Tom Lowe

Psalm 104

(Anonymous author, and yet there are many indications of David’s touch― (1) its close thematic and verbal parallels to Psalm 103, which is explicitly a Davidic psalm; and (2) the ascription of this psalm to David in early Jewish tradition; an envelope psalm―it ends in exactly the same way as it begins―the subject matter enclosed or enveloped between the opening and closing words; “BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL.”)

Title: A Poem of Creation.

Theme: The majesty of God in creation.

  • Numbers in brackets [a], correspond to “Special Notes” following each verse.
  • KJV Bible is used throughout unless noted otherwise.


This psalm is not only a true neighbor of psalm 103, but the two go together; some think they have the same author.  Psalm 103 celebrates God as the God of circumstance; psalm 104 celebrates Him as the God of creation.  Psalm 103 magnifies God’s grace; Psalm 104 magnifies God’s Glory.  Psalm 103 deals with God’s mercy; Psalm 104 deals with God’s might.  The poem follows the same plan as Genesis 1.  We have days one and two in verses 1-4, the first half of day three in verses 5-9, the second half of day three in verses 10-18, days four, five, and six in verses 19-30 and day seven in verses 31-35.

This is another “envelope” psalm.  The psalm begins an ends with the words “BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL.” The use of the “envelope” technique is a poetic way of reminding us that we shall never be done with this theme.  It is as eternal as God Himself.

As we study this psalm, we must discern the thought, unexpressed but nonetheless present and real, of the happiness of God—a thought as beautiful as it is true.


1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul,” is an expression identical with the opening exclamation of the previous psalm.  “Lord” is the usual word for Jehovah, the God of the covenant, but with the additional meaning “Jehovah Himself.” The hymn was inspired by thoughts of Jehovah.  So often, when we think of God, we think in terms of our own needs and benefits.  It is not often we think solely of God Himself.  That, however, is the essence of all true worship; it is to be entirely taken up with what God is in and of Himself.  There is no higher or holier occupation which can engage a rational mind.

“O LORD  my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.” Creation puts on display God’s eternal power and His Godhead in such a way that no man has any excuse for not believing in Him (Romans 1:20[a]).  He Himself may be invisible, but His handiwork provides abundant evidence everywhere, and it proclaims Him infinitely wise and good, and all that is great.  The Creator is greater than His creation.  Therefore, the Creator is to be worshipped, not the creation (Exodus 20:3, 4[b]; Romans 1:29). It is not that men cannot see the wondrous works of His hands; it is, rather, that they refuse to see them.  And as our old English proverbs puts it: there is none so blind as he who will not see.  A contemplation of God’s creation will draw out of the person both an instinctive and an intelligent word of worship—instinctive because it wells up from the heart, and intelligent because it engages the facilities of the mind.

The sequence of the topics presented in the psalm follows that of the original creation account, beginning with light and concluding with man.  The psalm begins and ends with the same call for praise that opens and closes Psalm 103, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.”


[a] “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

[b] “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” (Exodus 20:3, 4)

2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

The psalmist now begins a sweeping description of creation, not as seen by the scientist or the historian but as seen by the poet.  He organizes his material around three great focal points.

  • The Realm of the Skies Above Us and the Seas Around us (104:2-9)
  • The Further Works of Creation (104:10-30)
  • The Finished Work of Creation (104:31)

The first thing God created was “light,” one of the most mysterious entities in the universe.  We know what light does, but we still do not know what light is.  We know that the speed of light is always constant, and that both time and matter are, in mysterious ways, connected with light.  Einstein’s famous formula, E=MC2 (energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared), ushered in the atomic age.  The psalmist sees the wide-flung canopy of the sky as a gorgeous curtain spangled with points of light, each a blazing ball of fire.  But God spread out the vast canopy of the visible heavens or sky as easily as a man pitches a tent.  The Hebrew poet is not concerned with the mysteries and mathematics of astronomy, but with the awesome power of a Creator who can spread out the stars as easily as a man might spread a sheet, who can robe Himself in light as gloriously and majestically as a king arrays himself in purple and scarlet.

The Bible states, “God is light” (1 John 1:5), “the Father of lights” (James 1:17), and “He dwells in light” (1 Timothy 6:16); He clothes himself with it.  He covers Himself with light as one would with a “garment,” a symbol of His absolute purity and righteousness.  To be clothed “with light” means to be characterized by it.

3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

“Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters” indicates that the psalmist sees God constructing His penthouse on high. Only God lays the foundation of His abode on transparent clouds.  He has “His chambers” (His upper-level rooms, so the word signifies), “the beams” of which He lays in the “waters,” the waters that are above the firmament. “And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven . . .” (Genesis 1:7-8)

“Who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind.” This clause implies that the storm clouds and the tempest are His chariots. He rides magnificently down the skies, speeding along on “the wings of the wind.”  He descended in a cloud, as in a “chariot,” to Mount Sinai, to give the law, and to Mount Tabor, to proclaim the gospel (Matthew 17:5), and he walks on the wings of the wind (18:10-11[c]).  He commands the winds, directs them as he pleases, and by them He serves His own purposes.  The winds are His messengers; His servants are fire and flame.  These elemental forces of nature—wind and fire—which are aids both to fruitfulness and destruction has no independent will of their own.  As the Lord’s servants they obey their Master and are themselves a revelation of the kind of God He is.

[c] “And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies”” (18:10-11)

4 Who maketh his angels[d] spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

The psalmist looks next at the angelic heavens. Angelic powers are behind the forces of nature. “Angels” are assigned to take care of little children and the saints of the Most High. Peter and Paul were both ministered to directly by angels. The Lord Jesus, in His humanity, both at His temptation and after His agony in the garden, was cared for by angels.  The angels are “His angels,” His slaves, “His ministers,” for they are under his dominion and at His disposal; MAKE FRIENDS WITH THEIR MASTER.  They are spiritual beings; they do not have bodies like we do.  Being “spirits,” they are so much more removed from the encumbrances of the human nature and human flesh and much nearer allied to the glories of the divine nature.  Where these mighty beings live may be in a different dimension than that of our world and subject to different laws. Yet angels were present each morning of creation. Job calls them “the sons of God” and tells us they burst into praise when they saw God displaying His wisdom and power in creating the universe.

Next he psalmist looks at the realm of the skies above us.


[d] “Angels” may be translated “messengers”; spirits and “winds” is the same word in Hebrew. God creates angels and “flaming fire” (or ministers of flame) to obey Him.

5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

He sees God, first, setting the boundaries of the sea’s reach: “Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever . . . They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them” (104:5-8). This is the work of the third day—the removal of the water from the earth—and it is described in great detail, because the Psalmist sees in it an allegory of the removal of the heathen, who had inundated the Holy land (Psalm 93). In the early stages of creation the “waters” covered the earth more than once, but again and again God raised up the “mountains” until finally He raised them up for the last time and commanded them to stand fast. All the massive geological movements of past ages were part of God’s plan to stock the earth with all the riches and resources needed for man’s life upon the earth. When the storehouses of the earth were full, God finally decreed an end and set boundaries to the sea.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. The “deep” was an abysmal monster of disorder. It sought to resist the control of God. It was the enemy of all order. Such was the situation when the Lord, like a mighty warrior with his war cry, rebuked the rebellious floods so that they fled in terrified alarm and submitted finally to the bounds the Lord set for them.

He has created the earth and hung it upon nothing, yet it is as immovable as if it had been laid upon the surest “foundations” (bases, or pillars).  Yahweh set the earth on firm pillars, so that it would not so much as waiver. Then He covered it over with the “deep” until the waters crested above the mountain peaks.  It is a remarkable concept, for it suggests that the primeval deep of which Old Testament man stood in such dread was always in Yahweh’s complete control, even when it seemed to be rampant.  He has built the earth upon the basis that though it has received a dangerous shock by the sin of man, and the malice of hell strikes at it, yet it shall not be removed for ever, that is, not till the end of time, when it must give way to the new earth.

“Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.” He brought the sea within bounds in the creation.  At first the earth was covered with the deep; “the waters were above the mountains.” The psalmist is speaking either of the general deluge (the Flood); or, of the first creation (See Genesis 1:2, 9).  The mountains were not made by the deluge, as some have thought, who for that reason understand this verse as referring to the said deluge, for it is apparent they were in existence before it (Genesis 7:19[e]), and most probably were in the first creation, because this variety of mountains and valleys is both ornamental and useful to the world.

“At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.” Here the sovereign command of God is called “His rebuke[f],” as if He gave it because He was disgruntled for the reason that the earth was covered with water and not fit for man to dwell on.  His was a sovereign command, which they could not be kept from hearing and dare not disobey. Power went along with this word, and therefore it is also called here “the voice of Thy thunder,” which is a mighty voice and produces strange effects. “At thy rebuke they fled,” i.e., the waters shifted into places established by God.


[e] “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered” [Genesis 7:19).

[f] God’s “rebuking” the waters suggests they were a chaotic force to be calmed and “conquered.”

Speaking now to God, the psalmist cries in exultation.

9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

Next, the psalmist sees God setting the boundaries for the sea’s rage; Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.”  He has drawn the line in the sand and said to the heaving waves; “Here shall thy proud waves be halted.” For the tides obey God’s mighty voice.  They know just where and when to stop, at what unseen mark on rocky crag or sandy shore they must cease their march and retreat back to where they came from.  The waters of the sea would soon cover the earth if God did not restrain them.  Even in its fiercest rage the sea acknowledges its bounds.

The psalmist in primitive fashion exalts the wisdom of God as a creative principle of order, and yet He does not deal with it abstractly, but with vivid concreteness. Wisdom is not personified, as it is in a similar description of creation in Proverbs 8:25, 27, 29, but what God does is the expression of what He is.

Verses 6-9 refer, as expected, to the creative work of the first part of the third day (Genesis 1:9-10).  Although the boundaries of the waters were removed during the Flood, they are permanently set in the purpose of God. 

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

The earth is made fruitful by its springs (10-12) and the rain which is pictured as coming from the “chambers” (13) of God.

Beginning with verse 10, the psalmist explains how God controls and makes provision for His creation. He tells how God constructively utilizes the once destructive waters that are now in His control. He deals first with fountains and brooks. We are transported to Palestine on a spring morning, where his thoughts turn to the divine purpose.  The fountains and streams give drink to the wild animals.  And from among the rich trees where the birds have built their nests we hear pouring forth the lovely songs of these glad beings that have experienced their maker’s bountiful provision.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

The springs and the streams give life-sustaining water, not only to man, and those creatures that are directly useful to him, but “to every beast of the field”; or where God has given life he provides a livelihood and takes care of all the creatures. 

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

The Lord gives water from below, which waters the ravines of the Negev (10-12), and He gives the rains from above, which water the plains of Israel with their cultivated fields (13-15). God provides everything humanity needs in the process of caring for the earth.

15 And wine[h] that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies[g].

Then the psalmist deals with God’s provision of rain, which watered the mountains and the valleys. (13, 14)  From His roof chambers God waters the mountains; from the clouds, His storehouses of moisture; He saturates the earth.  The hills that are not watered by the rivers, as Egypt was by the Nile, are watered by the rain from heaven, which is called the river of God.

“And wine[h] that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart” (15). And now we see how all of this makes the earth yield grass for grazing animals and food for man (13, 14).  He brings out of the earth the vines which yield wine. And God provides not merely for man’s necessities, but also, touches his life with beauty—so it seems to the psalmist!—provides wine to ease his hard lot and oil for healing and perfume. Oil to make his face to shine” may be an allusion to the custom of those times and places, which was upon solemn and festival occasions to anoint their faces with oil, so that they appear to shine with joy.  In addition, oil was used to avoid intoxication, to improve the health, and to perfume the body. God sees to it that man has all he needs; and thus the Promised Land is said to have produced in abundance these three: wine, oil, and bread (Deuteronomy 8:8; 9:14).

The fountains and streams give drink to the wild animals.  And from among the rich foliage where the birds have built their nests we hear pouring forth the lovely songs of these glad beings that have experienced their Makers bountiful provision.  The earth is satisfied (13); the trees are satisfied (16); all living things are satisfied (28).

Lebanon’s famed cedars, gigantic holy trees which are not planted by man as are fruit trees, but by God (see Numbers 24:6[i]), also get their fill.  And this makes them in turn useful to the birds that nest in them and to the storks who build their nests in the treetops.  And those lofty mountains, too high for the treading of human feet, provide refuge for the mountain goats and the rocks a home for the badgers.  Here is a remarkable consciousness of the interrelatedness in God’s creation between inanimate life and the life of beasts, birds, and men.  Let us see with the psalmist’s eyes as he describes God’s orderly provision.

Every time we experience a prolonged period of drought we are reminded once again of our total dependence on the providential goodness of God in sending us rain. Rain was frequently withheld from Israel in times of apostasy. The great prophet Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain for a period of three years and six months.  It should make us humble to realize that we are necessarily dependent upon God for all the supports of this life (we live upon heavenly alms, for our own hands are not sufficient for us—our food comes up out of the earth, to remind us where we ourselves were taken from and where we must return,—and therefore we must not think that we can live by bread alone, for that will only feed the body, but must look into the word of God for the meat that endures to eternal life.


[g] “Conies” are marmots or rock-badgers. Some translate this word as “mountain mice.”

[h] Corn, oil, and wine were products of the land, commodities for which Palestine was famous.  Wine, oil, and bread were basics in the life of the people in Biblical days.  The wine was diluted with water and drunkenness was not acceptable (Judges 9:13 and Ecclesiastes 10:19. The word “wine” can indicate any form of the juice of the grape that might be made into a beverage.

[i] “As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.” (Numbers 24:6)

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

On the fourth day God did not create the sun and moon; he simply said, “. . . Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14). The sun and moon are to regulate time here on this earth.

The sun blazes in the sky, and the psalmist thinks first of its faithfulness: “He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.”  The sun’s companion pays tribute to God.  He thinks how faithfully the sun sheds its light abroad, how faithfully the “moon” catches its beams and reflects them back to the earth.  The moon is like a great clock calling out the periods of time, marking out the months, designating the sacred seasons (see Ecclesiastes 43:7, also Genesis 1:14), but in far wider order than this and with larger interest in mind God has taught moon and sun to serve both man and beast.  Night belongs to the beasts.

From pole to pole, from sea to sea, from shore to shore, from “season” to “season” the world baths in the light of the “sun.”  Day after day the sun “knoweth his going down.” It faithfully walks the path ordained for it by God.  The heathen were so affected by the light and influence of the sun and moon, and their serviceableness to the earth, that they worshipped them as deities; and therefore the Scripture takes every opportunity to show that they are the creatures and servants of the true God.

The alternation of night and day provides a rhythm of life for both animals and men (19-23).

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep[a] forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

This section combined with verse 19 corresponds to the fourth day of creation in Genesis 1:14-19. The work period of predators (the night) is contrasted with the work time of humans (the day).

“Thou makest darkness, and it is night . . . The sun ariseth. . .” The psalmist sees the “sun” departing and “darkness” comes.  The night creatures emerge and the forests ring with the lion’s roar.  The hungry roar of the young Lions is an unconscious prayer to God, and God provides the night for the beast to seek its food: for they are afraid to do so in the day, God having put the fear and dread of man on every beast of the earth (Genesis 9:2[j]).  He sees the sun dawning and daylight comes.  The nocturnal animals creep[k] away to their dens, and man arises from his bed and goes to work.  To our psalmist the sun is no god but is itself taught of God. 

We know much more about the sun today than the psalmist knew in his time. It is the source of this planet’s light and life. If it was only a little bit hotter it would scorch the earth and turn it into a vast desert. If it were only a little colder, it would allow the arctic to spread out from pole to equator and turn the earth into a giant ball of ice.  Without the cycle of day and night and of the seasons, life would come to a halt.  “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, NKJV).


[j] “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.” (Genesis 9:2)

[k] “Creep” is a word that is common to all creatures that move without feet, and touch with their belly the element in which they move, whether they creep upon the earth or swim in the sea.

24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

This section (24, 25, 26) corresponds to the fifth day of creation in Genesis 1:20-23.

A summary statement: O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all” speaks of God’s creation of “the earth” . . . the “sea” and the animals.

One of the striking features of this psalm is its emphasis on the continuing activity of God in nature.  This truth is also taught elsewhere in the Scripture:

  • “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17).
  • “By Him all things consist (“exist and hold together”) (Colossians 1:17).
  • “Upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3).

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

The Hebrew psalmist continuing, as if it were an afterthought, deals with the “sea.”  He knows that it is great and expensive.  He knows that it teems with “creeping” things and with sea monsters.  Here, however, his language is vague and rests, not upon what his own experience as a landsman in southern Judah has taught him, but upon hearsay.

The psalmist is particularly impressed by the greatness of the sea.  It extends so far and contains so much that moves; in it are countless living creatures, on it move ships and animals, all enhancing the sense of wonder we should have toward God’s works. 

26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

He speaks of the face of the deep: “There go the ships.” Perhaps he has seen the great Tarshish ships of the Phoenicians, vessels made by men to challenge the oceans themselves. Those ships were a source of amazement to the average Hebrew. They would watch their sails spread like wings and then get ever smaller until finally passing over the horizon. They envied the sailors that searched for other lands and the treasures of far away exotic places.

He speaks of the fearsomeness of the deep: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. Perhaps he had seen the crocodiles of the Nile, only to be told by the mariners that out of the depths of the sea itself were sea monsters (perhaps dinosaurs) a thousand times more to be feared.  One can almost sense the feeling of awe with which the Hebrew poet speaks of these things.  If he were one of the later poets, he would think of the story of Jonah and the whale.  The deep was a fearful place.  Those mighty monsters, which lurked in its gloomy depths, where only at “play” in an environment his God had made expressly for them.

The only function that “Leviathan”[l], the famed dragon of the deep (here, probably a whale), serves is to be a plaything for God!


[l] “Leviathan”― the leviathan was the fearsome mythological monster of the deep (See Job 3:8) but here seems to represent an actual animal created by God.  Even this powerful animal is merely God’s harmless pet playing in the ocean. 

See Job 41 where the crocodile is referred to.

27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

This section (27-30) corresponds to the sixth day of creation in Genesis 1:24-31.

He speaks of the fortunes of the deep: “These wait all upon Thee . . . thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die.” The psalmist thinks of the continuing bounty of what we call nature and of the continuing balance of nature.  Even death itself was part of the scheme of things, and over it all God rules in perfect wisdom, love, and power. Hidest thy face” means to withdraw favor (psalm 13:1). By His “spirit,” or “breath,” or mere “word,” He giveth life.

“Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Here the psalmist is speaking of death⸺the inability to breathe is one of the signs of death, and after a time, through the process of decay the body becomes “dust” and returns to the earth, from which it came.

Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” In the ecological system of nature we see God continually at work.  He did not just create the world and leave it to its fate.  He is continually sustaining every part of His creation.  His creative “breath,” His “Spirit,” enlivens it all.  The wisdom that fashioned the world is never for a moment withdrawn from it.  In Him all created live lives and moves and has its being. And this divine blend of animals and man expresses itself in timeliness as well as in orderliness.  Every new life that emerges on this earth comes from God.  The concept strikes at the very roots of the theory of evolution, which sees all earthly life as the end result of a random working of the forces of chance.  “NONSENSE!” says the psalmist.  ALL LIFE COMES FROM GOD, and He actively concerns Himself with what we call the ecology.

31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall breathe in his works.

The psalmist closes with a benediction to the Creator in which he prays that the ungodly might no longer spiritually pollute God’s universe (1 Co. 4:35).  This prayer anticipates the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:22).

It is a bold statement.  The psalmist is so impressed with the astonishing wonders of creation that he actually calls upon God to rejoice in what He Himself had done!  He is carried away.  It is almost as though he is afraid God might be robbed of some of the glory which is due Him.  The psalmist, soaring on the wings of his emotions, borne on the awesome sight of the vastness of nature, urges God to take delight in that which has awed and delighted Him!  God’s Sabbath rest has been broken; we live in a fallen world, the mark and taint of sin is everywhere, but it is still a marvelous, wonderful world.

The phrase “the LORD shall breathe in his works,” does not refer to the first creation, but rather, the continuous and repeated production of living creatures.

He now turns his thoughts to the purposes of God.

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

A look, a touch (the earth trembles at His look; the mountains smoke at His touch; for He is a God of almighty power.) is enough to remind the earth of the awesome power of the Creator. It is as simple for God to consume the earth as it is to create it. And now that sin has raised its head in the universe that is exactly what He intends to do. He will detonate the heavens and the earth, consume them in a fiery holocaust, and then create new ones in which His perpetual purpose in glory will be maintained.  Note: If we do not give Him the glory due to His name, He can quickly right Himself, and destroy us and HIS works. 

33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

The psalmist indicates his love for the Lord by exclaiming that he “will sing unto Him as long as he lives.”  The psalmist himself will “praise” him as Jehovah, the Creator, and as “my God,” a god in covenant with me, and this not now only, but as long as I live, and while “I have my being.”  Because we have our being from God, and depend on Him for the support and continuance of it, as long as we live and have our being we must continue to praise God; and when we have no life, no being, on earth, we hope to have a better life and better being in a better world and there to be doing this work in a better manner and in better company.

34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Most modern translations render “My meditation of him shall be sweet” as a prayer: “May these my thoughts please Him”; “Let my meditation be sweet to Him”; May “my meditation” please Him.” It is true that meditation about such a God is sweet to the soul. It is more important that our meditations are pleasing in His sight. God’s Word has the power to correct us. It will keep us in fellowship: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer” (19:14). Who was David’s strength? Christ! Who was his Redeemer? Christ! He is also my strength and my Redeemer, and I pray that He’s yours too. He becomes that through the grace of God. What a wonderful prayer to pray every day! Such a prayer must bring joy to the heart of God. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer” (19:14).

The word “sweet” is usually rendered “pledge” or “surety” (security, guarantee, deposit, etc.) and carries the idea of a mortgage. The psalmist’s thoughts turn to certain eternal verities, with promises, pledges and guarantees for which God Himself has given surety. The thought of that is sweet. No wonder he can sing, even though the discordant note of sin still has to be faced.

35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.

“Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more.” There! He has come out with it at last. There is a discordant note in nature, and man is the cause of it⸺man and his sin. Sin is a personal thing, and it cannot be judged in its process without being judged in the person. It is man’s perverted will which has spoiled the whole thing. But that is only a temporary state of affairs, for God will one day put an end to that.

But as for those ungodly creatures who do not regard the works of the Lord, which is noted as a most grievous sin, and punished with a grievous sentence, like that given in Psalm 28:4-5[m]; nor give Him the glory due to His name, but dishonor God, and abuse his creatures, and thereby provoke God to destroy the earth, and the men and things which are upon it. It is my prayer for thine honor, and for the safeguard of all mankind, that those sinners who obstinately and resolutely continue in this practice of desiring and disobeying their Creator, may be taken out of this world, that they may no longer infect it, nor procure its total destruction.  Or it may be a prediction delivered in the form of a suggestion, as it has been noted before in like cases.  But thou, O my soul, come not into this wretched society, but employ thyself in this great work of blessing and praising God; and yet it is my desire and hope that others will follow my example.

“Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.” As it began, so this magnificent hymn ends: “Bless thou the LORD, O my soul.” The exhortation

“Praise ye the LORD” is the same as “Hallelujah.” Those who bless and praise the Lord desire to see the day when (1) sinful people have been abolished from the earth (Revelation 20:11-15), and (2) the curse of the earth is reversed (Revelation 22:3).

Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth; and let the wicked be no more.

  1. Those that oppose the God of power, and fight against Him, will certainly be consumed; none can prosper that harden themselves against the Almighty.
  2. Those that rebel against the light of such convincing evidence of God’s being, and refuse to serve Him, whom all the creatures serve, will justly be consumed. Those that make the earth groan under the burden of their impieties deserve to be consumed out of it and that it should spew them out.
  3. Those that heartily desire to praise God themselves cannot keep from having a holy indignation at those that blaspheme and dishonor Him, and a holy satisfaction in the prospect of their destruction and the honor that God will get for himself.


[m] “Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve. Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again” (Psalm 28:4-5).