1 Praise the Lord, my soul.
Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
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 watery depths 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 sky nest by the waters;
they sing among the branches.
13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
15 wine that gladdens human hearts,
oil to make their faces shine,
and bread that sustains their hearts.
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 junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
19 He made the moon to mark 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 people go out to their work,
to their labor until evening.
24 How many are your works, 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 Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
27 All creatures 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 ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
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, my soul.
Praise the Lord.
(Psalm 104:1-35 NIV)
Similar to Psalm 103, today’s psalm begins and ends with worship – “Praise the Lord”.
This psalm is focused on God as the creator and sustainer of all life. This psalm carries the same theme (God’s glory) as Psalm 8 and the introduction of verse 1 in Psalm 19:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
(Psalm 19:1 NIV)
Notice how the psalmist switches pronouns when referring to the Lord – sometimes in the second person (“You”), while other times in the third person (“He”). As I close my eyes and think about this for a moment, I imagine the psalmist sitting quietly with his best friend at the fading of the day, talking to the Lord and to his friend at the same time. The psalmist effortlessly shifts between praising the Lord directly and sharing God’s wonder with his friend as they worship together.
The psalmist covers a wide array of God’s handiwork in this psalm, sandwiched in between a beginning praise (vv. 1-4) and an ending praise (vv. 31-35). As you re-read the psalm, notice the following topics:
- God’s Creation and the Flood (vv. 5-9)
- God providing water for the earth and its creatures (vv. 10-13)
- God providing plants as food for the animals and humans (vv. 14-17)
- God providing food for animals and humans (vv. 18-23)
- The psalmist admiring the incredible diversity of all God’s creatures (vv. 24-26)
- The Lord’s care and provision for all His creation, and the contentment and peace that comes from willing and humble dependence on Him (vv. 27-30)
As you read and meditate on this psalm, what stirs inside you?
Awe and wonder?
Here’s an old hymn, written by Robert Grant in 1833, that is based on Psalm 104:1-7 and captures the essence of the psalmist’s worship (with a newer musical arrangement):
Enjoy worshipping in His Presence today…