Tuesday, October 17, 2023

2023.10.17 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 104:1–15

Read Psalm 104:1–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the Psalmist command his soul to do (Psalm 104:1a)? What does he call YHWH in verse 1b? For what does he first praise Him (verse 1b–c)? For which creatures does he praise God in Psalm 104:2? And what part of creation in Psalm 104:3? And whom in Psalm 104:4? For what action does he praise God in Psalm 104:5? And what part of it in Psalm 104:6-9? In what way does He leave water on land (Psalm 104:10)? For what purpose in Psalm 104:11? And what other in Psalm 104:12? And what other in Psalm 104:13? What does He provide for what creatures in Psalm 104:14? What three things has He especially given man, for what three purposes, in Psalm 104:15?

For what does our soul bless the LORD? Psalm 104:1–15 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these fifteen verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that our souls are to bless the LORD for His Creator-goodness to all His creatures and especially to us among them.  

In the previous Psalm, our souls blessed the LORD among those blessed hosts who will bless Him forever. Now in this Psalm, our souls bless the LORD among those needy creatures who have a mighty Creator.

God is glorious in HimselfPsalm 104:1-4. YHWH, our God, is very great (Psalm 104:1b). And how has He given to us to begin to conceive of His greatness? With things like light itself (Psalm 104:2a), the heavens (Psalm 104:2-3a), the clouds (Psalm 104:3b), and the wind (verse 3c). We see these, and we don’t see the greatness of God Himself; we see “clothes” that He has set out for us by which we can see an infinitely greater (but invisible) greatness. That’s His “clothing.” Then there are His servants, who are also invisible to us (Psalm 104:4a) and sometimes appear as flames of fire (verse 4b, cf. Isaiah 6:2). There is a similarity here to the display of Solomon’s greatness in 1 Kings 10:4–5. The Lord has made all this display to take our breath away with His glory!

God acted gloriously in the creationPsalm 104:5-14. These verses praise especially the work of the first three days of creation, preparing where the creatures would live. An established earth, gathered seas, and grown plants were all expertly and lovingly designed for the good of His creatures. Even the creature’s neediness—the thirst of the donkeys (Psalm 104:11), vulnerability of birds (Psalm 104:12), and hunger of cattle and men (Psalm 104:14) are all part of the plan for the creature to enjoy the goodness of God’s design.

God acts graciously in providencePsalm 104:15. Before the Psalm turns back to the creation in the portion that we hope to have next week, Psalm 104:15 focuses on what God does for man as His special creature. God made us capable of gladness so that He would gladden us (verse 15a). God made us capable of a blessed countenance, that images His blessing by His countenance, so that He would make our face shine (verse 15b). God made us capable of resolve, diligence, and courage, so that He would strengthen our heart (verse 15c). 

Later, He would make use of the common elements of bread and wine to communicate to us that Christ gives Himself immediately to us to be our strength and our gladness. So, He both makes creational provision for how these are affected by our bodies and spiritual provision directly to our souls. Thus, He has arranged His providence so that by responding to the provision of wine and oil and bread as means, we would glorify the God Who has made us in His image to enjoy Him.

Let us learn from this portion of the Psalm to reflect make us of God’s goodness to all His creatures  to stir our hearts up to praise—and especially things like wine, oil, and bread… every good provision of His providence, throughout every day, as opportunities to enjoy Him Who gave us to know Him.

What examples of the goodness and beauty of creation has the Lord especially presented you with? What good use are you making of things like wine, oil, and bread for the purpose of turning your heart to the Lord in joy and strength?

Sample prayer:  Oh YHWH, our God, You are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty! You have made light itself, as if a garment to tell us Your greatness. You stretched out the heavens like a beautiful curtain to tell us the greatness of the One Who made this house and rules over it. Your perfect wisdom and love are on constant display in Your care for the creatures. But You have displayed that wisdom and love most of all to us. Just as You made wine to gladden the heart, be the gladness of our hearts in worship now. Just as You made oil to make our face shine, come now and be the brightness of Your people’s countenance. Just as You made bread to strengthen man’s heart, come now by Your Spirit, and grant that Your Son would be the true bread that strengthens our heart in this worship, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP104AB “Bless the LORD, My Soul” or TPH104B “My Soul, Bless the LORD”

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