Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
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Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 104

My soul, bless the Lord! Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with majesty and splendor. 2 He wraps himself in light as if it were a robe, spreading out the sky like a canopy, 3 laying the beams of his palace on the waters above, making the clouds his chariot, walking on the wings of the wind, 4 and making the winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.

5 He established the earth on its foundations; it will never be shaken. 6 You covered it with the deep as if it were a garment; the water stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke the water fled; at the sound of your thunder they hurried away— 8 mountains rose and valleys sank— to the place you established for them. 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; they will never cover the earth again.

10 He causes the springs to gush into the valleys; they flow between the mountains. 11 They supply water for every wild beast; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 The birds of the sky live beside the springs; they make their voices heard among the foliage. 13 He waters the mountains from his palace; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of your labor.

14 He causes grass to grow for the livestock and provides crops for man to cultivate, producing food from the earth, 15 wine that makes human hearts glad— making his face shine with oil— and bread that sustains human hearts.

16 The trees of the Lord flourish, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 There the birds make their nests; storks make their homes in the pine trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for hyraxes.

19 He made the moon to mark the festivals; the sun knows when to set. 20 You bring darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals stir. 21 The young lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. 22 The sun rises; they go back and lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes out to his work and to his labor until evening.

24 How countless are your works, Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. 26 There the ships move about, and Leviathan, which you formed to play there.

27 All of them wait for you to give them their food at the right time. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When you send your breath, they are created, and you renew the surface of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works. 32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; he touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke. 33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him; I will rejoice in the Lord. 35 May sinners vanish from the earth and wicked people be no more. My soul, bless the Lord! Hallelujah!

The Original Intent

1) How did God establish the foundations of the earth? (verse 5)

In Psalm 104:5, the author wrote of God’s creation when he declared, “He established the earth on its foundations; it will never be shaken.” David Guzik explains how “The psalmist understood that God was the Creator of all things, and that it was He who laid the foundations of the earth. It did not happen by chance or random events.”

Before creation, there was darkness and a void (Genesis 1:2), but God spoke and commanded everything into existence (Psalm 33:9). Charles Spurgeon marveled, “the earth is so placed in space that it remains as stable as if it were a fixture. (…) What power must there be in that hand which has caused so vast a body to know its orbit, and to move so smoothly in it.”

It is difficult to comprehend that our amazing world, with its intricate design and complex functions, was established and maintained by Words spoken by the Creator. Yet, Scripture is very clear that every created thing was made by God (John 1:3) and is sustained by Him (Colossians 1:17).

As we contemplate the wonder of God’s creation, we can rejoice with the psalmist how the whole earth is filled with the Lord’s glory! (Psalm 72:19)

The Everyday Application

1) How did God establish the foundations of the earth? (verse 5)

According to Nasa.gov, Earth has the nickname “the Goldilocks planet. In the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears, a little girl named Goldilocks liked everything just right. (…) On Earth, everything is just right for living things. It’s warm, but not too warm. And it has water, but not too much water.”

How is it that earth happens to be “just right” for life? Surely no accident or happenstance could produce a planet capable of sustaining life for animals, plants, and humans! Scripture tells us it exists this way because of its Creator. The Lord God formed the earth and set its place in the heavens. Colossians 1:16 informs us “everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities— all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Astronauts who have witnessed what earth looks like from space report feeling overwhelmed by the beauty of the “blue marble” and the sight of it suspended in space. Astronaut, Michael Massimino, described his mission with the shuttle Atlantis as “I felt like I was almost looking at a secret . . . It’s too beautiful. There’re no words to describe how beautiful things are out there.”

This sentiment echoes the words of David in Psalm 19:1 who announces, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the expanse proclaims the work of his hands.” The order, beauty, and design of Earth and all creation declares the handiwork of a Divine Creator, whether your view is from the plains of Kansas, the mountains of Ethiopia, or the window of a shuttle whirling through space.

The Original Intent

2) What is meant by God watering the mountain from His palace and satisfying the earth from the fruit of His labor? (verse 13)

Psalm 104 paints a beautiful picture of Creation and the subsequent care God provides His creatures. In verse 13 David writes, “He waters the mountains from his palace; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of your labor.” While it may sound strange, this describes how God provides rain for all living things so they have the food and water necessary to sustain life. Even “The mountains themselves, even their highest tops, are not left dry. Where springs cannot reach, rain falls from God’s ‘chambers’ in the sky, and spreads equal refreshment.” (Pulpit Commentary)

God provides everything the land needs to grow and thrive from the highest heights to the deepest depths. Because this Psalm also discusses Creation, some people are confused by this reference to rain when there was none during Creation. (Genesis 2:5) In fact, the Bible doesn’t mention rainfall until the Great Flood. (Genesis 7:11-12) But this account doesn’t contradict the Creation account because it isn’t referencing Creation, but instead depicts how God uses rain to sustain His Creation. 

Walter Zorn explains, “Following the order of creation as given in Genesis, [the psalmist] shows how God, in successive stages, was preparing for the welfare and comfort of his creatures.” In Psalm 65:9, the psalmist proclaims God visits “the earth and waters it abundantly, enriching it greatly. God’s stream is filled with water, for you prepare the earth in this way, providing people with grain.” 

In Acts 14:17 God “did what is good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons and filling you with food. . .” Every rainy day is a reminder of God’s provision, just as every dry season points to our need for reliance on God in everything.

The Everyday Application

2) What is meant by God watering the mountain from His palace and satisfying the earth from the fruit of His labor? (verse 13)

Looking back over the 50 Midwest summers I have enjoyed, many of them have included hot, dry months without enough rain. Kids weren’t allowed to run through the water hose or fill the wading pool because water needed to be conserved. My farmer-Grandpa watched the weather forecast and worried over the continued drought. I remember prayer meetings where the saints all cried out to God to make the rain fall. I also remember the joy and relief when precious raindrops finally pelted the dry ground!

The psalmist David blessed the Lord for His provision of rain, recognizing the simplicity of rain as part of God’s plan for life on earth to flourish. David Guzik notes how “The psalmist considered how the water, plants, and animals of the earth each find their place in God’s plan and order. (…) He saw a good, harmonious world in nature and knew Yahweh was responsible for it.”

Because we require rain to water the vegetation that feeds people and animals, God waters the earth so it can sustain us. (Isaiah 55:10) When we consider how it’s God who “gives the seasonal rains, both autumn and spring, who guarantees to us the fixed weeks of the harvest” (Jeremiah 5:24), we should be thankful and wonder at God’s goodness and power.

The Original Intent

3) How does God give all creatures food at the right time? (verse 27)

When David asserted all created beings “wait for [God] to give them their food at the right time” (verse 27), he described God’s provision for everything He had made. Philip Harrelson suggests David “is portraying a direct dependence of all things, all life, upon the active presence of God, in every moment, for all time.”

God created all living things and made provision for them to grow and develop by giving the food they need when they need it. (Psalm 136:25) God gives all creatures food, but He also supplies all the needs of His people. (Philippians 4:19Andrew Murray explains how “It is the very place and nature of God to be the continuous supplier of the creature‘s every need. Likewise, the very place and nature of the creature is only this—to wait upon God and receive from Him what He alone can give, what He delights to give.”

God longs to give us good gifts when we seek Him and wait upon Him. (Matthew 7:11) He lovingly provides us with strength (Philippians 4:13) and grace (James 4:6) in our everyday lives. God wants us to turn to Him for everything we need (Isaiah 45:22) because He is everything we need. (Psalm 16:5) God supplies our physical needs by assuring our food grows as we need it, and He supplies our spiritual and emotional needs so we grow in His grace and the knowledge of Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

God wants us to have what we need so = we can do all the good works He set out for us to accomplish in His strength. (2 Corinthians 9:8) What a relief knowing that everything we need, from the food we eat to the plan for our lives, comes from the gracious hand of God!

The Everyday Application

3) How does God give all creatures food at the right time? (verse 27)

I loved visiting my Grandpa’s farm as a little girl. I chased chickens, rode horses, traveled in the cab of his tractor, and even watched baby pigs being born. I jumped at every chance to visit the farm. But one Christmas, as I watched Grandpa pull on his boots to set out for the farm, I asked him why he was farming on Christmas. He laughed, saying the cows want to eat every day, even on Christmas!

That memory of Grandpa feeding his cattle reminds me of the psalmist David’s words that all created beings “wait for [God] to give them their food at the right time.” (Psalm 104:27) Like a farmer caring for his livestock, God makes sure His creatures are cared for as needed on a daily basis. The Bible tells us God feeds the birds, and since we matter more to Him than they do, we shouldn’t worry because God knows what we need (Matthew 6:32)

Jesus proved this care for people’s physical needs when He fed a crowd of more than 5,000 who had come to hear His teaching. In blessing 2 loaves of bread and 5 fishes, Christ fed the masses. (Matthew 14:19-21) More than just providing food for us, our loving God “richly provides us with all things to enjoy.” (1 Timothy 6:17

Alexander Maclaren asserts, “So manifold are the aspects of God’s infinite sufficiency, that every soul, in every possible variety of circumstance, will find there just what will suit it.” No matter who we are or what we need, God has us covered! He ensures our physical needs are met, and He invites us to ask Him for our “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11), which refers to all the needs we depend on God to satisfy.

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