Psalm 104

It is the joy of the saints that He who is their God is a great God who may be seen in all His mighty works in nature,
which proclaim Him to be infinitely wise and good.

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 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;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

35 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 104:1-12 – ​The Lord’s Wondrous Handiwork

   The opening verses of this psalm appear to describe in sublime poetry the creation of the world. God is very great, because He created the heavens and the earth. He is clothed with honor and majesty, and yet He stooped to brood over the chaos and darkness which preceded the order and beauty of our earth. When He said (Genesis 1:3), “Let there be light,” He robed Himself in its texture. The firmament of Genesis 1:8 was the curtain of his tent. The clouds above and the seas beneath yielded his chariot and hid for Him the joists of His palace. See Genesis 1:9-10. Compare Psalm 103:4 and Hebrews 1:7.
   The psalmist in Psalm 104:6 seems to see the process which is described briefly and graphically in Genesis 1:10. The waters had covered the world with their storm and welter; but at God’s command they poured down the mountain slopes to the ocean bed, there to be retained by banks of sand. What exquisite thoughtfulness is disclosed in God’s provision of the springs! He thinks for the wild asses and the fowls, and how much more will He care for you, O ye of little faith! —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 104:3—Who maketh the clouds his chariot.

​   As I write these words on the bosom of the broad Atlantic, there is little for the eye to rest on but the heaving waters through which we are swiftly cutting our path, and the expanse of sky through which float the great piles of cloud. It is pleasant to think of them as the chariots of God; the heavens beyond are the curtains of his tent; this wind is his swift-stepping messenger; this exquisite light glancing on sky and sea is his garment, hardly dense enough to veil his visible Presence. O Nature, how can we do other than love thee, since the Being of our God is so closely mingled with thy hues and forms!
   How often God visits us in a chariot of cloud! We look up and see the looming darkness, and forebode evil. But if we could look down, as from a seat in the heavenlies, we should behold our God sitting within, radiant with golden glory, and hastening to bless. In dry, waterless lands, the rain-bearing clouds are signally the chariots of blessing.

       “Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
          The clouds ye so much dread
       Are big with mercy, and shall break
          In blessings on your head.”

   When the soul, says one, is born again into the Divine light, she becometh a humble, loving, winning creature, that beareth every cross and reproach, that regardeth no insult, either from man or devil, that places her love and confidence in the heart of God, full of joy, fed by the Word of God, bathed in a smile of heavenly triumph. But the reason for this is in the absolute confidence that God is in all our life, and that

       “The cloud which spreads above,
       And veileth love
       Itself is Love,” —Our Daily Homily

Psalm 104:13-23 – ​A Habitation for Beast and Man

   Where there is true love for God, there will be a glad and rejoicing heart that takes pleasure in the study of His works. The loving child of a great artist lingers about his studio, watches with eager interest the development of picture or statue, and speaks with delight to others of her father’s work. It is in such a spirit that those who know God in daily fellowship and communion follow the psalmist to mountain streams, to the pastures and the meadows, the grain-fields and the orchards, the high mountains with their dark pines and firs.
   There is no pen that has more eloquently portrayed these scenes than Ruskin’s. He had a natural love for beauty, and an unrivaled genius for vivid description; but it was as a boy at his mother’s knee that he learned from these Scriptures to connect the glories of the natural world with the devout adoration of the Creator. His books reflect this early training.
   This psalm may be called a divine commentary on God’s earliest book—the world which lies around us. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Psalm 104:24-35 – ​The Almighty’s Open Hand

   The psalmist says nothing of the operation of the great laws of nature, but passes behind and beyond to the Great Hand which opens to fill and satisfy all living things with good. The personality of God is the moving force behind the thin veil of outward appearance. This is in striking contrast with much of the thinking and speaking of the present day, which practically exclude the Creator from his own creation. But there is no real opposition between the two conceptions. Natural law is only another way of stating the usual method of God’s working. There is no variableness in Him, nor shadow cast by turning; and it is because we can count on His unaltering methods that human life can develop regularly and successfully.
   While all creation waits on the opening of God’s hand, man alone can adore Him. We stand in the midst of creation as its high priest and interpreter. We can say to God what nature longs to express but cannot. Amid the beauty and magnificence of natural scenery, let us sing the “Te Deum;” and let us believe that He who rejoices in His works comes very near us in our joy, which proves that our nature and His are closely akin. —Through the Bible Day by Day