“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)
Psalm 104 is a song of praise to the Creator of heaven and earth. The psalm mirrors what we read in the Bible’s first chapter: light, heaven, winds, earth, water, mountains, valleys, animals, birds of the sky, fruits, grass, seeds, trees, moon, sun, wild animals, sea, fish. The writer of the psalm praises all the great works of God, but it is not as if the creation process has been concluded and the Creator has decided to go into early retirement. It is true, he does mention some of the specific acts of creation God made in the beginning: He set the earth on its foundations (V.5); He made the moon (v.19). But such statements in the past tense are few and far between. Rather, the writer of this psalm paints a picture of how God is still actively maintaining His creation today. How many ARE your works, Lord! Notice how this psalm speaks of the works of God in the present form:
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains (v.10). He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. (v.13). He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth (v.14). You bring darkness, it becomes night (v.20). All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time (v.27). When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things (v.28). When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground (v.30).
Here the writer of the psalm confesses that our God is not only the Creator but also the Sustainer of all life –including yours and mine! In Luther’s explanation of the 1st article, we confess exactly this: I believe that God has made me … and still takes care of me. God works day and night to sustain His creation. Our God truly does not sleep nor slumber. Therefore, when everything around us turns green again this spring: Praise the Lord! When the seed we plant in the soil grows and bears fruit: Thank the Creator!
The writer of this psalm also knows that this creation, which God has made so wonderfully, is unfortunately no longer perfect. He knows that we are living in a fallen creation, where death and suffering lurk around every corner. That is why he also looks forward and points to a time when this fallen creation will be made new again by saying: you renew the face of the ground (v.30). Sinners will vanish
from the earth and the wicked will be no more (v.35). Through his Son Jesus Christ, God has already set this new creation in motion. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, he has won the fight against sin, death, and the devil. Through your baptism, you too were made new by being buried with Christ into his death and will consequently be resurrected with him. Through your baptism, your lost image of God has been restored. God not only started his new creation in you through your baptism but continues to sustain you in the faith through his grace. He does this through his word, absolution and holy communion. These are the means, through which the Holy Spirit works in you. And even though we still live in this fallen creation, we can, as His holy and renewed children, already look forward to the day when God will make all things new and when we will be completely delivered from this fallen world. Praise be to God. Amen.
Pastor Andreas Albers, Wartburg