Tuesday: Psalm 104-105, Proverbs 23, 2 Kings 7:3-20 & Romans 9

From Tim Teal

Psalm 104

Oh LORD my God, you are very great!

The psalmist launches into what seems an almost breathless recounting of God’s Creation. Light. Seas and dry land. The moon and the sun. Day and night. And how God continues to breath life into his world. His “springs gush forth” and he “waters the mountains,” and the plants and animals that God created are watered and fed.

I was most intrigued by humanity’s appearance in this psalm. The first reference is in verses 14 and 15. They are worth reading:

“You cause the grass to grow for the livestock,
    And plants for man to cultivate,
That he may bring food from the earth
    And wine to gladden the heart of man
Oil to make his face shine,
    And bread to strengthen man’s heart.”

Food, wine, oil, and bread. Not bad for a day's work. But the thrust of the psalm is in that first line in verse 14: “You cause the grass to grow…” This is a fascinating passive-active relationship where humanity cultivates and works in fields that are totally given by and dependant on God. 

The next time we appear, verses 21-23 read:

“The young lions roar for their prey,
    Seeking their food from God.
When the sun rises they steal away
    And lie down in their dens
Man goes out to his work
    And to his labor until evening.”

This beautiful creation has rhythms and cycles. First the lion does it’s thing, and then it’s our turn. I love this part because we find ourselves characters in a scene that is actually all about Someone Else.

We might expect the psalmist to begin to warn us lest we thought we caused the food and drink to grow all by ourselves. Or admonish us about what would happen if we started living out of sync with this rhythm God has created. But there is no sense of that here, because this is not about us. Humanity is not given a choice, nor are we warned about the danger of disobedience or anything of that sort. Instead we are simply told: This is what I have made. This is how all the parts work. Bless and praise the LORD!

Understanding ourselves as created beings helps us. It can give us peace. In a world that seems to get faster, more complicated, and more and more out of our control, God reminds us: I made this place. It works the way I designed it. I know what it looks like but the scoffers and naysayers are wrong. I really am in control, creating. saving, restoring, and returning.

It also keeps us from pride. It helps us read things like Romans 9. It protects us from believing too much our own control over the world, despite any mastery we think we have achieved over it. We are, after all, only cultivating plants that God himself planted and watered.

I pray today that you find peace, joy, and humility in knowing your Creator and Sustainer. Amen!