consume” in the sense of being burned up - as our word means - or destroyed, but merely to come to an end, to cease, to pass away. …  The psalmist was himself so filled with the love of God, and with admiration of his works, that he desired that all might partake of the same feeling; and he looked forward, therefore, as those who love God must do, to the time when all the dwellers on earth would see his glory, and when there should be none who did not adore and love him.


Imagine a world like that !