Psalm 104(103) : 24, 29 - 31, 34 ( NRSV )

Bless the LORD, O my soul.
O LORD my God, you are very great.
O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.(24)...

When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to their dust.(29)

When you send forth your spirit,1 they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.(30)

May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works2(31)...

May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD.(34)

Comment

     A song that celebrates the goodness and awesomeness of God's creation and humankind's proper function - that of a co-operative worker with the Creator working within that creation!
     Such co-operative work is not a curse nor a particular burden, according to the speaker. Rather - human work is proper for the proper function of creation. Telling conclusions are drawn from this reflection on humankind's place in YHWH's ordered world (vv.29-30).
     According to the speaker the whole world is daily dependent on YHWH's sustenance, presence and breath! This world is impressive. The world is to be celebrated - but it has no independent existence! The world is well-ordered and reliable but on its own, it has no possibility of survival or well-being! All that is a daily gift! YHWH is named by those capable of gratitude and spontaneous surrender. The poet ends by affirming that in YHWH, the created world has a caring Parent (v.31)
 
footnotes:
Psalm 104 A hymn praising God who easily and skillfully made rampaging waters and primordial night into a world vibrant with life. The psalmist describes God's splendour in the heavens (vv.1-4), how the chaotic waters were tamed to fertilize and feed the world (vv.5-18), and how primordial night was made into a gentle time of refreshment (vv.19-23). The picture is like Gn.1:1-2: a dark and watery chaos is made dry and lighted so that creatures might live. The psalmist reacts to the beauty of creation with awe (vv.24-34). May sin not deface God's work (v.35)!
1. [ vv.29-30 ] On one level, the spirit (or wind) of God is the fall and winter rains that provide food for all creatures. On another, it is the breath (or spirit) of God that makes beings live.
2. [ v.31 ] Concluding act of praise. And in v.35 the psalmist prays for the restoration of the original, intended harmony of creation.


 

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