Psalm 104: Seeing God Through Nature

Psalm 104: Seeing God Through Nature

Posted on July 22, 2019

BY HANNAH STAPLETON, GRACE ATTENDER

Psalm 104

Let all that I am praise the Lord.
O Lord my God, how great you are!
    You are robed with honor and majesty.
    You are dressed in a robe of light.
You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens;
    you lay out the rafters of your home in the rain clouds.
You make the clouds your chariot;
    you ride upon the wings of the wind.
The winds are your messengers;
    flames of fire are your servants.[a]
You placed the world on its foundation
    so it would never be moved.
You clothed the earth with floods of water,
    water that covered even the mountains.
At your command, the water fled;
    at the sound of your thunder, it hurried away.
Mountains rose and valleys sank
    to the levels you decreed.
Then you set a firm boundary for the seas,
    so they would never again cover the earth.
10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
    so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
    and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
    and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
    and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
    and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
15     wine to make them glad,
olive oil to soothe their skin,
    and bread to give them strength.
16 The trees of the Lord are well cared for—
    the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
17 There the birds make their nests,
    and the storks make their homes in the cypresses.
18 High in the mountains live the wild goats,
    and the rocks form a refuge for the hyraxes.[b]
19 You made the moon to mark the seasons,
    and the sun knows when to set.
20 You send the darkness, and it becomes night,
    when all the forest animals prowl about.
21 Then the young lions roar for their prey,
    stalking the food provided by God.
22 At dawn they slink back
    into their dens to rest.
23 Then people go off to their work,
    where they labor until evening.
24 O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
    In wisdom you have made them all.
    The earth is full of your creatures.
25 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
    teeming with life of every kind,
    both large and small.
26 See the ships sailing along,
    and Leviathan,[c] which you made to play in the sea.
27 They all depend on you
    to give them food as they need it.
28 When you supply it, they gather it.
    You open your hand to feed them,
    and they are richly satisfied.
29 But if you turn away from them, they panic.
    When you take away their breath,
    they die and turn again to dust.
30 When you give them your breath,[d] life is created,
    and you renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the Lord continue forever!
    The Lord takes pleasure in all he has made!
32 The earth trembles at his glance;
    the mountains smoke at his touch.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live.
    I will praise my God to my last breath!
34 May all my thoughts be pleasing to him,
    for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let all sinners vanish from the face of the earth;
    let the wicked disappear forever.
Let all that I am praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!

 

 
My husband and I went on our honeymoon a few weeks ago down to French Lick in Southern Indiana. As we made the two- and half-hour drive down, I was shocked to see the scenery change so dramatically around me. Flat fields of corn gave way to limestone quarries. Rocky cliffs lined the roads instead of rows of ragweed and wild flowers. There were stunning hills and valleys. We went canoeing, and I basked in the winding river and seeing the creeks from caves feed into it. Not even 200 miles from my home, but it was so completely different.
 
I get why David praises the wonders of God in this Psalm. Because, when you think about it, how could we not? God created this widely varying geography of just this one state—and then think about the differences between Maine and California! Just our own little county is home to its own topography, its own ecosystems, its own uniqueness. “O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!” (v. 24). And God provides for all of that, for all of us! Nature is so vast and so different and has so many different and complex needs. And every single need is met. “You renew the face of the earth.” (v. 30).
 
Sometimes, it can be hard to praise God. I’ve been there. When things aren’t going right or I’m anxious and really just need to see more of God’s presence in my life, I need to be reminded to look out my window at the towering tree outside my deck. A tree God created and enabled to grow for so many years. See the potted flowers that are by some sort of miracle surviving this heat. Proclaim, “Let all that I am praise the Lord.” Because He is worthy.

Reflect 

  1. Challenge yourself to get out into Nature this week—even if it’s just your backyard. Take some deep breaths and look around. How do you see God’s presence? His provision and creativity?

  2. What are some ways that you can praise God daily for the world around you?

  3. Psalm 104 starts with describing God in natural terms—“dressed in light,” “chariots of clouds,” “rafters in rain clouds.” How does Nature reveal to us more about who God is?