Tuesday, October 24, 2023

2023.10.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 104:16–26

Read Psalm 104:16–26

Questions from the Scripture text: What else does God give water for (Psalm 104:16a)? What are those trees full of? To which trees, specifically, does verse 16b refer? What other creatures does this benefit (Psalm 104:17a)? And which nest where (verse 17b)? What other home has God created for which creatures (Psalm 104:18a)? And what home for which others (verse 18b)? What else has God appointed for what purposes (Psalm 104:19-20a, cf. Genesis 1:14–19)? What does even the darkness provide (Psalm 104:20b)? Especially for what (Psalm 104:21a) From whom do even lions seek their food (verse 21b)? What else does God provide for them, in what way (Psalm 104:22)? What other creature makes what use of day and night (Psalm 104:23)? What else does man do, besides work—how does he respond to God’s works for his own works (Psalm 104:24a)? What should man see in God’s works (verse 24b)? To Whom do they confess the earth and its fullness belong (verse 24c)? What else is full of God’s possessions (Psalm 104:25a)? What sort of creatures (verse 25b–c)? Including what works of man (Psalm 104:26a)? And what great creature (verse 26b)? That can do what in the sea (verse 26c)?

Which of God’s creatures depend upon Him? Psalm 104:16–26 looks forward to the opening portion of morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these eleven verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that all of God’s creatures from the smallest to the greatest depend upon Him, including and especially man.  

Homes. As we come into Psalm 104:16, it shifts from God’s provision of food and drink to provision of homes. For the birds (Psalm 104:17), the Lord first provides for the trees themselves (Psalm 104:16). He designs goats that have footing like no other creatures, together with high hills and crags that they are uniquely suited to get to (Psalm 104:18a). He designs small and squeezable creatures that can fit into almost any hole, and cliffs with holes that are uniquely suited for them.

Times. Psalm 104:19-23 take us especially into the fourth day of creation. The moon and sun are not independent agents, they are appointees of God (Psalm 104:19) for making dark and light (Psalm 104:20), morning (Psalm 104:22) and evening (Psalm 104:23). Lions know what to do with these. In darkness, they hunt (Psalm 104:20-21a)—although it is God Who provides the food (Psalm 104:21b). To other animals, they may be the top of the food chain, but they are still God’s needy dependents. In the day, they take a nap (Psalm 104:22). 

Man’s schedule is opposite—he works during the day (Psalm 104:23a), but evening is for more than lying down. It’s for worship! The men from verse 23b are joining the psalmist now in Psalm 104:24. They are home from work, and it’s time to worship: “O YHWH, how manifold are Your works!” Lions don’t know from Whom they seek their food. Men do. If we don’t worship Him in our homes, worship Him in the evening after work, worship Him with regularity and response to our food… if worshiping Him is not the great thing in our daily lives, then we are no better than the beasts.

Works. The whole creation are God’s manifold works (Psalm 104:24a). Earth (verse 24c) and sea (Psalm 104:25) are full of creatures that are His possessions. Among them, not only the small but even the great, like the Leviathan that plays in the sea. But even the great sea creature Leviathan is not to be compared to man as a work of God. His sailing ships in Psalm 104:26a show him to be in the image of this glorious God.

How glorious is our God, and what a privilege it is to be a man! We not only receive from Him and depend upon Him, but we worship Him and image Him. And He gives us songs like this one to sing and to pray, driving it home to our hearts.

To Whom do you belong? To Whom do the other creatures you see belong? What makes creativity and work such a high privilege? What else sets us apart from the other creatures?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, how manifold are Your works! You give to each of the creatures their home, but You Yourself have been our dwelling place through all generations. You appoint to each of the creatures, but our times are in Your hands. Morning and evening, You have created for us to worship You, and especially Your day. Thank You for giving to us to image You in creativity and labor. But, O Lord, give us to image You especially in enjoying You and adoring You in Your worship! So unto this end, grant the powerful and merciful work of Your Spirit, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

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

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