Published October 21, 2004
Psalm 104:1-5, 13-15, 24, 27-30
Related Sunday School Lesson Family Bible Series, November 7
It has been called "the book that shook the world." Its text was presented academically in 1858 and published in 1859 by a young graduate of Cambridge University. Though he had gone to school to study to become a clergyman in the Church of England, Charles Darwin certainly did not write as a conservative seminary graduate.
Darwin had earlier sailed to the Galapagos Islands (off the coast of Ecuador) aboard the HMS Beagle. There he observed various forms of turtles and birds living on the string of islands. He formed an unusual theory concerning the formation of these animals and ultimately of all life forms.
His controversial book, originally titled On the Origin of Species, espoused what has come to be known as the theory of evolution. Our adversary, the devil, has been pushing this ungodly theory now for nearly 150 years. By and large, the world has bought the lie ... hook, line, and sinker.
I think the Genesis account is a favorite target of Satan because of the basic question, "Did God create man or did man create God?" If macroevolution is true then God is a mere figment of man's overly-active imagination. Satan also attacks the doctrine of creation because of all the wonderful truths we can learn about God from creation itself.
In these lessons we have the privilege of looking into the perfect Word of God and discovering what the masterpiece says about the Master.
Though unsigned, Psalm 104 is generally attributed to David. Whomever the author, he is enamored with the greatness, goodness, and glory of the Lord. His divine discoveries should lead us to praise our awesome God because of:
His Sovereignty, vs. 1a
The psalmist barely has his quill to the parchment before "Bless the Lord, O my soul" erupts from his inspired hand. The word "Lord" here is our word, "Jehovah" which means "self-existing."
When Christians speak of God's sovereignty, it is often in a discussion of the doctrine of election. While that is certainly a part of God's sovereignty, the picture here is simple: The Lord of Creation is dependent on no one but Himself! He is completely self-sufficient and self-existent.
If we simply open our eyes to the beauty of God's creation we will understand that a God who spoke all things into existence is completely in control. He sits all alone on the throne of the universe.
His Size, vs. 1b-4
If creation tells us nothing else about our Lord it gives us some idea of His size. How large is a God that flings billions of billions of stars into orbit as easily as a man throws a coat over his shoulder? How vast is the One who uses the expanse of clouds as a chariot? Though we know God spoke these things into existence, the psalmist compares the creation of the heavens to a man raising a tent.
The well-loved hymn tells of the man walking through the beautiful forest, gazing upon the mountain peaks, and listening to the birds sing. He looks into the starry night sky, feels a breeze against his face, listens to the claps of thunder and contemplates the grand scale of creation's masterpiece. Every redeemed heart should join him in wondrous declaration, "Then sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee, 'How great Thou art!'"
His Steadfastness, vs. 5
This big and powerful God has not only spoken creation into being but He is holding it firmly together by that same power. What a vivid reminder! If God can establish the earth and keep it from moving out of its allotted space, can He not establish me, guide my steps, and keep me from falling?
His Supply, vs. 13-15, 24
These verses fit so nicely with the words of our Savior in His sermon on the mount. In Matthew 6:25-34 Christ reminds His listeners of the cure for anxiety. When we observe how our heavenly Father supplies the needs of the plants and animals, it should give us great confidence that He will meet our needs as well. With each drop of rainfall and each morning's refreshing dew we should be reminded that we serve a need-meeting God!
His Sustenance, vs. 27-30
Creation reveals that God is the Keeper and Sustainer of life. In previous verses the psalmist has listed many types of creatures and he now declares that "they all wait on You." Not only does God supply everything they need but He sustains their very life. In verse 29, the inspired poet reflects that God controls the ending of life as well as its beginning. When Jehovah stops providing breath for the creation, the creature dies and returns to the ground.
For each of us that day is set on God's calendar. Because He is Lord of Creation He has the sovereign right to establish the number of our days. Most of us know our birth date but only God knows our death date. Creation itself is reminding us to be ready for our two Providentially established appointments with death and judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
Darwin spent his early years observing creation and yet he could not see what creation was revealing. He looked at the tropical mockingbirds but I am afraid he missed their song and established a theory that is truly for the birds. If he had listened with spiritual ears he might have heard the real song of the Galapagos finch:
This is my Father's world. The birds their carols raise.
The morning light, the lily white declare their Maker's praise.
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