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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Psalm 104 - Worship the Creator

It is obvious that this psalm focuses on God's work as the Creator and Upholder of the world. The psalmist reminds us that the Lord is in charge of all things. We refer to this divine control as providence. Sometimes we can speak about providence in a manner that suggests God is not fully involved in what goes on but instead governs it all from a distance in a detached manner. This psalm reminds us that while God is always distinct from his creation he is always active in every incident that occurs to each of his creatures, be they animate or inanimate. There is nothing in the whole of creation that is outside his active involvement.

What we have in this psalm is a worship song that is based on Genesis 1. The psalmist begins by focusing on the Lord himself, a necessary reminder because it is easy to concentrate on what we can see physically and forget that the Creator is more beautiful than the creation. So we are reminded that the Lord is very great and that is attire is light brighter than the sun, so pure that creature eyes cannot ever have the ability to see his intrinsic perfection. The only way we can understand his glory is by him revealing himself through activities that we can see. Therefore the Lord made the universe, particularly the earth, as the location where his creatures could observe some things about him and worship him.

The psalm reminds us that God's ways are orderly and not chaotic, that each type of creature has its God-given purpose (for example, humans are to work, birds are to sing), that God provides for their necessities (for example, water to drink, trees for nests) and for their enjoyments (he provides food and wine), and that God is the source of their life and the remover of it when his time comes.

The psalmist is aware that sinful mankind is the cause of the troubles in God's earth. Their sins prevent God fully enjoying his creation. The response of the psalmist to this situation is to pray for sinners to be removed (v. 35), an Old Testament longing for the new heavens and new earth in which righteousness will mark everything.

The desire of the composer of the psalm is for God's glory to be revealed endlessly in his creation, and for him to rejoice in his entire creation (v. 31), including being joyful with the life of the psalm's author. Therefore the psalmist dedicates himself to live for God's glory, to praise him, and to think about him with a joyful heart.

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