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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 104

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-35

  1. Intro:
    1. If you were to take the facts of Gen.1, & turn it into poetry…you would come up w/Ps.104.
      1. This Psalm is set up in the same basic order of Gen.1(the 6 days of creation)
      2. It is the history of our planet in poetry.
        1. Sometimes we city folk forget to look around at nature…or get out in it! – In the U.S. alone we lay 2700 acres of pavement each day!
      3. We also will see that not only is His creation amazing, but it was also thoughtful, & purpose-filled.
      4. Creation is a window through which we see God, not a mirror in which we see ourselves. – May this make us good stewards of God’s backyard!
    2. This morning I seek to stir up wonder & inspire awe!
      1. Tests show that a child’s creativity (which includes imagination & wonder) diminishes by 90% between ages 5 & 7!
      2. When an adult gets to be 40, he has about 2% of the creativity he had when was 5 years old. (Warren Wiesbe; Real Worship; pg.44)
      3. Quote: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star (5 stanzas)
    2. (1) Bless the Lord, O my soul –Remember the beg/end of Ps.103 & 104.
    3. O Lord my God, You are very great – This immediately points out the relationship of God to His world.
      1. He is distinct from His universe(whereas pantheism would have merged Him w/it)
      2. Mark Twain, “All the vastness of astronomy-and space-and systems of suns, carried in their computation to the farthest that figures are able, and then multiplied in geometrical progression ten thousand billion fold, do no more than symbolize the reflection of the reflection, of the spark thrown off a spark, from some emanation of God.”
    4. (2b) Stretch out the heavens – I asked Mark Ritter(Science teacher over at TVHS) why this chapter was so important to him. He said it shows nontheistic scientists the beauty of the Bible and its accuracy.
      1. Mark said, “One of the most profound discoveries of the scientific community in the last hundred years is that there was a Beginning and that the creation has been stretching out since then. – Which is called “the expansion of the universe.”
        1. No other Holy Book even comes close to this description.
      2. Harry Emerson Fosdick – “Could blind chance create symmetry and rhythm and light and color and melody? Or begin with the mathematics of the universe? The great mathematicians: Euclid, Newton, Einstein, did not create mathematical order; they uncovered the truth that was already there.”
    5. (3) Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph (C. 40-135) – “A house testifies that there was a builder, a dress that there was a weaver; a door that there was a carpenter; so our world by its existence proclaims its Creator, God.”
    6. (4) Read Job38:3-7
      1. Since angels are “spirits”, John Piper argues that pre-creation they had never seen matter, or anything like matter! (No star, cloud, sunset, anything w/form, weight, motion, texture, or color) – Piper imagines God to have said, “Watch this!” Then He spoke the galaxies into existence.
      2. “Imagine the awe & wonder that exploded among the angels… When God brought material stuff into existence w/all its incredible variety & utterly unheard of qualities of sight & sound & smell & touch & taste, this was totally unknown to the angels. God made it all up. It was not like the unveiling of a new painting made of all the colors & paints we are all familiar with. It was absolutely, totally, unimaginably new! And the response of the sons of God was to shout for joy.”
    7. TO FETCH A PALE OF WATER! (5-13)
    8. (6) Here it shows that we were covered by a shallow sea[ie. No continents]
    9. (7) Then the waters fled & the continents started to form.
    10. (9) Some use this to show that the flood was local, not global.
      1. Others say this was speaking about the flood.
    11. (10-13) This describes the wonderful water cycle – [evaporation, condensation, precipitation]
      1. Also note that the verbs change here from “past” to “present” tense, reminding us that Christians are not deists!
        1. [Deist = Belief in a God who created the universe, then abandoned it]
      2. God’s wild creatures(beasts of the field as opposed to the domesticated animals) are perfectly at home, needing no human provision.
    12. GRASS & TREES! (14-18)
    13. (15) With human beings He is lavish! [I Haiti mom gets rice & beans; kids get candy]
      1. Wine – was important as there water usually wasn’t safe.
      2. Oil – was applied to the skin in a climate the sun dried it out in short order.
      3. Bread – was the food that kept most people alive.
      4. The poet is describing what we call ecology, “God’s marvelous adaptation of the earth’s resources to the needs of living creatures, & vice-versa.” (John Stott)
    14. (16) These cedars of Lebanon are trees of the Lord.
      1. Man did not plant them. They are not dependent upon man for watering them. Nor for their sap. Nor for protecting them.
      2. It is to the praise of God only!
    15. (17,18) God even provides housing for his animals.
      1. Each Israel trip we’ve seen “conies”(Hyrax) along the rode peeking out of their rocks.
      2. Our planet w/its almost infinite variety of life which it supports, stands out in all the more brilliant contrast to its starkly inhospitable neighbors.” (Derik Kidner)
    16. LIKE A DIAMOND IN THE SKY! (19-23)
    17. (19) This Psalm has some striking resemblance to the Egyptian Akhenaten’s[ä´ke-nät¹n] (a pharaoh in the 14 cent. bc) great “Hymn to the Sun”.
      1. Of course this Psalm draws the big difference between worshipping the Sun, & worshipping its Maker!
      2. Note: It is God’s action that brings about its darkness. To show its subordinate role of the thing which Akhenaten revered as the creator. {also note, the moon is referred to 1st}
    18. (23) Don’t miss the wonderful balance & built-in safeguard(19-23) of both work & rest!
      1. What a blessing it is to be able to “go to work”! – Just ask anyone who physically can’t; or is out of work!
    19. DEEP BLUE SEA (24-26)
    20. (24) We get here just an inkling of our Creators wealth, & the range & precision of His thought!
      1. We are not only to wonder but are even supposed to explore His creation! – Ps.111:2 “The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them.”
      2. Q: Do you know that God doesn’t fear Scientists?
    21. (25) Q: How did the writer know? – In those days they had very little knowledge what was below the surface of the ocean.
      1. Still today the waters have innumerable species we haven’t seen yet. (let alone catalogued, or researched)
    22. DEPENDENCE! (27-30)
    23. He describes here our utter child like dependence on God.
    24. Allow me to quote Mark again, “With science eyes these verses scream out loud. All through the fossil record, entire world populations of animals have been suddenly wiped out(called mass extinctions). These are easily explained scientifically. There are a lot of ways to nearly sterilize a planet(i.e. massive volcanism, impacts).
      1. But what has naturalist scientists very concerned is the immediate appearances of whole new zoos of animals and their fully functioning ecosytems right after those mass extinctions!
      2. There are countless other times when entire groups of animals suddenly vanish from the fossil record only to be immediately replaced by some other animal. The naturalists can't explain these incidences.
      3. Darwinian evolution is at a complete loss to explain such profound changes in such a blink of an eye. [read 29b-30 again]
    25. Emma Stebbins(American sculptor known especially for her Angel of the Waters (Bethesda Fountain) (1873) in New York's Central Park) – “To me it seems as if when God conceived the world, that was poetry; he formed it, and that was sculpture; he colored it, and that was painting; he peopled it with living beings, and that was the grand, divine, eternal drama.”
      1. Man is heaven's masterpiece!
    26. (29) Elizabeth Barrett Browning – “A handful of the earth to make God's image!”
    27. REJOICING & WORSHIP! (31-35)
    28. (31b) May the Lord rejoice in His works –
      1. G. K. Chesterton - God must have made some parts of creation for sheer fun-how else would you account for the kangaroo?
      2. Jonathon Edwards said, “God delights in creation because creation displays His glory & the glory of God is God’s chief end in all His works.”
    29. The Creator & His Creation!
    30. Lord, you set the bumble bee to flight, despite the angels saying,…“she’d never fly!”
      You made the starfish to regenerate any of his 5 legs.
      You supplied the skunk with its terrific defense system.
      You gave intricate design to the little fly’s wing.
      You designed the shark with a keen sensitivity to sounds of low frequency.
      You built into the bat his echolocation system.
      You gave the elephant a cooling system in his large ears, a wonderful web of 1000’s of blood vessels.
      You created the eagle with the keenest eye.
      You gave bacteria its own outboard motor called flagella to motor around. But Lord, why the Chihuahua & the domesticated cat? [me]
    31. (33) And so we join our singing scientists in this anthem!
      1. Man alone can sing with understanding & w/a personal response.
      2. We don’t’ worship creation – That’s idolatry! We worship the God of creation!
    32. (35a) Here is one jarring note: yet He must purge the earth of sinful, disobedient, & rebellious man.
      1. Which is no different from our desire to get the whole infection out of our wound, so our body will heal!
    33. Q: It is logical that if God is wise enough to run His universe, that He is wise enough to run our lives?
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Psalms 104". "Bell's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/psalms-104.html. 2017.
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