Declaring praise to God for His providential care

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30
Psalm 104:26-37

Praise to God for His provision and His purpose

26 There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which You formed to frolic there.

  • Leviathan is a mighty creature, like a sea monster, who can overwhelm man but is no match for God. Monster or not, the sea creatures are all created by God – reflecting the fifth day of creation, Genesis 1:21 “…God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems…”
  • “Frolic there”: made to play in the sea, New Living Translation. The psalmist says that this feared creature is nothing but the Lord’s pet (NLTSB).

For further study, see Job 3:8, Job 41:1, Psalm 74:14, Isaiah 27:1

27 All creatures look to You to give them their food at the proper time.

28 When You give it to them, they gather it up; when You open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.

  • All of creation depends on God’s providential care. This providence is not remote from us and we should never take it for granted. Our prayerful, worshipful relationship with God calls down what He has already prepared.

29 When You hide your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

  • This seems to recall Job 1:21 “…The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

30 When You send your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the ground.

  • “Send Your Spirit” (v.30) or “breath” v.29). The word ruach can be translated either way, as in these two verses. God’s breath, or Spirit, is what brings life and renewal to every living thing, including humankind.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works –

  • Introduces a section with words of declaration – in other words, speaking truth in faith to the heavenlies – and blessing. “Let” and “may” are usually words which invoke, or call down, God’s good intentions which is what we do as we exercise our choice to bless. Of course God wants His glory to endure, and to be able to rejoice in His works, and the psalmist’s declaration is agreeing with Him. As we say it or sing it, we are agreeing with the Lord and His purpose, which is much more than a nice thing to do. It is spiritually powerful in establishing our partnership with God’s purpose, and against other evil purposes.

32 He who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.

34 May my meditation be pleasing to Him, as I rejoice in the Lord.

  • In the context of the preceding verses, that meditation must surely be to reflect on God’s providence, His sovereign purpose for each of us that overarches the ups and downs of everyday life, and which will in His timing be fulfilled. This is not a passive response to His providence; God works with the natural order of things and also intentionally with us, as covenant partners, to bring about His government, which is why we pray, preach the Gospel and act on what He shows us!

35 But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.

  • This prayer (or more accurately, declaration of faith) expresses a common plea by Christians, that the curse of the earth be reversed and wicked people no longer have the upper hand in affairs around us. This will be fulfilled fully, in a way we see only partially, at the end time and the return of the Messiah Rev. 20:11-15, Rev. 22:3

Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord.

  • Meanwhile the power to bring beneficial change comes from praise of God who is good, and whose intentions are always the best, in whom there is no shadow of turning, who is faithful and not fickle – whatever our perceptions might be at any one time. When we feel powerless, praise to God whose character and kingdom purpose sits over and above our trials and difficulties is the attitude the devil fears most of all.

Application

Everything holds together in God – He breathes, and His breath, or Spirit, gives life.

However, the world we live in is caught up in two cycles, gaining life and losing life.

Our praise of God and particularly our declarations of who He is as Creator and His goodness, kindness, greatness and faithfulness, turn what is wilting into what is renewing and growing. That is our purpose.

For reflection and discussion

2. Are we more inclined to point out how everything is going wrong, or how God is over all the affairs of our world, “renewing the face of the ground”? Which is more like agreeing with Him?