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Wednesday, July 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 104

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-35

Psalms 104:1-35

And thus he begins the hundred and fourth psalm,

Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with honor and majesty: You have covered yourself with light as with a garment: who stretched out the heaven like a curtain ( Psalms 104:1-2 ):

I love this picturesque kind of speech. God covers Himself with light. The scripture speaks of God as dwelling in a light, unapproachable. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the light," and who stretched out the heavens, like a curtain. I have always had an interest in astronomy. I've always loved looking up into the skies out in the desert where you are surrounded by the desert darkness. And where the stars form a beautify canopy overhead. I love to think of the vastness of the universe. I love to take the telescope and look at the planets and the galaxies. And realize the vastness of this universe in which we live. And then to think of this psalm, that God stretched it all out like a curtain.

Who laid the beams of the chambers in the waters: who made the clouds his chariot: who walks upon the wings of the wind: Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth that it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: and the waters stood above the mountains ( Psalms 104:3-6 ).

He's talking here about the flood that He sent.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up to the mountains; they go down by the valleys into the place which you have founded for them. For you have set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the eaRuth ( Psalms 104:7-9 ).

And so God has set the boundaries for the oceans that they will never again cover the earth as they once did during the time of the flood and during the time before God brought the dry land out from a water-covered planet.

He sent the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: and the wild donkeys quench their thirst. And by them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He waters the hills from his chambers: and the earth is satisfied with the fruit of they works. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and the vegetables for the service of men: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that makes glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face shine, and bread to strengthen man's heart ( Psalms 104:10-15 ).

That's, of course, that good wheat bread that they made; fresh ground wheat, still had vitamin E in tact, which is very important for the strengthening of man's heart.

The trees of the LORD are full of sap ( Psalms 104:16 );

That is, they are fresh. They are vibrant.

the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as the stork, the fir trees are her house. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies ( Psalms 104:16-18 ).

The little rabbit kind of an animal.

He appointed the moon for seasons: and the sun knoweth his going down. You make darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. The sun arises, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. Man goes forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening. O LORD, how manifold are all thy works! in wisdom you have made them all: and the earth is full of thy riches ( Psalms 104:19-24 ).

Now, man in that day was much closer to nature than we are. And I think being much closer to nature, had a keener insight many times into spiritual things. I believe that a person who is close to nature is close to God, close to God's creation. We live in a plastic society. We live in a world that is filled with man's works. And we become so enamored with the works of man that so often we lose sight of the works of God. The result of man's works: the automobiles, the combustion engines, the jet aircraft, the fossil fuel electrical plants, and so forth. You see by these things, the works of man's hands, we've so polluted the skies that we don't see the blueness of the sky much any more. We don't see the stars so much any more. We've got man's lights as we go outside that hide the stars, that diminish the brightness of the stars, as far as our visible eyes are concerned. Polluted air. And thus, we're not overawed walking out into the night as they were. We're not so conscious of the stars as they were. We've got all of these asphalt highways, all of these subdivisions, house joined upon house, and now condominiums and townhouses to where we have very little green space. So we're not so conscious of the trees and the flowers, the vegetation, the works of God's hands. But these people living in an agrarian culture, living close to nature, living in, living under the blue skies, and the clear skies, far more conscious of God and of God's creative acts, and God's creative power. And unfortunately, we lose sight of these things. That's why it's good to take a vacation and get out in the wilds if you can, get out in the desert or get out in the mountains. Get out among the trees, get out among the rivers and the lakes, get out in nature. Come in tune with nature again, the works of God, the works of God's hands, and then again comes that reverence and that awe as I behold the works of God in nature.

And so the psalmist here... it's a beautiful psalm, Psalms 104:1-35 , as he speaks of all of these things. The observations of nature, the fowls, the stork, the bird, the trees, the donkeys, the springs, the flowers, the goats, the conies, the moon and the sun. All of the things of nature.

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom you have made them all ( Psalms 104:24 ):

For you see the wisdom of God in the design of a leaf, in the design of a deer or the animals, their capacities.

the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein there are creeping innumerable [things that are creeping], both small and great beasts. Where the ships sail: and there is the leviathan ( Psalms 104:24-26 ),

Some think that that is a reference to the whales.

who thou hast made to play therein. These all wait all upon thee; that you may give them their meat in due season. That which you give them they gather: and you open your hand, and they are filled with good. And you hide your face, and they are troubled: you take away their breath, and they die, and return to their dust ( Psalms 104:26-29 ).

How dependent we are upon God. God takes away our breath; we die.

You send forth thy spirit, they are created: and you renew the face of the earth. The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works. He looks on the earth, and it trembles: he touches the hills, and they smoke. I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD ( Psalms 104:30-34 ).

Having observed nature and the hand of God in nature, and the marvelous wisdom of God and the glory of God as He has expressed in nature it brings forth a song in the heart of the psalmist. A song unto the Lord, singing praises, the meditation of Him shall be sweet. I will be glad in the Lord.

Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD ( Psalms 104:35 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Psalms 104". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/psalms-104.html. 2014.
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