Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. (Psalm 104:1-9 ESV).
We travel to the Smoky Mountains today. I know there are other places that are just as beautiful and majestic. I have traveled to some of them. The Rockies are majestic; the Kenai Peninsula is incredible; however, The Smokies have always been my favorite place. Thinking of what awaits us for the next few days I am reminded of our reading today. This psalm is one of many hymns that paint a vivid picture of God’s creation. Wendell Berry, the Wisconsin farmer-poet, said the Bible is meant to be read outdoors, and this psalm is one that illustrates what Berry was talking about.
When we read passages like this, we realize that the Bible is not a science textbook. The picture of the heavens as a tent stretched out on beams resting on the foundation of the earth is not an accurate scientific description of the structure of the earth and sky as we know them to be. But it’s wonderful poetry, and poets throughout the ages have sought to express their understanding of the world in imagery that sparks our imagination and touches our hearts. The psalmist does the same and uses these images to show that God gives order and structure to the world he has made. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians, it is Christ’s word of power that upholds the universe (cf. Ephesians 1:15). Our creation hymn reminds us that the order of the world we live in points to the majesty and power of its Creator.
Being in the midst of our own construction project, I am more and more struck by the immense grandeur of our God. Without countless laborers or meticulous coordination, God made it all with the simple spoken word. No wonder it becomes easier to trust him as I sense this greatness. He is able to do and perform every promise spoken to us. It’s probably as hot where you are as it is for us. Brave the heat and sit through the setting of the sun tonight. Watch God as he shows his greatness once again.
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