Psalm 104 - Control, Authority & Presence
Defeat doubt by solidifying your trust in God's sovereign providence.
Read / Listen
Read Psalm 104
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; 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.
He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.
The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.
He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.
You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens.
Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening.
How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord.
But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Praise the Lord.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 26
Q. What do you believe when you say,
“I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth”?
A. That the eternal Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who out of nothing created heaven and earth
and everything in them,
who still upholds and rules them
by his eternal counsel and providence,
is my God and Father because of Christ his Son.
I trust him so much that I do not doubt
he will provide
whatever I need
for body and soul,
and he will turn to my good
whatever adversity he sends me
in this sad world.
He is able to do this because he is almighty God;
he desires to do this because he is a faithful Father.
My former professor, John Frame, describes God's sovereignty as having three aspects: control, authority and presence.
All three of these aspects are on display in Psalm 104.
This Psalm, like so many of them, uses beautiful poetry to describe the control that God maintains over His creation. Notice all of the active verbs: God wraps, stretches, and fits. He makes (4x), sets and rebukes.
God has this absolute control over all things because He alone has the authority to do so. Verse 32 captures God's authority: "He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke."
But it's the third aspect of God's sovereignty that we're focusing on here today: His presence. God is not just an omnipotent force scowling from a distance over the universe He called into being. Just the opposite, in fact! The entire universe depends on God's ongoing presence to provide for all of its needs on an ongoing basis.
The trees, birds, mountains, even the moon, the sea and all of its creatures "all look to You to give them their food at the proper time (v27)." Notice that it's not the presence of God that terrifies His creatures, rather it's when "You hide Your face, they are terrified."
We live in a culture of doubt and skepticism, and many people - maybe even you - worry constantly that all you have will be lost.
Today our catechism helps us escape that doubt: I trust him so much that I do not doubt...
Escape the doubt and skepticism of this world by reminding yourself often of the trust you can have in God because of the control, authority and presence He demonstrates in His Word.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty (v1)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will trust God's control, authority and presence so much that you will not doubt His providence.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Acts 27