Day 182: July 1, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 104
1 My soul, praise Yahweh! Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with majesty and splendor. 2 He wraps Himself in light as if it were a robe, spreading out the sky like a canopy, 3 laying the beams of His palace on the waters above, making the clouds His chariot, walking on the wings of the wind, 4 and making the winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants. 5 He established the earth on its foundations; it will never be shaken. 6 You covered it with the deep as if it were a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At Your rebuke the waters fled; at the sound of Your thunder they hurried away— 8 mountains rose and valleys sank—to the place You established for them. 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; they will never cover the earth again. 10 He causes the springs to gush into the valleys; they flow between the mountains. 11 They supply water for every wild beast; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 The birds of the sky live beside the springs; they sing among the foliage. 13 He waters the mountains from His palace; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of Your labor. 14 He causes grass to grow for the livestock and provides crops for man to cultivate, producing food from the earth, 15 wine that makes man’s heart glad—making his face shine with oil—and bread that sustains man’s heart. 16 The trees of the Lord flourish, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted. 17 There the birds make their nests; the stork makes its home in the pine trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for hyraxes. 19 He made the moon to mark the festivals; the sun knows when to set. 20 You bring darkness, and it becomes night, when all the forest animals stir. 21 The young lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. 22 The sun rises; they go back and lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes out to his work and to his labor until evening. 24 How countless are Your works, Lord! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, vast and wide, teeming with creatures beyond number—living things both large and small. 26 There the ships move about, and Leviathan , which You formed to play there. 27 All of them wait for You to give them their food at the right time. 28 When You give it to them, they gather it; when You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When You send Your breath, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth. 31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in His works. 32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke. 33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to Him; I will rejoice in the Lord. 35 May sinners vanish from the earth and wicked people be no more. My soul, praise Yahweh! Hallelujah!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Psalm of Hymn and Praise
by Lauren O'Neill, Senior Adult and Congregational Care Assistant, Brentwood Campus

Be sure to click on the new video this week.

As David articulates beautifully in this Psalm, we know a God truly worthy of praise. And not just our own, but also of mountains and rivers, moons and sun, and all creatures in the sky and on land. In wisdom, all of these things were created by God – and in praise, we acknowledge His awesome power and authority over all we are, and can ever become (v. 27-30).

There is so much masterful imagery in this Psalm, and yet it all came from the heart of one individual, and his experience with our living God. And although David’s ability to express these things in words may have been a unique gift to him, the way he was completely filled with praise for God should not be unique – as Christians, we are invited into worship experiences like this, with every breath we are given.

A human heart can get so caught up in its own way. We often refer to this as pride. We fall into the snare of believing we are more majestic than we are. We grow stubborn and unbending, and fail to follow God where He would lead us. But David compels us in verse 33 to find our gladness in the Lord, and to sing while we have the chance. We cannot do these things unless we are humble before God, and understand who He really is.

Even the mountains acknowledge that God is larger and more majestic than they are. Let us take our example from them! For they answer His bidding, and are impacted by His touch (v.32).

Or we could follow the route the rivers take, as they praise Him…bending where He sends them, flowing where He calls them (v. 8, 10). It is clear from these verses that David understood God’s ultimate power and authority over all the earth – and this caused him to praise God and His mighty works! We each have our unique experiences that help us draw closer to God, and see Him for who He really is.

Last week, I had the opportunity to vacation at the beach with my family. It had been a couple years since I’d been there last, so the fresh sight of that white sand and turquoise ocean took my breath away. One of my favorite things about the beach is how small I always feel when I’m there, looking out at the ocean…and how big God seems to feel, in contrast.

There is something so humbling about standing at that place where the ocean meets the sand, and understanding how incredibly finite you are. Thinking about the magnitude of what David said in verse 9: “[God] sets boundaries for the waters that they do not cross over.” Can you imagine that? The thought of someone setting the limits of things we can’t even completely see. We are truly at the mercy of a God that big — and yet He loves us. He chose us.

He is worthy of our praise. As we continue through our busy day today, seeking God’s will in each of our unique journeys and circumstances, let us all take time to stop and rejoice. For the same God who set the earth on its foundations and causes the sun to rise, is the One who sustains us, knows us, and daily brings us life. And like David exclaimed at the beginning of his Psalm, may our hearts also cry out this praise today:

“Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Lord, my God, You are very great.” (v.1-2)

Praxis

  1. Reading through this Psalm, is there a particular verse or word-image David uses that resonates with you in a special way? Think about the facet or quality of God’s character that is being highlighted by those words, or that verse. What personal experience have you had, that causes this part of David’s prayer to resonate with you?
  2. In verses 27-30, God is clearly portrayed as the sovereign authority over all things – but also, the protector and sustainer of all things. Does this impact the way you view God, in your current circumstances today? Why or why not? 

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.