I will praise Him!
Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.
(Psalm 98:7-9, NIV)
I will praise Him!
The seas have lifted up, LORD,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the LORD on high is mighty.
Your statutes, LORD, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.
(Psalm 93:3-5, NIV)
Reading: Psalm 107
Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the LORD,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders (NIV).
There is something very primal or basic about our understanding of God and storms. We know that we cannot control the weather. Storms and floods are acts of God well beyond our limited power. All we can do is call out for God’s mercy just as the men in this vignette from Psalm 107 did. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.
Jesus’ disciples found themselves in an identical situation one day. Fear of drowning is one of those fears that haunts all of us.
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm (Mark 4:37-39).
For the disciples this was one of those experiences that confirmed the deity of Jesus. They were not following an ordinary man, but rather God clothed in human flesh.
Response: LORD God, I want to see Jesus and experience him in my life. Open my eyes to who you really are. Jesus, still the storms that roil the seas on which I sail. I need to hear your calming voice. Amen.
Your Turn: Are you being hit by the storms of life? Have you called out to God in your time of need?
Reading: 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 (NIV).
All of Psalm 104 is a poetic ode in praise of God’s creation. Like the previous psalm it begins and ends by calling us to praise the LORD.
The psalmist begins his description of creation at the beginning. By that I mean he begins with the LORD in the heavens. He is the source point. It’s a very fitting start since the LORD called into being all of creation—all that we can see, hear and examine. In the creation account we read, “the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2). But here we read a more detailed—a more poetic description: 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.
The God of the heavens separates the waters of sky and earth. He establishes the boundaries of the oceans. These are the events of the second and third day in the Genesis account, but here they are portrayed as a seamless whole. In all this, the LORD is the actor, the mover, the sole performer. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants. He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
And what a performance this is! It has no equal and no precedent. Land, sky and sea are His handiwork and do His bidding. They respond to the Master Builder, and so should we.
Response: LORD God, you are very great! I kneel before you, my awesome God! I praise you for your creation. It is magnificent because you are more than magnificent. All praise belongs to you. Amen.
Your Turn: Is there a particular aspect of creation that you are drawn to or enjoy, for example the stars, the oceans or the animal kingdom?