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God's Garments - Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c

When the Psalmist exhorts his own soul to bless the Lord in Psalm 104, he reaches immediately for the image of clothing to ascribe splendor and majesty to God. What He doesn’t see is the direct, unveiled glory of God, which no man has seen or can see, but what he does see is the glory of God revealed in creation, as the whole Psalm follows the structure of the creation account in Genesis 1.

As he begins to exalt the greatness of God, the Psalmist uses the clothing metaphor in verses 1-2, the idea of a vehicle in verse 3, God’s servants in verse 4, and God’s craftsmanship and word of command in vv. 5-9. The point of piling up these images and ideas is to highlight the splendor and majesty of God. Although the Psalmist hasn’t seen God’s glory directly, he’s seen the glory that God surrounds Himself with. And so he blesses and exalts God, and we are invited to join him in echoing this praise.

Consider the light that stretches out across the heavens. When the sun is risen, what part of the heavens remain dark to the observer? We know the heavens are immeasurably vast, and yet the sun lights up the whole sky! Even our brightest artificial lights quickly disappear after a few thousand feet. When God wraps Himself with light, the whole world is lit up!

What about God’s tent? That word should make us think of the tabernacle and the temple, the Old Testament houses of God. But when Solomon dedicated the temple, he recognized how silly it was in one sense to call the temple God’s house. Even the heaven of heavens cannot contain God! Our tents are to the heavens what the heavens are to God’s glory! We make incredible mansions and measure them in square feet. God stretches out the vast heavens, and it’s merely a tent!

Verse 3 tells us that God builds His dwelling above the heavens, and the wings of the wind drive His cloudy chariot through the sky. Our greatest rockets are incredibly expensive and complex imitations of God’s chariot, and they frequently break down and fail. God’s chariot races higher and faster and never crashes or runs off course.

Verse four continues the pattern: whether we think of hurricanes on the east coast or massive wildfires out west, the image is something far greater and more powerful than human beings can manage, and these natural elements are being compared to the angels, God’s ministers and messengers. When God wants to send a message, He uses a glorious being that comes across like a wildfire! All over the Bible, human beings are terror-stricken by angels, and usually try to worship them. If the messengers are this overwhelmingly majestic, how awesome must be the One who sent them!

And look what God did in fashioning the earth! What would happen if we were to find out that the earth was slipping out of place? What could we possibly do if we needed to wrap the earth in a watery blanket, or shift around a few continents in order to stabilize a swiftly tilting planet? But this is child’s play to God! He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved! Cover the mountains with water? Done! Yank the mountains up to the proper height, drop the valleys down into place? Got it. The earth and the seas obey God.

So stand in awe of God’s creation, and the way He uses His power to save you from destruction. Consider His works, and be utterly amazed. When was the last time you instructed your soul to bless the Lord? When was the last time you came up with an itemized list of the wonders of His creation, and then glorified your list with images, metaphors, and poetry, fashioning it into high praise for God?

Or when was the last time that something utterly trivial caused you to worry? Or when you didn’t take the glorious power and might of God into account, and grew fearful or anxious? Comparing yourself and your situation to the world will overwhelm you; comparing the world to your God is good for your soul, when you remember that the Lord your God is very great!

So tell your soul to bless the Lord, and you will find that blessing the Lord blesses your soul, because everything in heaven and earth magnifies and glorifies God. Blessing the Lord by singing songs of praise like Psalm 104 will strengthen your faith, because the more you sing about the manifold works of God, the greater God becomes in your eyes. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!

Posted on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by CJ Bowen