Psalm 104

July 02, 2021

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.

The Point:

As you meditate on God’s intimate care for His creation, you respond in glorious, rejoicing praise before Him.

How do we feel in the recitation of this psalm? 

As you take a bite out of a juicy peach, the rich flavors filling your mouth with delight and the juices dripping down your cheeks, your mind turns to the goodness of God. He made the peach, and He made your taste buds to enjoy the flavors of the peach. You must feel the goodness of God in the words of this psalm. In 35 verses, the psalmist will take you through the many instances of God’s goodness in creation and providence, filling your mind with affectionate thoughts about a God Who is endeared to His creation. You respond in warm and glad gratitude to Him. 

What does this psalm say?  

Verses 1–5. The Bible does not present a god who is absent from his creation—a god the deists configured through the 1700s and 1800s. This attack on biblical orthodoxy from previous centuries was devastating to the Western Christian faith. First, they undermined the doctrine of creation with Darwin’s evolutionary ideas, and then they undermined the doctrine of God’s providential sovereignty. It is hard to know which was worse, but the average person today does not see God acting in history. He cannot see the fingerprints of God on every part of His creation. He does not see the little birds eating out of the hand of God or the gigantic planets directed by His omnipotent arm. This psalm stands in direct opposition to this way of thinking.

The psalmist rouses his own soul to bless Yahweh because He is very great. Quickly, he moves from the majestic nature of God Himself to the creation of the universe. From the outset, God is to be worshiped because He is the Creator of all things. First, He created light; then He stretched out the universe and filled it with stars. He created the angels and laid down the footers (or the foundations) of the earth.

God is presented here as the source of all reality. While most believers would render tacit assent to that statement, this truth does not sink into the fiber of their very being. Many have a hard time making out God’s fingerprints on His creation. They look at the stars and simply see stars. They do not see God’s fingerprints on the stars.

Did you know there are hurricanes on Neptune that blow at 1,500 miles per hour? Jupiter’s major storm covers an area three times the size of our planet. Its forces exceed that of a nuclear bomb 100,000 times over. These violent “natural” forces would wipe out life on earth in a short ten minutes. But God rides on these storms like a cowboy who retains complete control over a bucking bronco.

Verses 6–9. Having established God’s active involvement in the creation of the world, the psalmist addresses the next major event in history: the worldwide flood. This event is so important that every culture around the world still recognizes it in their language, folklore, and celebrations, though it is largely ignored by the proud humanist empires of the present day thanks to the high priests of the scientific community who have spent the last hundred years using futile uniformitarian assumptions to explain why sea fossils are found on the highest mountains.

In verse 5, we read that God formed the dry land (or “earth”). This had to have been a major geological event in the history of the world. Some of the fundamental structures of the earth’s crust were formed at that time. But then in verse 6, God covers this dry land again with the waters “as with a garment.” According to Genesis 7, the waters covered the highest mountains by about 24 feet, which would have allowed the ark to float over them without running aground.

What we see today in oceans, rivers, mountains, and valleys are mostly the geological formations produced by the worldwide flood. The psalmist plainly attributes these formations to God’s intentional actions. Waterways were established by the flood, including the Colorado River which winds its way through the Grand Canyon in Arizona. There are deep valleys at the bottom of the ocean, probably formed before or during the flood. God fully intended for the ocean waters to fill these great trenches and valleys.

The ninth verse guarantees a “uniformitarian” condition until the end of the world. These waters will never again turn to cover the earth because of God’s covenant promise to Noah. The ungodly have based their science on uniformitarian assumptions, claiming that the same scientific laws that govern biology, the environment, physics, etc., applied yesterday as much as they do today. But they have no basis for making such a claim! Our firm basis for science and dominion is found in Genesis 8:21–22. We hold to these uniform conditions because God made that promise directly after the flood. Our science is based solidly upon our faith in God’s Word. 

Verses 10–23. After addressing God’s hand in creation and the flood, the psalmist declares God’s providential involvement in the day-to-day operations of His creation. For the next fourteen verses, he lists the many, many blessings God pours out upon His world. All of life on the Earth is dependent upon water. This is the most basic natural resource. Plants, animals, and human beings could not possibly survive without water. If there were no water, there would be no banks, no human governments, no universities, and no economies. We would all be dead. Hence, the psalmist rightly acknowledges God’s hand in providing the springs in the valleys that run among the hills, feeding man and animal alike.

Verse 15 gives the three uses of herbs, food, and drink, all of which God brings about by watering the fields that grow the crops. These plants provide wine that gladdens the heart as well as medicines and grains that provide health and strength for the body. Think of all God has done to sustain life on Planet Earth! Each and every need is provided for by the mercies of God. 

To this day, most of the trees in the world were not planted by man. How did the trees in the forests of the Amazon get there? Since we reject the idea that things happen by random, purposeless chance, we must ask this question every time we wander through a forest. Who could have possibly planted all of these trees, and for what purpose? Our God of all goodness also creates a suitable habitat for the birds, the rock badgers, and the wild goats; the moon and sun contribute to this habitat (verses 19–23). Animals use their habitats and the darkness of night to protect themselves from their predators. God creates this magnificent habitat because it is His world and He loves His world. On several occasions, men have tried to create balanced, self-sustaining ecosystems—but without any real success. This should give us cause to glory in the great achievements of God in nature!

Verses 24–32. Moving from the works of God upon the earth to the other half of the creation, the next section of the psalm addresses God’s providential care over the oceans. Where man can hardly survive in ships on the waves, God has created whales and other sea creatures that survive and thrive in the great waters! If you watch the fish for any length of time, you can see that they are almost constantly eating or searching for food. Again, it is God Who provides trillions of these creatures with sufficient food to sustain life.

Although the fall brought death to the animal kingdom as well as to man, God continues to replenish the earth with new life every single day. Every new life, every baby fish and baby bird derives its existence from the Spirit of God. From this we can see that God is no deist god. He is constantly engaged and intimately involved in His marvelous creation—down to every square inch of it! His involvement extends to every instance of death as well. At the moment that He chooses to withhold His breath of life, an animal here or there dies. As we consider the works of God’s hands, we must cry out with the psalmist, “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all: the earth is full of your riches!” 

God’s glory as revealed in Himself and His creation is an eternal reality, and the Lord also rejoices in His works. These works are seen throughout our solar system. For example, astronomers have discovered a huge volcano the size of Arizona on the planet Mars. Thankfully, the Lord chose not to put a gigantic, destructive force like this on our planet, so He chose a different planet to manifest His power and glory in such a spectacular way. The largest atom bombs created by man yield only a fraction of a percent of the power seen in God’s great works. Why would He place great volcanoes on Io (one of Jupiter’s moons) and on the planet Mars? Verse 31 tells us that He rejoices in His own works.

Verses 33–35. Having laid down a million reasons to glorify and worship our Creator God, the psalmist ends his song with a personal commitment to spend the rest of his life singing the praises of God. In fact, this is what he enjoys! The godly man always gravitates back to meditating upon God and rejoicing in Him.

The last verse may seem incongruous and out of order with the rest of the psalm. But when a man addresses God from the context of a sinful world filled with wicked men, it is good and proper for him to distinguish himself as a lover of righteousness. God has created the world, but God’s world has been contaminated by sin through man’s doing. How does the godly man view this terrible blight on God’s creation? He greatly desires that the wicked will be purged from the earth—either by the blood of Christ or by the flames of hell.  

How do we apply this psalm to our lives? 

1. After studying this psalm, you should forever look at the world around you differently. When you view nature, you are witnessing the millions and millions of purposeful actions of the providential Sustainer of all things. Although it is easy to revert back to viewing the world as purely materialistic forces and objects, you should always use the eyeglasses of God’s Word. Interpret everything through the lenses of God’s Word, and you will begin to see God’s fingerprints on everything!

2. The mere consideration of a creation without a Creator is dull and meaningless. However, meditating on God’s Word and God’s works makes everything around us shine in bright colors. Optimistic hope for the future sweeps back into our souls. These are sweet meditations, and they produce a heart of gratitude and warm blessings for the all-blessed God.

How does this psalm teach us to worship God?  

1. Much of our worship begins with a contemplation of the works of God—works that unfold everyday in nature! This is a good way to enter into worship. Once we see God the Creator and Providential Sustainer working around us here and now, then we turn and praise Him for His redemptive work in history (which we did not witness with our eyes). If we can believe that God’s hand is in everything around us, then we can also believe His Word concerning the plan of redemption that came about through His Son on the cross 2,000 years ago. If we interpret our experience by means of God’s Word here and now, then we will also interpret what happened 2,000 years ago by that same Word.

2. A commitment to righteousness and an opposition to wickedness are part and parcel of all godly worship. The final verse in this grand psalm witnesses to this. Practically every worship service should draw the line between righteousness and wickedness and press for commitment on the part of the worshipers. Is it your desire to eventually see Sodom wiped off the map? Some in our worship services will play the part of Lot’s wife who looked back at the smoking city because she really didn’t want to leave the city. Because of her lack of commitment to God’s righteous agenda, He turned her into a pillar of salt.


1. What act(s) of God formed the geological surface of the earth? 

2. As Christians, what is our basis for science? 

3. What do we need to sustain life here on earth? 

4. How is God involved every day in the life of the animal kingdom? 

5. Why did God put the volcanoes on Io and Mars? 

6. What are the similarities between Psalms 103 and 104? 

7. Give several examples of Praise Psalms.

Family Discussion Questions: 

1. Do you find meditation upon God and His works a sweet blessing to you? What are some recent meditations from God’s creation and God’s Word that have given you great encouragement lately? 

2. How is our view of nature different from the unbeliever’s? As we study astronomy, physics, chemistry, or biology, do we experience the wide-eyed wonder of the child discovering His Father’s amazing creations? Over time, do we experience more wonder or less wonder at God’s creation