Tuesday, November 14, 2023

2023.11.14 Hopewell @Home ▫ Psalm 104:27–30

Read Psalm 104:27–30

Questions from the Scripture text: For whom do all God’s creatures wait (Psalm 104:27a)? To do what (verse 27b)? Who gives, and who gathers (Psalm 104:28a)? How are they filled with good (verse 28b)? What does He sometimes do (Psalm 104:29a)? With what result? What else does He sometimes do (verse 29b)? With what result? But what does He continue to do (Psalm 104:30a)? With what immediate result? And what cumulative result (verse 30b)? 

What are we to see in creation and providence? Psalm 104:27–30 prepares us for the opening portion of public worship on the Lord’s Day. In these four verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that providence is carried out personally and powerfully by the Lord Himself. 

God fills His creatures with goodness, Psalm 104:27-28. Note the means that God has appointed: seasons and labor. God has established “seasons, days, and years” (cf. Genesis 1:14) so that the produce of the ground comes in a cycle and rhythm that testifies to the faithfulness of God. But He also gives to His creatures to labor: “they gather in.” So the creature enjoys God’s goodness both in the external provision and in providing us with ability—and with opportunity to exercise that ability. Thus, the creature is not just filled with food; he is filled with “goodness” (end of Psalm 104:28).

God sovereignly rules even in difficulty and deathPsalm 104:29. What can we do, when trouble comes? Does that mean that God is somehow absent? No! In trouble, God is there, but “hiding His face.” In death, it is God Who withholds the creature’s breath. For the believer, it is a great comfort that providence is personal. The believer knows that God is for him (cf. Romans 8:31), because God has given Christ for him and to him (cf. Romans 8:32). So, even when God’s face is hidden, we know that He is for us. And there is no sting in death (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:55–57), when the One Who gave Christ for us holds our breath in His hands and receives us into glory (cf. Psalm 73:24).

God’s reign in this creation is with a view toward the new creationPsalm 104:30. The same Spirit by Whom He did all the work of creation (cf. Genesis 1:2), the Lord continues to send forth continually. This is significant in Psalm 104:30, because “Spirit is translating the same word as “breath” in Psalm 104:29b. God’s breath can never be taken away. God’s Spirit continuously goes forth from Him. That is the hope in this groaning creation, but more than that, it is the hope for the new creation. He will make the face of the earth new (Psalm 104:30b). We see His continually refreshed mercy, and we believe Him Who has done this, when He says that He makes all things new (cf. Revelation 21:5). His faithfulness is the foundation of our everlasting hope.

Who gives you your food? With what, in addition to food, should that fill you? From Whose hand should you receive even your hardships? What does this do for how you receive your hardships? Why does the day-to-day sustaining of the creation confirm the certainty of a new creation—upon what foundation do both rest?

Sample prayer:  We praise You, O God, from Whom all good things come. We praise You, Who make us to enjoy Your own goodness in all the good that You give us. Come help us, we pray, to worship You—to enjoy You and Your goodness. Turn your face to us in blessing, and help us by Your Spirit, as He pours out Your love in our hearts. Come, renew us in Yourself again, and give us to enjoy You now as we will enjoy You forever in the new creation, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP104D “How Many Works, LORD” or TPH104B “My Soul, Bless the LORD”

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