Wednesday, September 7, 2016

God’s Wondrous Creation

Psalm 104:1-35

“Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.” (Psalm 104:1-5)

The things we think about determine our attitude.  If we are thinking about how well off we are or what e we are accomplishing we have a positive attitude, but if we focus on what we don’t have or what how people have mistreated us we develop a negative attitude.  The difference between happy people and those who are not is what they chosen to focus on.  The psalmist has chosen to focus on the goodness and power of God, rather than the problems he faces.  As he does so, he constantly sees more to rejoice about. 

He waxes poetic, describing God as stretching out the heavens like a curtain and setting the floor joists for his house on the waters and using the clouds for a chariot and using the wind as a highway to propel them.    He created the angels as spirits rather than physical beings, and all the angels were originally ministering spirits.   Like a flame of fire, sometimes they can be seen or felt, and can have considerable impact on earth, yet can only be captured or held by in connection with the fuel source.    The same God laid the very foundations of the earth that support everything else.     

“Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.  At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.  They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.  Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.” (Psalm 104:6-9)

God completely covered the earth with the seas. Including the tallest mountains. So that seashells, petrified wood and other fossils are often found, even at high altitudes.   When God spoke, the dry land appeared and the mountains arose.    Today the water evaporates from the ocean, is carried by the winds over the mountains where it condenses and runs down the valleys to the ocean in what is known as the water cycle.  Though they may cause local floods, they can never flood the entire earth again thanks to gravity pulling them back into the ocean.    

“He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.  They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.  By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.  He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.” (Psalm 104:10-13)

At the same time, God has created huge underground reservoirs that feed springs among the hills.  They form streams and ponds that the animals drink at.  The trees grow healthy close by and birds flock to them to build their nests.  Those same streams often supply water for vast areas.

“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.   The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.  The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.” (Psalm 104:14-18)

The native grasses are able to survive on just the rainfall, supplying food for cattle and wild game, and the various herbs grow for man’s benefit, providing food, shelter, and clothing.  Grape and berry vines provide delicious drinks and food that makes people feel good.  The trees produce an abundance of sap which can be used to make maple syrup,  frankincense, resin for sealing  containers or treating wounds, and various flavorings.  Various varieties of birds make their nests in different kinds of trees.  And the highest mountains are homes for the mountain goats, while marmots and conies make their dens in the piles of rocks that slide down. 

“He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.  Thou makest 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 ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.  Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.” (Psalm 104:19-23)

Our word for month refers to a moon, and is based on the time it takes for the moon to travel around the earth.  The exact dates can be easily determined by measuring exactly where or what time the sun sets.    When darkness falls, many of the animals come out to eat and the predators begin to hunt.  When the sun rises, the animals go to their dens and people become active, working until it begins to get dark. 
“O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.  So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.  There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.  These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.  That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.  Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.  The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.  He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke. “ (Psalm 104:24-32)

What a wonderfully complex and organized system God has created.  All the different species of animals and plants live together, depending on each other for survival.  Mankind’s ships s exist right alongside giant sea creatures that God made just to enjoy their playing.  Each one of them is dependent on god to supply what they need, enabling them to find it at the proper times.  Sometimes thay experience an abundance while other times they struggle to survive.  Ultimately they all die and their bodies decay, while God causes others to be born, literally creating the cell from which they will be born. 

“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.  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.” (Psalm 104:33-35)

Realizing how much God has blessed, the psalmist is committed to singing his praises and worshipping him as long as he lives.   Each time he thinks of the blessings he will be encouraged and excited and enjoy the blessings.   He prays that those who try to deprive others of God’s blessings be removed from the earth and cease to exist.    He will worship and thank God.  It is impossible to stay depressed when you realize how much God does for use each day.

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