Introduction: Psalm 104 is a great doctrinal Psalm. The entire Psalm revolves around and supports the doctrine that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. The key verse in my opinion is verse 24, which reads, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.”
Many times we are asked what the proof of God’s existence is. To the person whose eyes are open to the magnificent and beautiful world around us, the evidence is overwhelming! Some people deny that there is a Creator. Others concede the fact that there is a Creator, but deny the fact that God daily sustains all things in the natural world. How I thank God that He is not only the Creator but also the Sustainer. He keeps this old world spinning! I don’t have to worry about icebergs melting or the sun burning out. God created the world, and He will sustain it according to His will.
I. The Creation of the World (vv. 1–5)
God is big. Very big (v. 1)! He created entire galaxies with one sweeping motion of His hand, as easily as we would draw a curtain across a window (v. 2). When God lays a foundation, it’s not going anywhere (v. 5).
II. The Covering of the World (vv. 6–9)
As if to underscore God’s absolute control over this world, we are reminded that the only time in history that the whole earth has been destroyed, it was not by careless or nefarious men (or aerosol cans or hair spray or the internal combustion engine or…).
It was done by the hand of God Himself. God did indeed send a worldwide flood which covered all the mountains (v. 6). When He was ready for the water to recede, it receded (v. 7). When the Flood was over, God put everything back in order (v. 8). And once God had accomplished His purpose with the Flood, He resumed His “sustaining” of the earth (v. 9). Even in the most dramatic “natural disaster” the world has ever known, God never lost control.
III. The Continuing of the World (vv. 10–35)
This is where it really gets awesome! In the remaining verses in this chapter, the Psalmist shows us God’s sustaining hand in the most unlikely places. Here are ten illustrations from nature which, while most people take them for granted, are evidence that a God of wisdom, and power, and order controls everything.
A. The Journey of Water
“He sendeth the springs into the valleys…”—v. 10
God sends the water running down the mountains in rivers and streams. What a great system! He brings life-sustaining water to all the animals of the field and forest.
B. The Falling of Rain
“He watereth the hills from his chambers…”—v. 13
God leans off the back porch of Heaven and tips His watering can, and the whole earth is rained upon. The Bible says that the earth is “satisfied” by God’s wonderful system of rain.
C. The Growing of Grass and Herbs
“He causeth the grass to grow…”—v. 14
God is the one who makes the grass grow. Think about it. No grass for the cows to eat—no beef, no milk, and no help pulling the plow! Grass is pretty important. And the other edible plants are pretty important for human consumption. It’s a good thing that God didn’t just create grass and plants and then forget to keep the process going!
D. The Planting of Trees
“The trees…which he hath planted;”—v. 16
God is the one who plants the trees. What a wise God! He is the original Johnny Appleseed. Trees age and fall, forests burn down, men cut down trees to use the wood, but God just keeps planting more trees.
E. The Changing of Seasons
“He appointed the moon for seasons…”—v. 19
What a remarkable “coincidence” that for thousands of years we have been able to depend upon the consistency of the seasons! Could it be that it is not coincidence at all, but that God is the one who keeps that process going?
F. The Coming of Night
“Thou [God] makest darkness, and it is night…”—v. 20
Most people have probably never thought about this, but even the coming of night is an indicator of God. God keeps the earth spinning at a consistent rate of speed so that we can predict the exact moment that the sun will drop off of the horizon and when it will reappear. Wow!
G. The Feeding of Land Animals
“The young lions…seek their meat from God.”—v. 21
If you watch a nature documentary about large herds of animals traveling far distances for food, or wild animals on the hunt, the narrator will always credit “instincts” for the animals perceived intelligence. God says it a little more simply. The animals get their food from God.
H. The Feeding of Sea Creatures
“…thou [God] openest thine hand, they [sea creatures] are filled with good.”—vv. 27–28
Even the sea creatures, God just opens His hand and feeds them.
I. The Death of All Living Things
“…thou [God] takest away their breath, they die…”—v. 29
When God ceases to give breath to any living creature, it will die. That is about as succinct a description of God’s power to sustain as you will ever see.
J. The Birth of All Living Things
“Thou [God] sendest forth thy spirit, they are created:”—v. 30
God does not only end the lives of all living things, but it is He who creates new life as well.
Conclusion: I am so glad to know and serve a God who not only has the power to create, but also the power to sustain that which He has created. I’m also glad that while this is all true in the physical realm, it is also true in the spiritual realm. When God gave me spiritual new birth, He took a permanent interest in me personally. He sustains me from day to day.
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”— Philippians 1:6