Sunday School 09 01 2013

 

 

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KJV Sunday School Commentary

 

 

 

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God Created All”

Lesson Text: Psalm 104:5-9, 24-30

Background Scripture: Psalm 104:1-35

Devotional Reading: Matthew 6:25-34

 

Psalm 104:5-9, 24-30 (KJV)

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth

……………………………………………………………

24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

Cross references:

  1. Psalm 104:1 : S Ps 103:22

  2. Psalm 104:1 : S Job 40:10

  3. Psalm 104:2 : Isa 49:18; Jer 43:12

  4. Psalm 104:2 : Ps 18:12; 1Ti 6:16

  5. Psalm 104:2 : Job 9:8; Jer 51:15

  6. Psalm 104:2 : Job 37:18; Isa 40:22; 42:5; 44:24; Zec 12:1

  7. Psalm 104:2 : S Ps 19:4

  8. Psalm 104:3 : Am 9:6

  9. Psalm 104:3 : S Ps 24:2

  10. Psalm 104:3 : S Dt 33:26; Isa 19:1; Na 1:3

  11. Psalm 104:3 : S 2Ki 2:11

  12. Psalm 104:3 : Ps 18:10

  13. Psalm 104:4 : Ps 148:8; Heb 1:7*

  14. Psalm 104:4 : Ge 3:24; 2Ki 2:11

  15. Psalm 104:5 : Ex 31:17; Job 26:7; Ps 24:1-2; 102:25; 121:2

  16. Psalm 104:5 : S 1Sa 2:8

  17. Psalm 104:6 : Ge 7:19

  18. Psalm 104:6 : S Ge 1:2

  19. Psalm 104:6 : 2Pe 3:6

  20. Psalm 104:7 : S Ps 18:15

  21. Psalm 104:7 : S Ex 9:23; Ps 29:3

  22. Psalm 104:8 : Ps 33:7

  23. Psalm 104:9 : S Ge 1:9; S Ps 16:6

  24. Psalm 104:10 : Ps 107:33; Isa 41:18

  25. Psalm 104:11 : ver 13

  26. Psalm 104:11 : S Ge 16:12; Isa 32:14; Jer 14:6

  27. Psalm 104:12 : ver 17; Mt 8:20

  28. Psalm 104:12 : Mt 13:32

  29. Psalm 104:13 : Ps 135:7; 147:8; Jer 10:13; Zec 10:1

  30. Psalm 104:13 : S Lev 26:4

  31. Psalm 104:13 : Am 9:6

  32. Psalm 104:14 : S Job 38:27; Ps 147:8

  33. Psalm 104:14 : S Ge 1:30; S Job 28:5

  34. Psalm 104:15 : S Ge 14:18; S Jdg 9:13

  35. Psalm 104:15 : Ps 23:5; 92:10; Lk 7:46

  36. Psalm 104:15 : S Dt 8:3; Mt 6:11

  37. Psalm 104:16 : Ge 1:11

  38. Psalm 104:16 : S Ps 72:16

  39. Psalm 104:17 : ver 12

  40. Psalm 104:18 : S Dt 14:5

  41. Psalm 104:18 : Pr 30:26

  42. Psalm 104:19 : S Ge 1:14

  43. Psalm 104:19 : Ps 19:6

  44. Psalm 104:20 : Isa 45:7; Am 5:8

  45. Psalm 104:20 : Ps 74:16

  46. Psalm 104:20 : S Ps 50:10

  47. Psalm 104:21 : Am 3:4

  48. Psalm 104:21 : Ps 145:15; Joel 1:20; S Mt 6:26

  49. Psalm 104:22 : S Job 37:8

  50. Psalm 104:23 : S Ge 3:19

  51. Psalm 104:23 : Jdg 19:16

  52. Psalm 104:24 : Ps 40:5

  53. Psalm 104:24 : S Ge 1:31

  54. Psalm 104:24 : Ps 24:1; 50:10-11

  55. Psalm 104:25 : Ps 69:34

  56. Psalm 104:25 : Eze 47:10

  57. Psalm 104:26 : Ps 107:23; Eze 27:9; Jnh 1:3

  58. Psalm 104:26 : S Job 3:8; 41:1

  59. Psalm 104:26 : Job 40:20

  60. Psalm 104:26 : S Ge 1:21

  61. Psalm 104:27 : Job 36:31; Ps 145:15; 147:9

  62. Psalm 104:28 : Ps 103:5; 145:16; Isa 58:11

  63. Psalm 104:29 : S Dt 31:17

  64. Psalm 104:29 : S Job 7:21

  65. Psalm 104:30 : S Ge 1:2

  66. Psalm 104:31 : Ex 40:35; Ps 8:1; S Ro 11:36

  67. Psalm 104:31 : S Ge 1:4

  68. Psalm 104:32 : S Ps 97:4

  69. Psalm 104:32 : S Ex 19:18

  70. Psalm 104:32 : Ps 144:5

  71. Psalm 104:33 : S Ex 15:1; Ps 108:1

  72. Psalm 104:34 : S Ps 2:11; 9:2; 32:11

  73. Psalm 104:35 : Ps 37:38

  74. Psalm 104:35 : S Job 7:10

  75. Psalm 104:35 : Ps 28:6; 105:45; 106:48

 

 

OBJECTIVES

To show that God is the Creator of the world and all in it.

To see that God is worthy of praise and honor for creating and providing for all living things!

To praise and worship God for His creative and sustaining powers.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

First Things First

Being first at something is generally considered a mark of distinction. To be the first in one's family to graduate from college or to be the first runner to cross the finish line is noteworthy.

Sometimes being first implies being a pacesetter or establishing a pattern that others will follow. When Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on the moon, it marked a dramatic step forward in the American space program. Jackie Robinson's becoming the first African-American to play major league baseball in 1947 opened the door for other African-Americans to do the same.

The first book of the Bible, Genesis, begins with the familiar “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). It is with good reason that the first "main character" in the Bible is God. As the Creator, He is the ultimate “first.” In this case, it is impossible for anyone to imitate His "firstness" even remotely. Hear His words given through the prophet Isaiah: “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). The only one who has ever made a similar claim truthfully is Jesus, who was God "made flesh" (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 1:17; 22:13).

 

LESSON BACKGROUND:

Time: Before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.

Place: Judah

This week’s lesson deals with God's creative activity as described in Psalm 104. The Psalms have been described as “Israel's hymnal”; as such they cover a wide range of topics, just as any church hymnal does.

One of these topics is creation—and specifically God's glory and splendor as seen throughout His creation. Psalm 19:1-6 is a prime example of this; the first verse affirms, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Psalm 104 (the current text) is an especially sweeping tribute to God as Creator. Nearly all of its 35 verses highlight the ways in which He demonstrates His loving care for all He has made.

When discussing authorship of the Psalms, many automatically think of King David. That is certainly appropriate since 73 of the 150 psalms are attributed to David in their titles. Two other psalms that have no title are credited to David in the New Testament: Psalm 2 (in Acts 4:25, 26) and Psalm 95 (in Hebrews 4:7). A psalm without a title is often referred to as an “orphan psalm.” That is the case with Psalm 104. But that fact does not detract from its ability to instruct us about God (see 2 Timothy 3:16).

 

Sovereign Power (Psalm 104:5-9)

Psalm 104 begins and ends with the writer exhorting himself to bless the Lord; this is parallel to Psalm 103, which begins and ends the same way. In the first four verses of Psalm 104, we can see a magnificent poetic and musical commentary on the creation. Even the structure of the psalm draws praise in that it is modeled quite closely on the day-by-day creation events recorded in Genesis 1. Indeed, as the psalmist described in grandiose detail the daily acts of creation, he seemed to preach-to-self in glowing terms that what God created on each day is reason enough to praise Him!

 

Day God Created. . . Psalm l04: Genesis 1:

1 Light 1-2 3-5

2 The heavens and the waters 2-4 6-8

3 Land and vegetation 5-18 9-13

4 The sun, moon, and stars 19-23 14-19

5 Fish and birds 24-26 20-23

6 Animals, people, and food to sustain them 21-24, 27-30 24-31

 

 

Establishing the Earth (Psalm 104:5)

1. How is God described as laying the foundations of the earth? (Psalm 104:5)

Psalm 104 opens with the description of a King (“the Lord”) so great (95:3; Hab. 3:4) that He wears light for a robe (93:1; Isa. 59:17; 1 John 1:5; 1 Tim. 6:16) and has a palace in heaven above the waters (Gen. 1:7). He uses the clouds for His chariot and the winds to move them (18:7-15; 68:4; 77:16-19). His servants (the angels, 148:8; Heb. 1:7) serve as quickly and invisibly as the wind and possess awesome power like flames of fire. This King is so great that creating the heavens was as easy as putting up a curtain (Psalm 19:4; Isa. 40:22).

The picture of God as the divine architect continues in Psalm 104:5. Though He hung the earth on nothing (Job 26:7), it remains firmly fixed as if resting on a foundation that cannot be moved (Job 38:6). The Scriptures teach that at the end of time, when Jesus returns, the old earth will indeed be removed (2 Peter 3:10). What the psalmist is saying is that no human being—no power other than that of the Creator himself—can remove or move the earth from its established position.

The earthquakes that occur throughout the world should caution us against placing too much trust in “things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). The writer of Hebrews contrasts the shakiness of this world with the kingdom of God, which “cannot be moved” (Hebrews 12:26-28; compare Haggai 2:21). It just stands to reason that the one who “laid the foundations of the earth” has the ability to move or remove it whenever He wishes.

What Do You Think?

Does the way you pray match the way you should pray when the world seems out of control? Why, or why not?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

During crises that touch you personally | During crises that don't touch you personally

 

Commanding the Waters (Psalm 104:6-9)

2. What was the earth covered with in the beginning? How is God’s authority over creation seen with the earth’s original covering? (v. 6)

Previously in this psalm, God is portrayed as clothing himself with honor and majesty, covering himself with light (vs. 1, 2). Here He covers the earth “with the deep”—that is, with deep waters—that at one time “stood above the mountains.” This appears to describe the setting of Genesis 1:2: “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” At that point nothing was visible except the waters.

 

3. How did God use His authority over the chaotic waters? (vs. 7-9)

The waters are characterized almost as a rebellious child; they receive a rebuke from the Lord, and in response they flee to their assigned places. Moreover, when His thunderous voice boomed, the: oceans “hasted away” (took flight).

Later in the Genesis account, we find a description of the flood, an incident in which the Lord permitted the earth’s surface waters to inundate the planet (chaps. 6-8). Then, at the appointed time, God caused the waters to recede gradually (8:1-5). The Lord also pledged never again to allow the “waters … [to] become a flood to destroy all flesh” (9:15). As Psalm 104:9 relates, God has “set” a boundary” for the surface waters that cannot be crossed. In turn, this prevents them from ever again covering the world. The Lord not only protects every aspect of His creation, but also watches over, provides for, and sustains it. He tends the planet as if it were a gigantic, complex garden. His desire is for this ecosystem to flourish and thereby bring Him glory. This truth is rooted deeply in the soil of the Genesis 1 creation account.

What Do You Think?

How will you use this passage to remind yourself that God is in control?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

In times of physical uncertainty (natural disasters, health problems, etc.)

In times of relational uncertainty (marriage, etc.)

In times of spiritual uncertainty (satanic attack, etc.) | Other

In addition, the prominence of water in these verses and the emphasis on God's control of them calls to mind the various miracles in the Bible involving water. Included in this list is the parting of the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape the Egyptians (Exodus 14:21, 22; see lesson 12), the parting of the Jordan River to allow the Israelites to enter Canaan (Joshua 3:14-17), the parting of the Jordan by both Elijah and Elisha (2 Kings 2:8, 13, 14), and Jesus' stilling of a storm on the Sea of Galilee (Mark 4:35-39). The "rebuke" in Psalm 104:7 may be compared with Jesus' command of “Peace, be still,” which brought immediate calm to that storm.

 

Sustaining Care (Psalm 104:24-30)

4. How does the variety in creation demonstrate God’s wonderful works? (Psalm 104:24)

While the first part of our printed text highlights God's work in creation, the next portion describes God's faithfulness in sustaining His creation. The psalmist calls attention to this in verses 10-23 (not in today's text), where he gives examples of God's providential care on earth and in the heavens. All of this bears witness that what people often call “the natural world” is in reality “the supernatural world,” for it all exhibits the gracious hand of God.

The psalmist now pauses (v. 24) in the midst of his examples of God's care for His creation to reflect on and extol God's many wonderful works. The Creator is indeed creative! This is abundantly clear from the variety of creatures in the world. The distinctions in size, color, speed, and other characteristics are amazing! Humans in their limited wisdom have studied and categorized these creatures; but at the same time, sadly, people often have failed to give credit to the wisdom that made these creatures in the first place.

That wisdom is God's alone. May we never lose our sense of wonder at our Creator's magnificent craftsmanship. Such variety provides a vast source of riches for us to enjoy—the kind of wealth that has nothing to do with the size of one's bank account!

What Do You Think?

What situations other than Sunday worship prompt you to praise God? Why?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

With family | Among friends | At work | Alone | Other

 

5. What example does the psalmist give to show God’s variety in creation? (v. 25)

The psalmist now focuses on one area of creation where variety is especially evident: the “great and wide sea.” Documentaries that have filmed ocean life have captured some of this for all to see. These programs provide us with a sense of just how impressive are the number and size (both small and great) of the creatures that dwell in the waters. The psalmist acknowledges this, even without the benefit of the technology we possess today.

Whether we study invisible microscopic life, visible plant and animal life, human life, or the myriad of things that have no life, the diversity in creation is amazing. God could have made a drab colorless world, one season everywhere, only one variety of each plant and animal, cookie-cutter humans, no musical sounds, and a few minimal kinds of food—but He did not, and how grateful we are! Only a wise God could have planned so many different things, and only a powerful God could have brought them into being.

What Do You Think?

How do modern discoveries affect your view of God and His creation?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

Regarding living organisms | Regarding forces of nature | Regarding psychology

Regarding secular views of evolution | Other

 

6. What is the “leviathan” mentioned in verse 26?

Certain occupations allow people to appreciate in a special way the magnitude and wonder of God's creative activity. Here the psalmist describes those who travel in ships as having a special window through which to see the splendor of creation. In particular thatleviathan” is cited as a creature that God has “made to play” in the waters (v. 26).

This is likely the same creature mentioned in the Book of Job. Chapter 41 of the latter describes the leviathan as a huge creature that lived near the sea. It was so fierce that no one could capture, subdue, or stand against it. Its hide was impervious to spears and harpoons. Its back was covered with scales in the shape of shields. Its mouth was ringed with fearsome teeth. This leviathan is possibly the same creature ancient mythology called a dragon, a fearsome beast that both awed and humbled those who came in contact with it. The writer of Job and the composer of Psalm 104 both treat the leviathan as real. Yet whereas in Job it is an object of terror, Psalm 104 pictures it as a harmless creature that frolicked in the sea (v. 26). Most likely, it was an actual marine animal created by God, perhaps akin to some type of whale.

 

7. How are all creatures dependent on God for sustenance? (vs. 27-28)

All creatures depend on the Lord. How sad that humans, though made in the image of God, often refuse to acknowledge Him as the giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17). Worse still is our tendency to complain about God's provisions from time to time (compare Numbers 11:6).

Sometimes we feed certain animals by allowing them to eat from our hands. God's power to give in this regard is infinitely greater than ours. Moses warned the Israelites not to forget that the Lord is the source of their blessings and cautioned them not to think that “the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:17).

What Do You Think?

What effort will you make in the week ahead to turn your complaints into praise?

Talking Points for Your Discussion

While stuck in traffic | In seeing high prices while grocery shopping

While working in an unfulfilling job | Other (be specific)

 

8. How is God responsible for the life and death of all that He has created? (vs. 29-30)

The imagery here should stir self-reflection: do we acknowledge our constant, day-by-day need for God? Do we realize just how terrifying our existence would be without his sustaining presence?

In Psalm 104:29, the psalmist described what life was like when the Lord hid His face, or withheld His gracious care. When God allowed severe drought or devastating storms to occur, humans were “troubled.” This means more than being upset. People were overwhelmed by these disastrous events. Eventually, they turned to their Creator and implored Him to bring them relief from their calamity. From this we recognize that both death and life are in the hands of almighty God. The breath of life that the Lord graciously imparts to every person is eventually taken away by Him. When it is removed, people die and “return to their dust.” This is a sobering reminder of how mortal people are and how utterly dependent they are on the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe.

God is not only the master of death, but He is also the one who creates life. The psalmist depicted the Lord as breathing the spirit of life into every creature, which implies that all entities are brought into existence by His supreme act (v. 30). He also sustains life. If it were not for the nurturing hand of the Lord, all living things would wither and die. With each passing season and each successive generation, He renews the “face of the earth.” None of this happens haphazardly or in its own strength, but it is the result of God’s gracious intervention!

 

POINTS TO PONDER

1. God laid the foundation of the earth by His own power. (Psalm 104:5-6)

2. When God speaks, we should respond to His Word, just as creation did. (vs. 7-9)

3. The all wise God created so many living things in the sea that even scientists say we’ve only discovered about 5% of the ocean’s floor surface of living things! (Psalm 104:24-26; http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/exploration.html)

4. All glory be to God, the Creator and Sustainer of all life! (vs. 27-30)

 

CONCLUSION

The Importance of Beginning Well

In the classic movie “Mary Poppins,” a very proper nanny offers her services to the Banks household, where two rather impudent children live. One of the chores the children need to attend to is cleaning their rooms. To encourage the children to get this task done, Mary presents it as a game—a game she calls, “Well Begun Is Half-Done.” Her point is that starting any job properly is the key to completing it well and on time.

The importance of the “well begun” principle can also be applied to the understanding of one's purpose for living. If we have no sense of beginnings or origins or cannot with confidence answer the question, “How did we get here?” then the reason for our existence is shrouded in mystery. So, for that matter, is the issue of our future. If we do not know where we came from, how can we know for sure where we're going? But if we know our beginnings, then we are more than “half done”; we are well on our way to grasping our purpose for living and to knowing what the future holds.

This lesson begins a series of studies entitled “First Things.” We should think of first not just in terms of things that happened first (in a chronological sense), but also in terms of what is of first importance. If God is in control of “first things” (creation), then “middle things” (the present) have purpose, and “last things” (the future) are in His hands as well.

PRAYER

Lord of all creation, we join with the psalmist in voicing our praise to You for Your marvelous handiwork. We know that what You have made continues to declare Your glory in spite of humanity's determined efforts to silence that declaration. Thank You for Your constant and faithful care. In Jesus' name, amen.

 

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER

God is the one who creates and sustains!

 


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