Psalm 104 O LORD My God, You Are Very Great (1) Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, (2) covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. (3) He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; (4) he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. (5) He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. (6) You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. (7) At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. (8) The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. (9) You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. (10) You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; (11) they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. (12) Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. (13) From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. (14) You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth (15) and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart. (16) The trees of the LORD are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. (17) In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. (18) The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers. (19) He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. (20) You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. (21) The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. (22) When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. (23) Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. (24) O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (25) Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. (26) There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. (27) These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. (28) When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. (29) When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. (30) When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. (31) May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works, (32) who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! (33) I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. (34) May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. (35) Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! ESV
Psalm 104 has no recorded author nor is the date something scholars are certain of. Many believe the author to be David due to style and similarities between this one and the one prior. Older translations of the Bible (the Vulgate, Septuagint, and others) attribute Psalm 104 to David’s hand, but for some reason, God did not want this one to be signed in later translations. So that is where we will leave it.
Here are some titles: Praise to God Who Made the World (ICB). Praise to the Sovereign LORD for His Creation and Providence (NKJV). God the Creator (HCSB). The LORD’s Care over All His Works (NASB).
Interestingly, the author writes his song following the days of Creation as recorded by Moses in the book of Genesis.
Let all that I am praise the LORD. O LORD my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens; you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds. You make the clouds your chariot; you ride upon the wings of the wind. The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants. You place the world on its foundation so it would never be moved. You clothed the earth with floods of water, water that covered even the mountains. At your command, the water fled; at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away. Mountains rose and valleys sank to the levels you decreed. Then you set a firm boundary for the seas, so they would never again cover the earth. Psalm 104:1-9 NLT
Praise the Lord. He is worthy of praise.
Because all of creation is His. He created it all, and all of creation relies upon Him. Survival of the fittest? No, those that survive were chosen by God, and it all works together for the glory of the One who created it.
You are dressed in a robe of light. When God spoke, there was light. He covers Himself with light, and darkness is the absence of light. Light uncovers the Truth as God brings light to the darkness of the earth and to all of mankind. Just like darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God, and in God’s presence, evil cannot exist. Good and evil do not exist together. Light and darkness cannot either.
who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:16 NKJV
Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: wrapping the light about him as a monarch puts on his robe. The concept is sublime: but it makes us feel how altogether inconceivable the personal glory of the Lord must be; if light itself is but his garment and veil, what must be the blazing splendour of his own essential being!Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
This section of verses reminds us of the power of God, the Creator. He stretches out the heavens like a curtain. He rides on the wind. Everything obeys Him, even fires and floods and storms.
Verse 4 paints a frightening picture of God’s messengers. Here is the verse in other translations:
Who makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flame of fire. NKJV Who makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers. NASB You commandeered winds as messengers, appointed fire and flame as ambassadors. The Message
God’s angels are fire and flame and wind. They are beings of terrifying power. Yet they are His messengers, His ministers, His ambassadors. And they guard and protect His children. How wonderful and terrifying at the same time to think about. If God’s angels are like this, then what must the servants of Satan be like?
Praise the Lord for His mercy and protection from evil.
Pastor David Guzik in his blog (www.enduringword.com) points out an interesting tie to Jesus with these verses found in the book of Hebrews.
For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son"? But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire." Hebrews 1:5-7 NKJV
The writer of Hebrews teaches us that the Father’s words here are to His Son. Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire? Jesus.
Jesus is the Son of God. God in human form. He is also the commander of legions. Someday Jesus will return with a host of God’s ambassadors of fire, flame, and wind to vanquish the world of evil. Oh to see that day!
In a very creative way, so passes day two of Creation.
You make springs pour into the ravines. They flow between the mountains. They water all the wild animals. The wild donkeys come there to drink. Wild birds make nests by the water. They sing among the tree branches. You water the mountains from above. The earth is full of the things you made. You make the grass for cattle and vegetables for the use of man. You make food grow from the earth. You give us wine that makes happy hearts. And you give us olive oil that makes our faces shine. You give us bread that gives us strength. The Lord's trees have plenty of water. They are the cedar trees of Lebanon, which he planted. The birds make their nests there. The stork's home is in the fir trees. The high mountains belong to the wild goats. The rocks are hiding places for the badgers. Psalm 104:10-18 ICB
The psalmist begins this section with day three of Creation as recorded in the book of Genesis (Genesis 1:9-13). God separated the waters and made dry land. He made trees that grow and bear fruit, and plants for seeds and grain, and all that He created was good and worked together for good. Everything in Creation works together to sustain life and to bring God glory.
This psalm is a beautiful tribute to God as Creator. There are many ways that we can praise and honor God, and the author of Psalm 104 chose to focus his praise on God as the mighty Creator that He was and is.
When we reflect upon the provision made for all creatures, we should also notice the natural worship they render to God. Yet man, forgetful ungrateful man, enjoys the largest measure of his Creator’s kindness.Matthew Henry, English minister, 1662-1714
Interestingly, different translations of these verses provide a bigger picture of God’s creation and His expectations for us.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart. Psalm 104:14-15 NKJV
God makes the grass grow to feed His animals, and He provides similarly for mankind but with expectations. Man must work. God provides, but man must work the land and the fruit for food and wine and oil and bread.
God designed the ecology of the earth so that with work, man may bring forth food. Under God’s blessing and man’s work, the food brought forth is wonderful. God’s earth gives us wine, oil, and bread- each with their own blessing and goodness.Pastor David Guzik, http://www.enduringword.com
You made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to set. You send the darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals prowl about. Then the young lions roar for their prey, stalking the food provided by God. At dawn they slink back into their dens to rest. Then people go off to their work, where they labor until evening. O LORD, what a variety of things you have made! In wisdom you have made them all. The earth is full of your creatures. Here is the ocean, vast and wide, teeming with life of every kind, both large and small. See the ships sailing along, and Leviathan, which you made to play in the sea. They all depend on you to give them food as they need it. When you supply it, they gather it. You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied. But if you turn away from them, they panic. When you take away their breath, they die and turn again to dust. When you give them your breath, life is created, and you renew the face of the earth. Psalm 104:19-30 NLT
Now the psalmist praises God for the creation of the sun and moon and seasons. The author of Psalm 104 is in awe of our Creator God. Everything in all of creation works together.
There is work to be done each day and God opens and closes the day for His Creation. There is time to refresh with sleep upon nightfall because God did not create man with the ability to work at night. Man must rest at night. Although other animals within creation are awake at night. The psalmist marvels at God’s creativity and great wisdom to make it all work together for His glory. The sun and the moon and the seasons all have their place and their jobs.
Then the psalmist marvels at the sea, and quite possibly the author only knows the Mediterranean Sea or the Red Sea. He would not know nor have seen the oceans of the earth. He mentions that elusive Old Testament sea creature, the Leviathon. Old versions of the Bible call this beast a dragon. It could be a whale or a crocodile. Job 41 talks of this creature. Whatever this sea animal was, it was a magnificent creature of the sea and our psalmist here glorifies God for its beauty and its character. It “plays” in the sea!
But all of this, all of Creation, relies upon the hand of God. He gives and He takes away. He provides and cares for all of it. Actively. God watches over His Creation.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in His works. He looks on the earth, and it trembles; He touches the hills, and they smoke. I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the LORD. May sinners be consumed from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! Psalm 104:31-35 NKJV
On the seventh day the Lord rested. He saw it was good, and He rested! He rejoices in His works! Even while His creation may die, His glory will endure forever.
The poet finds his heart gladdened by beholding the works of the Lord, and he feels that the Creator himself must have felt unspeakable delight in exercising so much wisdom, goodness, and power.Charles Spurgeon, English preacher, 1834-1892
All of creation glorifies the Lord. But nothing in creation can withstand Him. His touch and His eye upon it, and it will tremble and shake. I admire the beauty of the mountains and the sea. But the beauty of Creation is nothing compared to the Creator.
Therefore, “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.”
The psalmist has found his reason to praise the Lord. He even ends the psalm with a request that all who defy the Creator be put to shame. And God will. He creates and He provides, but He will also destroy.
Interestingly, this psalm is the first to use “Praise the LORD” or Hallelujah Jehovah. There are more instances to come, and often are called the “Hallelujah Psalms,” but this is the first in the Psalter. In the New Testament, the term is only found in Revelation 19:1-6. Hallelujah is a term we often hear in the church in modern times, especially around Christmas time, but in the Bible, it is only spoken a few times.
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, for true and just are his judgments. He has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth by her adulteries. He has avenged on her the blood of his servants." And again they shouted: "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever." The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: "Amen, Hallelujah!" Then a voice came from the throne, saying: "Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!" Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Revelation 19:1-6 NIV
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Father in heaven, thank you for this beautiful song of praise to you. Thank you for all of creation and your mighty hand that set it all in motion and watches over it like a loving father. You are our loving father. Thank you. Give us strength and peace and love to share with those around us today. Amen.