Lost in Awe and Wonder
Mighty God, today I assert that the heavens and the earth are Yours. Praise the Lord, O my soul.
Consider: "This psalm is an anthem of praise to God for his wonderful works in creation and providence. It celebrates the design of an intelligent Creator who is mindful of the needs of his creatures, and provides for them with loving care" (A. Leonard Griffith). Surely something worthy of our praise!
"Variety and breadth, sharpness of detail and sustained vigor of thought, put this psalm of praise among the giants" (Derek Kidner, 1913-2008). This is a truly magnificent psalm. Read it slowly out loud a couple of times to let the sheer wonder of this description of God's creative and sustaining activity soak into your being. It stresses his authority over all of nature, reminding us of when Jesus demonstrated his authority over nature in calming a life-threatening storm (Matt. 8:23-27).
The psalm's structure is complementary to the creation narrative in Genesis 1, with the psalmist meditating on the various days of creation. His focus is very much upon God, his character and his activity across the universe. His theme is the visible creation, which he sees as the radiant stately robe with which the invisible Creator clothes himself to display his glory. He only hints at the angelic world and mentions human beings in passing. The earth and its myriad phenomena, the various plants, diverse animals and birds, are all portrayed in their dependence upon God for sustenance, as is his generous response in providing for all. We are reminded of the breathtaking variety, numbers (25) and quirkiness (26) of the land and sea creatures God has created and the wisdom that lies behind all of this (24).
This meditation evokes in the psalmist a commitment, which he underlines by repeating it, to sing praise to the Lord all his life (33). He is overwhelmed by God's splendor and bigness and he can think of no other response than that of worship. May we too be swept up into fresh wonder of God and all that creation expresses of him, not just in this moment but as a lifestyle of praise, consciously storing within images of his world that we can call upon at will.
How closely does the psalm follow the creation account in Genesis 1? What does God's wonderful creation cause the psalmist to do, and what should it arouse in us (31,33,34)?
"To God the Father, who created the world; to God the Son, who redeemed the world; to God the Holy Spirit, who sustains the world; be all praise and glory" (Celtic prayer).
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