Commentary by Walter Albritton


March 12, 2006


Celebrate and Enjoy God’s Beautiful Gifts of Creation


Psalm 104:1-13


Key Verse:  Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great. You are clothed with honor and majesty.  – Psalm 104:1


Teddy Roosevelt was a wise man. He had a habit of going outside his home at night and gazing in amazement at the multitude of stars and galaxies. After a time of silence he would say to those who had joined him, “We can go inside now; I think we are small enough.” It was an exercise that reminded him of the greatness of God and the created universe as well as his own finitude.

As you meditate upon Psalm 104, take a fresh look at the moon and the stars. Give thanks for the magnificent glory of God displayed in the heavens. And give thanks for Stuart K. Hine. The song, “How Great Thou Art,” must have come to him on a star-lit night. Let God stir your heart as he stirred Hine’s heart, inspiring him to exclaim “O Lord my God! when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed.”

God in all his creative glory is the focus of Psalm 104. Some psalms bring us to our knees in repentance. Others give us assurance that in all circumstances the Lord is with us. This psalm helps us celebrate God’s creative power and glory. It can awaken a song in our souls and move us to “bow in humble adoration” and proclaim with Stuart Hine, “My God, how great thou art!”

Like many psalms this one is a song of praise. It ends where it begins with the words, “Praise the Lord, O my soul.” There is no lament about pain or evil. Instead the writer is so filled with awe and wonder that he insists, “I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.”

His awe and wonder spring from his conclusion that only a great and mighty God could have designed the world with such precision, purpose, rhythm, and beauty. There is life-giving water controlled by boundaries engineered by the hands of God. There are majestic mountains and fertile valleys. The are trees that are both majestic and useful to humankind.

Singing birds have nests in the trees. Grass is provided for the cattle. The earth offers bread and fruit to gladden the hearts of men and women. Even the wild donkeys and wild goats have a habitat. Sustenance is offered to mankind and all living creatures by the gracious hand of God: “When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.”

We should not miss observing that though the Psalmist is awed by the greatness of God, he never moves to despair about the “smallness” of human beings. Indeed he suggests that his meditation upon God’s greatness can be pleasing to God (vss. 33-34).

This is an important truth for us. It gives us a positive perspective about the creative power of God. We are made in the image of God. Therefore, we have God-given creative potential that we can use to manage wisely the “works” of God’s hands. He has given his children the gift of, and the urge for, creativity. We can obey God by living as good stewards of the gifts of his creation. This surely includes the responsibility to “have dominion” over the earth’s animals, using them for our good and not elevating them

We can celebrate and enjoy all that God is doing and look for ways to cooperate with the natural laws of the created universe. For example, NASA engineers were able to land a spaceship on the moon because they could calculate exactly where the moon would be at any given point in time. We have learned that neither God nor his universe is characterized by whimsical decisions. That is why we can trust God with our whole heart; he is never capricious. He is always faithful and everything he does is motivated by love because his very nature is love.  

Since God is love, we may conclude that even the creative majesty of the world has been created not by chance but for our enjoyment. God made us with the wondrous capacity to view with breathtaking wonder the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, or similar displays of his handiwork. 

I think we can take it even a step further. We can view a magnificent sunset and with thankful hearts praise God for giving us eyes to behold such beauty, and hearts that can be touched by the gentle work of his fingers.          When I saw Iguazu Falls in South America for the first time, my heart was filled with praise for God as I prayed, “Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you allowed me to see this display of your glory with my own eyes.”  For me that breathtaking beauty was not an act of something called Nature, but an act of a loving Creator who delights in displaying creative splendor for his children to behold with wonder.

Geologists can explain why over centuries all that water now converges on that site shared by Brazil and Argentina. I prefer, however, a theological perspective – that the earth and the heavens display the glory of God for the enjoyment of his children, and so they may realize that as awesome as are the gifts of his hands, even more awesome is the gift of his love that caused him to send his Son to redeem us from our sins.

Yes, David, with you our hearts cry out to our Creator and Redeemer, “Praise the Lord, O my soul!”  

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