Sunday School Lesson – January 22, 2017 Praise for the Creator’s Wisdom
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: Unknown – Place: Palestine
Golden Text: “O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches” (Psalm 104:24).
Psalm 104 is a wisdom psalm, is also a creation psalm. It is a recasting of Genesis 1, a joyful celebration of the world as the creation of God. The poetry of the psalmists and the prophets often reflects upon God’s work in creation. The structure of the poem is praise for God’s work in creation. The creation of the heavens; the creation of the earth, the waters of blessings, the fullness of the earth the pattern of life, praise for God’s great creation. An acknowledgment that all life is dependent upon the Lord.
Psalm 104:1 – Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. The Psalm is a poetic summary of God’s creation of the world found in the first chapter of Genesis. What God created each day is mentioned by the Psalmist as a reason to praise God. On day one, God created light, day two, sky, and water; day three, land and vegetation; day four, the sun, the moon, and stars; day five, fish and birds, and on day six, animals, man and food to sustain them. God’s act of creation deserves the praise of all people; the earth is full of His riches, He made them for all for everyone to enjoy from every nation.
Psalm 104:2 – Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. God is Spirit (God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth – John 4:24). The description of Him varies through the Bible. One definite description of Him is light (This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all – 1st John 1:5). Here light is described as the garment that enfolds His wonder. The first act of God in Genesis was the command for light (And God said, Let there be light; and there was light – Genesis 1:3). While the Psalm was written to be sung corporately, the emphasis is on the individual’s participation in praise. The Lord is presented as the King, and the imagery is of Him clad in royal garments. The terms speak of His splendor but also of His beautiful and attractive character. The fact that He puts on these attributes suggests that His character is displayed in his outward actions. This also applies to the Christian, what’s in the inside of us will always manifest itself on the outside rather it righteousness or ungodliness as well as carnality.
Psalm 104:3 – Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the world. The Lord is the one who layeth the beams of his chambers in the water. Chambers is meant “roof chambers, like those that were built on the roofs of houses to take advantage of evening breezes during the summer heat. The beams of the chambers, however, rest on the waters. In the Creation context, these are the waters above the firmament. The clouds serve as His chariot, and they depict Him riding on the winds as it had wings. The prophet Nahum speaks about God’s majestic (The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet – Nahum 1:3).
Psalm 104:4 – Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire. The word for angels means “messengers,” “spirits can also mean “the wind”. Hebrew quotation is that God makes His angels like the wind and His ministers another reference to angels, like fire. Pastor’s are sometimes reference to as “angels of the church”.
Psalm 104:24 – O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. The vast number and variety of God’s creative works reveal the Lord’s wisdom. It was in the wisdom that all of them were made. God’s understanding, discretion, and omniscience are all part of His wisdom. “Riches can refer to either possessions or creatures. Things on earth are not ours to use as we please; they belong to God, and we are to use them to please Him.
Psalm 104:25 – So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. Is explaining more of God’s great creation, “Wide” speaks more of its size. While the Sea of Galilee was very important to the economy of the northern part of Israel, the Israelite author of the Psalm mostly likely had the Mediterranean Sea in mind. This sea was the only large body of water accessible to most Israelites that could be described in the terms used here. The creeping creatures are those that seem to glide along and so could describe any number of the animal. Reference to the sea in the Psalms are generally in the context of Canaanite ideas. The Canaanites said that Baal controlled the powerful gods of the seas, but the psalmist asserts in the face of this falsehood that God created the waters and everything in them.
Psalm 104:26 – There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. The psalmist speaks about the ships crossing the sea, which would bring to mind how the ships were navigated by the stars to direct them which was also created by God and He knows each one of them by name. The palmists is also expressing the sovereignty of God, God is supreme, unlimited powerful over the entire universe, everything that was created was created by God including Leviathan. “Leviathan” refers to a large aquatic animal.
Psalm 104:27 – These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. All creation depends on the Creator for birth, life, and sustenance, even death is controlled by the Sovereign One. All living things live because God has put life and breath in them when He takes this away, they die. God is providentially working to see that life continues. As one of the sea creatures die, new ones are born. Each generation is succeeded by another, the Lord established this cycle in His wisdom for it to continue.
Psalm 104:28 – That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. In God’s wisdom, He makes sure that each creature is given what’s needed to sustain their life. The goodness of God is given to both man, creeping creature, and slithering creatures.
Psalm 104:29 – Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. If God would hide His face, the animals are in troubled or disturbed. To hide one’s face is an expression that means to withhold favor. Even creation needs God’s favor when taken away it dies. If He withholds the rain, vegetation wouldn’t grow which means mankind wouldn’t have food to sustain life. If the seas and lakes would go dry, we wouldn’t have water. If He told the moon or the sun to withhold its light, there wouldn’t be enough electricity to light the earth, if He withheld breath from both man and animals they would die. Humans, as well as the animal kingdom, needs God’s provision.
Psalm 104:30 – Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. God has supreme unlimited power over the universe. He creates, He preserves, He governs. The earth is full of God’s riches such as electricity, nuclear energy, light, gravity. God has placed oil and other desirable commodities in the ground for us to find and use. In God’s wisdom, the world is created and continues to function.