Psalm 104

104:0Many Bible students think that David wrote Psalm 104. But it does not say that he did. It is about God as the Creator. ‘Creator’ means ‘someone who makes something.’ The Bible always uses the word ‘creator’ in a special way. It means that the person that makes something is God, or the LORD. LORD is a special name for God that his servants use.

Creator God, Keeping Everything Alive!

104:1-2Verses 1-9 are about God making the earth and the sky.

1-2 I say to myself, ‘Praise the LORD!’

LORD, my God, you are very great!

As a person wears clothes, you wear honour and majesty and light.

You have put the skies as a roof over the earth.

3 You have built your home above the waters that are over the skies.

The clouds carry you and you ride on the wind.

4 The winds carry your messages

and burning fires are your servants.

5 The LORD built the earth on its foundations.

Nobody will ever move it.

6 You covered it with the deep sea as clothes cover a person.

The waters were higher than the mountains.

7 When you shouted the waters ran away.

At the sound of your thunder they fled.

104:7In verse 7 there is a good example of Hebrew poetry. The first part and the second part of verse 7 mean the same thing.

8 The waters moved over the mountains.

They went down into the valleys.

They went to the place that you had made for them.

9 You made a mark that they could not cross.

Never again will the waters cover the earth.

104:9In verse 9, we read ‘never again will the waters cover the earth.’ Some Bible students think that this is about Noah's Flood, when waters covered the earth.

Psalm 104: 10-23

104:10The first part of the psalm tells us that God created the earth and the sky. But he did not go away and leave it. The next part of the psalm, verses 10-23, tells us that he stayed with it. He still makes sure that everything happens as he wants it to. In other words, he takes care of everything.

10 You make water come out of the ground into the valleys.

You make the rivers go between the hills.

11 They give water to every wild animal.

The wild donkeys drink from them.

12 The birds of the air make their homes by the streams

and they sing from the trees near the streams.

13 You pour water on to the mountains from your home above the sky.

The earth is happy with the results of what you do.

14-15 You make grass to grow for the cows and sheep.

And you make plants grow that people can use.

This is how people get food from the earth:

· wine alcohol that makes people happy,

· oil that makes people's faces shine, and

· bread that makes people strong.

104:14-15The oil in verse 15 is not the oil we use in cars. It is from a fruit called the olive. It helps people to have good health, so that their faces shine.

16 The trees of the LORD get plenty of rain.

They are the cedar trees in Lebanon, which he planted.

17 The birds make their nests in them.

The stork makes its home in fir trees.

18 The wild goats live in the high hills

and the rabbits hide in the rocks.

104:18The rabbits in verse 18 live in places where there are many rocks. Another name for them is coneys.

19 The moon shows us which season it is.

The sun knows when to go down.

104:19The seasons in verse 19 are not spring, summer, autumn and winter; or wet and dry seasons. They are the months. For the Jews, each month started with a new moon. This is the 28-day lunar (moon) month. The sun goes down each evening, starting a new day for the Jews. Their day started at 6 o'clock each evening.

20 You created night.

When it is dark, all the wild animals come out of their dens.

21 The young lions roar while they hunt.

They look for the food that God gives to them.

22 When the sun shines again, they go back to their dens.

There they lie down.

23 This is when people go out to work.

They work until it is evening.

Psalm 104: 24-30

24 LORD, you have made so many things!

The earth is full of the creatures that you have made.

You were very wise when you made them all.

104:24The word ‘creatures’ means ‘things that God created.’ Usually we use it to mean animals. God was ‘very wise’ when he made them, (verse 24). A wise person knows a lot, and uses what he knows well. God knows more than anybody else, and uses what he knows better than anybody else does.

25 There is the sea. It is so big and so wide.

It is full of creatures, more than anyone can count.

In it there are small and large animals and plants.

104:25In verses 10-23, the psalmist wrote about birds and land animals, including man. In verses 25-26, he writes about animals in the sea. He only names one, Leviathan. We do not know what Leviathan was. Bible students think that it was a very large sea-animal, perhaps a whale or even a crocodile.

26 Ships sail on it. Leviathan, that you made, plays in it.

27 All of them hope that you will give them food when they need it.

28 When you give it to them they pick it up.

When you open your hand they have plenty of good things.

29 When you hide your face they become very frightened.

When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.

30 Then you send out your breath and make new creatures.

You make everything on earth new.

104:30Verses 27-30 are about all the animals, on land, in the sea or in the air. We do not know how animals hope in God – but he does feed them! Verse 28 paints a picture of God opening his hand and the animals finding plenty of good things to eat in it! But when God takes away their breath (the air that goes in and out of their mouths), then they die. They become dust again, part of the ground. Some Hebrew Bibles have ‘your breath’, not ‘their breath’, in verse 29. It is God that breathes into (puts air into) animals and people so that they become alive. So verse 30 has ‘your breath’ in all Hebrew Bibles. When one creature dies, God makes another. He makes everything on earth new by breathing into new animals and people so that they become alive.

Psalm 104: 31-35

31 I want the glory of the LORD to continue for ever!

I want the LORD to be very happy with everything that he has made!

32 When the LORD looks at the earth it becomes frightened.

When he touches the mountains, they give out smoke.

33 I will sing to the LORD all my life.

I will always sing praises to my God.

34 I hope that my thoughts make him happy,

because the LORD makes me happy.

35 I want the LORD to destroy bad people from the earth.

I do not want very bad people to live any more.

I say to myself, ‘Praise the LORD! Hallelujah!’

104:35Verse 31 Glory is the bright light that shines from God because he is great. Verse 32 makes us remember that God is very powerful. The last verse tells us that the psalmist does not want bad or very bad people to live on the earth. If they did not, it would make the earth much better! The last word, hallelujah, is Hebrew for ‘praise the LORD!’ People now use it all over the world.