PRAISE GOD THE CREATOR
Adult 1 Sunday School Class January 22, 2017 Psalm 104:1-4, 24-30
Theme: When we experience the vast diversity of creation, we wonder how it is all held together. What does this complexity tell us about the world we live in? The psalmist praises God for sustaining creation.
The interpretation of the verses is in bold print which follows the original verse in regular print.
Psalm 104:1, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.” God, the creator is greater than His creation, and thus worthy to be praised. We praise God and not His creation. The superlatives; blessed, very great, and honour and majesty pay homage to our Lord. This Psalm relates to the creation story in Genesis 1:1-31. We can’t reach or see God, but we can see and appreciate His creation.
v.2, “Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment; who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:” Light is God’s created element, and signifies His presence in Jerusalem. Light eliminates darkness and can revel evil. Light is a metaphor for knowledge and truth, whereas darkness can represent ignorance. With “light” God and Jesus reveal things to Their people. (i.e. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” John 8:12) The heavens are like a curtain or dome that covers the earth
v.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:” These are all metaphors which illustrate the glory of God and the power that He has to use His creation for His benefit. He builds a structure in the water, which lies above the clouds, and is infinitely stronger than man’s steel and concrete. He doesn’t need a chariot; He rides the wind like a chariot which meets His travelling needs. These heavenly bodies obey His command like a plane is directed by its pilot.
v.4, “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.” Hebrews 1:7 attributes these characteristics to angels describing their swiftness and destructiveness as God’s instruments of judgement. Angels breath out life (wind) are God’s messengers and take His breath (words) of life to deliver them. (Psalm 103:20) We must recognize the power of God over His many angels.
- 24, “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” These verses 24-30 describe the creatures of God’s creation (corresponds to Gen 1:20-23, the fifth day), as opposed to verses 1-4 which described things or habitat in His creation. Water traverses the landscape and flows where it may, and provides sustaining life to flora and fauna. Everything is replenished by the rain. These acts reveal the excellent, wonderful, and magnificent works of God.
v.25, 26. “So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. 26. There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.” Leviathan refers to a large sea creature which can overwhelm man, but not God. This ancient sea monster was thought to be a dinosaur or a whale, and is listed in 4 other OT Scriptures. The combination of sea creatures great and small, and the ships that sail the sea illustrated God’s boundless creativity.
v.27, 28, 29, and 30 “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 breathe, they die, and return to their dust. 30. Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” These verses reflect Gen 1:24-31; the 6th day of creation whereby creation waits for God to provide their nutritional needs. “…openest thine hand” alludes to God providing sustenance for His creatures. They hide their face from the majesty of the Lord, and are afraid knowing that He who gives life can take it away; and they return to the soil from which they came. God sends His Spirit and breathes life into His creation giving it new life. When creatures die, the Lord can give new life replacing the old and thus renews the inhabitants of the earth.