May 23, 2023: Smiles and Praise

Reading: Psalm 104:24-34

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.



Nobody did Psalm 104. We all knew it was coming by listening to older classmates. To pass our Old Testament final in seminary we would have to write a psalm from memory. Psalm 23 was excluded and, as I said, nobody chose Psalm 104. It is 35 verses long! Over the years it has become one of my favorites and today we have the opportunity to look at it. It is a psalm that praises the creator, in fact, it reads very much like a creation tradition in addition to the two we have in Genesis. It is worth reading in its entirety sometime today.

I’d like to share two translations of verse 26.

Ships plow those waters,
 and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them. (MSG)

 And there are the ships,
 as well as Leviathan,
 the monster you created
 to splash in the sea. (CEV)

That’s just so we can have at least one smile in our day. A harmless monster of some sort which God creates for fun. I’m glad my creator is like that. (Reminds me of a glorious day of whale watching off Cape Cod.)

The reason the psalm is a text for Pentecost is verse 30:

When you send forth your spirit,
          they are created;
 and you renew the face of the ground.

God’s constant creating, recreating and renewal of all existence is a recurring theme in scripture. What might you see, hear, smell, taste, touch today that makes you rejoice, smile and give God thanks for stirring among us renewing life?

–Jim Bricker



We thank you for creation and your Spirit, God.



P.S. Don’t forget to read Psalm 104 before you go to bed tonight! 🙂