1 Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendour and majesty. 2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
2b he stretches out the heavens like a tent 3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. 4 He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. 5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; 8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth. 10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. 11 They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. 13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work. 14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: 15 wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart. 16 The trees of the LORD are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the pine trees. 18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the conies. 19 The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. 20 You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. 21 The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. 22 The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. 23 Then man goes out to his work, to his labour until evening. 24 How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. 26 There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. 27 These all 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. 29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
31 May the glory of the LORD endure for ever; may the LORD rejoice in his works— 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 praise to my God as long as I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD. 35 But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD.
Psalm 104 – God’s clothing, creation and claim
(Verse 1-2a) Here, we praise God as Creator. As in Genesis 1 and 2, and throughout the Bible, we learn that God designed and created all things. Trust and obey Him because He is God the great Creator. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says that, ‘You are not your own: you were bought at a price.’ God has an even greater claim on you, if you have turned from your sins and received Jesus Christ as your Saviour. He bought you with His own precious blood on the cross in dying in your place as a sinless sacrifice, bearing the judgment for your sins. He bought you. God’s Holy Spirit lives in the born-again sinner’s life, so God also possesses you. In any case, God is worthy of everyone’s praise as Creator. He can be known personally – the psalm starts, ‘Praise the LORD, O my soul’ and ‘O LORD my God, You are very great.’ We have a ‘very great’ and personal God! He is clothed in ‘splendour’ and ‘majesty’. Part of His clothing is ‘light’. In this dark world, ‘God is light’ (1 John 1:5) and Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ (John 8:12)
(Verses 2b-30) See God’s hand of creation, design and preservation which shout to us of God’s amazing and varied creation: heavens; sky; clouds and world’s water system; winds; earth as a foundation; lakes, rivers, streams and springs; mountains and valleys; planned preservation of animals and birds by providing food and water, and places for them to live; ‘fruit of His works’ (meaning all food that grows seasonally); grass for animals; plants and food for mankind; oil; trees; moon marking out the seasons and sun marking out each day; darkness and light each day; sea and all its fish and inhabitants (including ‘leviathan’ – probably an extinct dinosaur); life cycles for every creature – and for man (who alone has an ever-living soul).
Verses 31-35) In light of God’s glory, eternality, and fearsome power, the psalmist knows the claim that the Creator has on him as a created being. Throughout his life he will honour God by song, praise and meditation which pleases his holy God, and by rejoicing in His LORD. Even creation shows God is too holy for uncleansed sinners to live with. But, when we repent and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘the blood of Jesus, [God’s] Son, purifies us from all sin.’ (1 John 1:7) So we know Him now personally and will joyfully dwell with God in Heaven. Join in now with the psalmist: ‘Praise the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD.’