psalm uses three different forms – speaking to himself, speaking
to the readers, and speaking to the Lord.
verses 2-5 and 10-19 it is as if he speaks to his readers objectively
about who God is and what he has done.
verses 6-9 and 20-30 he speaks directly to the Lord – observe
the use of ‘You'.
of it comes with a sense of reverent awe, extolling God and providing
fuel for our worship of Him.
himself to praise God) Praise
the Lord, my soul.
because he is so great) Lord
my God, you are very great;
appears so full of splendour) you
are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He stands back and describes to us what the Lord does and has
psalmists recognition of the Lord's greatness, over and above
(the Lord's glory
always surrounds him) The Lord
wraps himself in light as with a garment;
(space is but his home) he
stretches out the heavens like a tent
(your home is above
the clouds) and lays the
beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
(indeed the scudding clouds look like your transport)
He makes the clouds his chariot
(and you sail across the sky on the wind)
and rides on the wings of the wind.
(the winds seem
to bring his messages) He makes
winds his messengers,
(lightning does his bidding) flames
of fire his servants.
(he established the earth)
He set the earth on its foundations;
(so it is fixed and immovable) it
can never be moved.
He steps forward and addresses the Lord directly (1) - His initial
acts of creation
psalmist's recognition of God's initial creative acts seen in
v.6 (you made much water on the earth)
You covered it with the watery depths
as with a garment;
(so much it even covered what today we call mountains)
the waters stood above the mountains.
(but at your command
the waters receded) But at your
rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took
(as water evaporated
what was left flows down as rivers and streams) they
flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to
the place you assigned for them.
seas were formed of designated sizes) You
set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover
He stands back again and describes to us what the Lord does and
has done (2)
reiterates the Lord's creative acts but now seeing it bringing
water for the life on earth) He
makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between
(those waters provide
for living creatures of the earth) They
give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys
quench their thirst.
(even the birds need
water as do the trees they nest in) The
birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the
(the water cycle means
water comes from the clouds, runs down the mountains, fill the
seas and is evaporated to clouds again, a constant supply )
He waters the mountains from his
upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
( grass for cattle,
plants for mankind, food grown using water) He
makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for people to cultivate—
bringing forth food from the earth:
(the fruits – drink that
brings pleasure) wine that gladdens
(oil for skin care and enhancing beauty and wellbeing)
oil to make their faces shine,
(bread the staff of life that sustains us) and
bread that sustains their hearts.
(the provision enables
great trees to grow) The trees
of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that
(and there provide homes
and security for birds) There
the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the
(some of the creatures
find security in the high mountains) The
high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge
for the hyrax.
(day, night, seasons,
all profit from the sun and moon) He
made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when
to go down.
He steps forward again and addresses the Lord directly (2)
The activity of the Earth
v.20,21 (Lord, you created the night where
the animals prowl to find their food) You
bring darkness, it becomes
night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. The lions
roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
(when the sun rises
they retire) The sun rises,
and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens.
(daytime is the
time when people get up and work) Then
people go out to their work, to their labor until evening.
(all of this activity
is because you created them) How
many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them
all; the earth is full of your creatures.
(in the sea there
is just as much activity) There
is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond
number— living things both large and small.
(on the surface
similarly, much activity) There
the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed
to frolic there.
(all this life
relies on you to provide for them) All
creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper
God's interaction with all creatures
(you provide it,
they receive it) When you give
it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they
are satisfied with good things.
(if you don't they
are in trouble) When you hide
your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they
die and return to the dust.
(by the power of
your Spirit you bring life to creatures and plant life alike)
When you send your Spirit, they
are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
To God be the Glory
(may God's wonderful
presence be here forever, Him rejoicing in all His works on earth)
May the glory of the Lord endure
forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—
(He comes, He moves
and the earth is changed) he
who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the
mountains, and they smoke.
(this touches my
heart so I will sing of it forever, praise to my God) I
will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to
my God as long as I live.
(may my conclusion
be aright and please him) May
my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.
(yet will those
who are godless and unrighteous be taken away. I will praise Him
for He is worthy) But may sinners
vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the
Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord.
The apostle Paul rebukes the unbelieving world
for its failure to perceive God in the wonder of His world (Rom
1:19,20) This psalm is an antidote for that unbelief as the psalmist
focuses our attention on the wonder of the Lord's activity (v.2-5),
His activity in establishing the planet (v.6-9), bringing life
with living creatures and His provision for them (v.10-19), seen
in all the activity on the earth (v.20-27), seen in the way how
He provides for them and they rely on Him (v.28-30). All of this
provokes him into praise and worship (v.31-35) – and hopefully
us as well.