Dear Saints of Calvin,
Today I wanted to share some brief thoughts on a lengthy Psalm.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment,
stretching out the heavens like a tent.
Psalm 104 is a beautiful account of the Lord's work of both creation & providence.
Here we're reminded that our God is the creator of beauty as he orders this world.
He is Lord of all, He is clothed with splendor & majesty. Our Lord dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 6:16). He orders and ordains all things.
The majority of this Psalm describes this activity with joy. We're shown a master craftsman working perfection. The details remind us of the beauty of God's creation. Land, sea, skies, plants, animals, and people. The Lord knows and provides for all of his creation.
Even as we struggle under difficult circumstances. Even when we're frustrated with uncertainty. The Lord is sustaining us in the midst of our shifting priorities. The Lord is sustaining us in the midst of our confusing plans. The Lord is sustaining us even on our deathbeds.
These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season. When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
Does this world look beautiful? Not only when given good things, but even when we are dismayed? Could you sing this song today and add your Amen to the psalmists words?
Because that is the purpose of this Psalm. It is drawing us to praise God. And yet this Psalm is written in the context of a world that is fallen. It is declaring the beauty of a world suffering under the consequences of sin. And it reminds us that our God is still worthy of worship.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD.
As the ordinary operations of the world reveal, our God has created and is sustaining every activity. He displays his glory through his handiwork day in and day out.
Not in order that we may be satisfied with what we have or satisfied with what we lack. But that we might be satisfied with God. The more we see of our God. The more this creates a longing in us to praise his name. The more we see of our God and how he cares and provides for us in a sinful and fallen world, this creates a longing to see the end of sin and its consequences. At first glance, the final verse of this Psalm strikes an odd and seemingly out of place chord.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Praise the LORD!
It's a call for God's judgment and justice to go forth across the earth. Yet don't you see how appropriate this longing is after describing God's beautiful handiwork in a sinful and fallen world? The more we see of our God's care, this creates a longing to see his righteousness reign on the earth. It creates a longing for re-creation and a longing for the resurrection.
As Paul likewise says in Romans 8:19:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
The order and beauty of God's world directs us to the power and beauty of our Lord. The more we see of his tender care the greater we long to be with Him.
For your creator and sustainer is also your redeemer.
May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
—Rev. Paul Johnson