Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104 (Part 6)

Bob Roane Jesus Christ, Loving and Trusting God

Praise the LORD, O my soul….He stretches out the heavens like a tent 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. He makes winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants. (Psalm 104:1-4)

This continues our series on “Celebrating the Lord Using Psalm 104.” If you want to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 you may see them here.

Psalm 104 teaches that the wonder of our universe is like a blindingly brilliant neon sign pointing to the God (Father, Son, and Spirit) who created it. But we human beings can be dense. “Christ was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him.”1 The Lord says that even though oxen and donkeys know their owner, we can fail to acknowledge our God. Creation’s design is intended to point us to God the Master Designer.

Genesis 1 records that on the second day of creation, the Lord created water and the water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle. He ordains the continuous movement of water on, above, and below Earth’s surface. The water cycle includes evaporation, condensation, precipitation, percolation, and more. The water goes through different forms: liquid, ice, and vapor,and the Lord brings all the pieces together.2 The Bible doesn’t explain this scientific process but calls us to celebrate God who created and controls the water cycle:

You alone are the LORD. You created the heavens, the highest heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to all things, and the heavenly host worships You. (Nehemiah 9:6)

Jesus Sends Rain as His Blessing

The Lord sends rain from above which is essential to plant, animal, and human life. And God’s people did not take His blessing for granted; they rejoiced in His gift of rain. “Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; He supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.”3 Rain is needed for all our food too! The land of Palestine in Bible times was dry and droughts were frequent. It was an agrarian world and people were very aware of their dependence on the Lord to send rain for our survival. “He bestows rain on the earth; He sends water upon the countryside.4

Paul urges pagans to turn from worthless idols to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. “He has not left Himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; He provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”5 Rain doesn’t just happen. It comes to us from the Lord’s generous heart and hand. He sends rain, wanting us to be holy and happy in fellowship with Him!

Christ urges us to imitate God’s compassionate care for all His creatures: “I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends His rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”6 We are blessed by the Lord to be a blessing to others, not to be selfish.

Christ Also Gives Living Water

Jeremiah, the Old Testament prophet, describes God as the fountain of living water, who has been forsaken by His chosen people Israel.7 How foolish. But then hundreds of years later, the Lord Jesus kindly offers the Samaritan woman living water. Christ says, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”8 Physical water (H2O) is God’s precious gift, created in Genesis 1 and graciously given to us by the Lord since then. But Jesus tells the woman and all of us to ask God for something even more necessary and excellent. The Lord’s gift of everlasting life satisfies our souls and bodies, better than mere physical refreshment and enjoyment. Pastor Bill Brownson wrote about the merry-go-round of pleasure seeking. People hope that one more drink, one more drug, one more partner, one more sum of money, one more possession, one more success, one more fun time, one more delight might somehow give us lasting happiness, but it never does. Author J. K. Rowling reminds us that we humans have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for us.

In the Bible, eternal life is not only future, but a present reality for Jesus’ followers. We have eternal life here and now as well as there and then in Heaven. Christ says, “I have come that they may have life (as a present possession), and that they may have it more abundantly….Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life (present possession) and they will not be judged but they have crossed over from death to life.”9 Eternal life is not a special feeling inside us. It is not just our ultimate destination where we go when we die. When we are born again, eternal life is that quality of life with Christ that we possess right now!10 Jesus taught that eternal life is knowing the one and only true and real God (Father, Son, and Spirit) and being in a maturing, deepening, enduring fellowship with Him.11

The Apostle Peter stated that the Old Testament prophets, including King David, were writing about the grace that was to come to Christians. The prophets spoke by the Spirit of Christ in them, pointing ahead to Jesus. Peter says the angels were amazed at God’s grace to sinful men, women, girls, and boys.12 Think about it: True Christians get to enjoy what amazes God’s angels!

Prayer: Lord, help us to admire, adore, appreciate you for all the wonders you have done, are still doing, and will do in the future. Help us to always be amazed by you and in awe of you. Your works of creation, providence, and redemption are all miraculous acts of your love for us. Help us never to take you and your kindness to us for granted. In view of God’s mercy, help us offer our bodies to you as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to you, our true and proper worship. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

To be continued

Notes (various translations): 1 John 1:10.     2 See www.britannica.com/science/water-cycle.     3 Psalm 147:7-9.     4  Job 5:10.     5 Acts 14:15-17.     6 Matt 5:44-45.     7 Jer 2:13, 17:13.     8 John 4:13.     9 John 10:10, 5:24.   10 Major Ian Thomas (1914-2007).     11 John 17:3.     12 1 Peter 1:10-12.