Psalms 102-104

: Good morning! In today’s passage (Psalms 102-104) we have several psalms that repeat themes from earlier in the book, and then glory in a hymn of creation that rivals the opening chapters of Genesis.

Psalms 102-103 reiterate themes of divine permanence and human fleetingness that are among the most common in the psalter. Whether the writer experiences misery (102) or contentment (103), God’s everlasting faithfulness inspires comfort, encouragement and hope for God’s deliverance.  In and out of season, even though everything else passes away, God remains true. In Psalm 103, this provides confidence of forgiveness, because God recognizes how limited human beings are. God’s mercy remains forever.

Psalm 104 puts forth in poetic splendor an account of God’s creation and continual sustenance of the world. What strikes me in this creation narrative (unique from Genesis 1, Genesis 2 or other accounts) is the emphasis on joy as well as function in creation. God’s role in the world is to bring all things into being and provide for their ongoing care, but God also rejoices in the world There is a positively gleeful tone in how God’s power is described, creating all things as though they were child’s play in the whimsy of an afternoon. God’s sustenance is revealed in the ever-present and ever-varied nature of water—springs, streams and rivers that satisfy the needs of every living thing. Vegetation shelters all the animals of creation, including human beings, and gives cause for delight in such things as wine from grapes in the field. God’s wisdom is plainly apparent in creation with prudent limits to land and sea, plus division between creatures active at night (lions) and those active in the day (humans). But then God also creates some things for the sheer pleasure of it, such as the great sea monster Leviathan, “that you formed to sport in it”. My takeaway from this psalm—and there could be many others from these fertile verses—is that care of creation includes both prudent, scientific wisdom and playful, soul-expanding delight. When we include both of these in the balance of environmental care,  human stewards follow after God’s example. Happy reading!

Read Psalms 102-104.

Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Psalms 105-106. Thanks for reading!

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