Call to Worship (Psalm 81, Hebrews 13)
God has led us through our wildernesses.
God has led us into a plentiful land.
God is the fountain of living water.
Come to the Water! Come to God!
"O that my people would listen to me,
O that they would walk in my ways!"
God is our strength. God is our helper.
Enter the sanctuary. Come and listen.
So we come.
Invocation (Psalm 81, Jeremiah 2, Hebrews 13, Luke 14)
Now, O God, your voice sounds into our lives again.
We are grateful to hear your call for on many mornings we hear other
voices—voices urging us to care only about ourselves; voices urging us
to serve other gods: our work, our bank accounts, our egos, our peer
groups, our ideologies.
By the time of your worship, we feel trapped in our anxiety, our work,
our spending, our need for control, and our excuses.
And then we hear your voice again, calling us to your healing care, to
your spacious freedom, to your giving humility.
We come to rest and be fed.
Call us to your freeing love again.
Feed us now, God of our strength. Amen.
During the next weeks we will study from the book of
Today’s text provides a helpful introduction to the creation
account (Genesis 1). It leads the reader to praise God for his
unimaginable greatness and goodness, shown when he
made the world.
The psalm has been described as “a poetical commentary
upon the first chapter of Genesis.” Similar praises include Job
38, 39; Psalm 8, 19, 29 and Habakkuk 3.
The lesson examines how God Created All. The study's aim
is to show that God is the creator and owner of all material
and spiritual things. The study's application is to gratefully
and willingly place ourselves under the authority of our
Creator and rest in His provisions.
Key Verse: Ps 104:24
O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have
made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions
This beautiful psalm or hymn praises God for the wonders of
creation. It parallels the creation account in Genesis as an
allusion to God’s work on each successive day in Psalm 104:
first day (vv. 2-5), second (vv. 6-9), third (vv. 10-18), fourth
(vv. 19-23), fifth (vv. 24-30).
We are living in a day when the thought of God as our
Creator is repugnant to many people. Science seems to have
become the dominant religion in our country. The public
schools and the media appear to have become the
evangelistic arm of the evolutionists.
Sadly, many who confess Christianity do not believe that God
is sovereign or that we are responsible to Him or to anyone
other than ourselves as individuals.
Our commitment as Christians to the authority of the Word
of God and to His authority in the universe is being
questioned and even opposed by the world at-large.
Christians are not anti-science but believe sincerely that they
are in agreement since their creator is the same. Our
struggle is with the refusal to see a divine design to all
The theory of evolution reasons that everything we see in
the world just came to be out of nothing for no particular
But, based on the Word of God, Christians believe that God
created the world and mankind out of nothing for the
purpose of displaying His grace, His mercy, and all His other
magnificent attributes. Our text builds on this theme and
leads the psalmist to enter into praise and worship.
The psalm begins and ends with the challenge, “Praise the
Lord, O my soul”. The psalmist says God wraps himself in
light. He stretches out the heavens like a tent. When creating
the earth, God set it on its foundations.
This illustration compares the earth to a solid, secure
building (Job 38:4).
God, of course, did not need to use a literal foundation. He
is the Master Builder (Genesis 1:2). As easily as a man might
put up a tent, so God created the heavens.
The Lord needed but to say the word and the water took to
flight. He is in absolute control of everything that has been
made. Even water must respect the boundaries God has set
You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be
Psalm 104 describes the six days of God’s creation in Genesis
1 and verses 5-9 describe God’s creation on the third day.
The Psalm gives good reasons to praise God as the Creator of
God is the foundation of all that exists. God holds in
existence all that continues to exist. As long as God wills, the
earth as a whole will never be shaken, even though we may
experience natural disasters such as devastating earthquakes
You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters
stood above the mountains.
At one time waters covered the entire Earth. All landmasses
were underwater, including the mountains. A garment covers
or hides from view whatever is underneath of it.
The Creator put the mountains under the seas, and then He
revealed what He had hidden when He chose to do so. There
are still some mountains under the seas today, and some
islands are mountain tops.
How is it that man refuses to see the divine in creation’s
God's majesty is clearly displayed in His marvelous creation.
At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they
take to flight.
God created by speaking, “Let there be …” The Gospel of
John tells us that the Word of God created everything, and
the Word was God and the Word was with God.
Poetically speaking, God “rebuked” the water and it fled
exposing the land, the continents, and the mountains. God’s
voice could sound similar to, or as loud as, thunder.
The personified water or seas heard and “fled” or took
“flight” as God commanded.
Later, Jesus would quiet a storm and bring peace at His
command, because He is the Son of God, the Word of
God, who with His Father created all things.
If God would have a word for His creation today, what would
Because of His almighty power, God need only speak, and
His will is done.
They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to
the place that you appointed for them.
As the waters fled, many times they went into the valleys
and became rivers, lakes, and streams.
God created an orderly world for people, animals, and plants
to live. God chose where the lakes, rivers, and streams would
reside and run in their courses.
You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they
might not again cover the earth.
When God created the continents and set the boundaries
for the oceans, He did so in such a way that all the continents
would never be covered again as they were before He began
Even during the Great Flood in the days of Noah, God
provided for the human race, the animals, and the fish in
various ways. God will not allow the world to return to a
time of primeval chaos, though God will cleanse the world by
How can the pollution and the destruction of God’s creation
ever serve His will?
The psalmist moves from God’s creating power to his sustaining
power (vv. 10-23). This final portion of today’s text calls on
everyone to recognize and honor God for what he has done and
is doing throughout the world. The psalmist points out that, in
wisdom, God made everything that exists.
“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by
understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the
deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew” (Proverbs
Interestingly, all life in the universe—human, animal, bird, or aquatic—is
covered both by the Lord’s knowledge and his control. Jesus himself
alluded to this fact while on earth (Matthew 10:23).
When speaking of creatures of the sea, the psalmist mentions Leviathan.
This creature is mentioned more than once in Scripture (Job 41; Isaiah
27:1) but is not easily identified.
Some Bible scholars believe Leviathan is a crocodile, while others
identify it with some type of serpent (Psalm 74:14). The obvious lesson
is to see that this fearsome beast (Job 3:8) is “merely God’s pet playing
in the ocean” (John H. Stek).
All of the creatures in the world depend on God for their food (Psalm
104:27). The same God provides every good and perfect gift to mankind as
well (James 1:17). He is the source of all blessings for all of his creation.
H. C. Leupold writes, “The world over living creatures are continually looking
to heaven for food . . . In a measure that surpasses our comprehension God
gives them what they need. Luther once remarked that the Lord must have a
The Lord holds the power of life and death in his hand. He is the all-powerful
Creator and Sustainer of life for humans and animals alike. When God recalls
the breath of life from a creature, that creature will die. His Spirit is sent forth,
however, to replenish the earth with new life.
O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have
made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Before the psalmist began to declare some of the marvels of the
fifth day of creation, he cannot contain himself and he breaks
forth in praise to God.
God’s works are so manifold that even today researchers are
finding new species of animals, plants, and fish. The earth is full
of microscopic creatures up to the largest animals and plants.
Every creature that God has created reveals the wisdom of
God, and every scientific study of God’s creation can reveal God’s
wisdom to researchers and those who study their writings.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things
innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
Live coral reefs and other forms of sea life often grow slowly
among innumerable varieties of plants, fish, and mammals
that live in the ocean. Small microscopic shrimp can feed tiny
seahorses. Dolphins, squid, sharks, and whales take their
place as some of God’s great sea creatures.
God has created all things, small and great things.
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in
Whereas faraway lands once separated people of various
nations and races, ships now cross the oceans as a highway
to bring people together and enrich kingdoms through trade.
The Leviathan is mentioned also in Psalm 74:13-15. God
intended the Leviathan to enjoy the sea and be a creature
that God and those in ships would enjoy watching when it
broke forth above the waters.
How do you feel when you take the time to marvel at a night
sky, a forest or a little child?
Praise to God is the proper response of the careful observer
when he views the countless forms of His creation.
These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
All human beings and animals depend on God to survive. A
person may think he depends on his resourcefulness alone to live
and prosper, but all depend on God to supply them with food
Intelligent human beings with understanding, look to God for
their provisions, and they know the seasons that God has
provided for the planting and harvesting of the variety of foods
Here the psalmist praises God not only for creating, but also for
when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open
your hand, they are filled with good things.
The Bible teaches that God is personally involved in His good
creation throughout all history. God did not just create and then
decide to sit back to watch and let the world be totally self-
God personally gives us what we need. We “work” to gather our
food, but God has provided the food and God has given the
growth to a farmer’s field. The good things we enjoy come from
God’s open hand – a sign of love: God is not selfish.
Do you ever fear for a world-wide famine or devastation by
The God who creates always provides for His creation.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take
away their breath, they die and return to their dust..
For good and sufficient reasons, God sometimes allows or causes
His creatures to not have everything they need or want.
For example, Job was dismayed at his losses, but God revealed
His faithfulness to Job. The psalmist praises God for the cycle of
life and death.
For good reasons, God sometimes seems far away, but God is still
personally involved in all life and death. Jesus said that God even
cares for every sparrow that falls to the ground.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you
renew the face of the ground.
During various seasons, the face of the ground changes, God
brings the springtime after fall and winter. God brings forth
the green trees, grasses, flowers, and crops in their seasons.
God creates by Word and Spirit, and God’s Spirit gives life to
all living things.
From the New Testament, we learn with certainty about life
after death and the future that God has promised His
children, all those who love God through faith in Jesus Christ
as their Lord and Savior.
Do you believe that the seasons of your life are in His hands?
How does that change your attitudes?
The life and death of all created things are in the hands of
There is so much for us to learn about our God.
We all get so busy sometimes that we forget how great and
awesome our God realty is. The Holy Spirit of God led and
guided the psalmist to write about the work of God in the
creation of the world we live in.
In light of His great power, we know that surely He is able to
meet our every need. In fact, He has promised to do so in His
Word. He wants us to trust Him for everything.
In another psalm he wrote of the heavens declaring the very
glory of God and the firmament announcing His handiwork
In these verses the abundance of God's works in nature is
acknowledged. "The earth is full of thy riches" (Ps. 104:24).
All the creatures on the earth, in the heavens, and in the
waters are dependent upon God to supply their needs. We
too are told to wait upon Him so that we might be
strengthened by Him (Ps. 27:14).
To sum up the heart of this lesson, it is that one of our
responsibilities is to care for God's creation and to do so with
grateful hearts for His bounty.
Benediction (Psalm 81, Hebrews 13)
We have heard God's words of blessing.
"Listen to me! Walk in my ways!"
We hear your voice, and will follow.
"I will never leave or forsake you!"
God is our helper. We will not be afraid. Amen.
Blessing (Psalm 81, Hebrews 13, Luke 14)
Practice humility and hospitality.
Invite the lowly to your table.
Remember the imprisoned and the tortured.
Honor your covenants.
Be content with what you have.
Love God, and walk in God's ways.
May the way we live offer praise to God, our helper and our
And may God feed you with the finest wheat and the sweetest