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God's Provision in Creation - Harvest Thoughts on Psalm 104

This harvest time Psalm 104 is well worth reading. Or maybe we know the hymn: All creatures of our God and King,

Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

All Creatures of our God and King

All creatures worship God most high,

lift up your voice in earth and sky,

alleluia, alleluia!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,

thou silver moon with softer gleam,

O sing ye, O sing ye, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

One day, maybe as long as 3000 years ago, perhaps with King David harpist and poet - music strikes up. They had maybe just heard Genesis 1 read in the Tabernacle at Harvest, or maybe David (let’s assume David) had been meditating on it. 

Beautiful Poetry

How can I speak about Genesis 1 he said. I know, I will sing it. And our psalmist came up with this exquisite poem and theology taking us through Genesis 1.

Thou rushing wind that art so strong, 

ye clouds that sail in heav’n along,

alleluia, alleluia!

Thou rising morn in praise rejoice, 

ye lights of evening, find a voice,

O sing ye, O sing ye, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

David is saying: I have read about the creation from the outside: from God’s side: "In the beginning God…" But what does it feel like on the inside? God is like:

- a physicist watching a sunrise 

- a botanist stepping back in wonder from the microscope as she sees the beauty and delicacy and order of what her microscope reveals 

- Albert Einstein sustained by the music of Mozart while toiling on his maths.

David’s heart bursts in joy

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
    O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,

What declares the majesty of God?

As we open you eyes to the skies, open our ears to the birds,  touch what is around us; smell Autumn in the air, look at God’s walking-talking creation sitting by our side or in front of us.

These are the glory and the majesty of God.

Where is the throne of God?

Psalmists would have said Jerusalem. God’s Holy Hill, the dwelling place of the Lord. From Jerusalem God rules the world The Psalmists also suggest that worshippers are extensions of this sacred space. Creation, worshippers, the dwelling place of God, the place from where God rules and reigns. 

The New Testament is explicit: Christ is the one in whom God dwells and rules the world; and by the Spirit, Christ dwells in…  us, the Temple of the Living God, as we follow Jesus and in the meeting of Christians in community.

And we see the glory of God: in creation (Ps 104:1-6)

Bless the Lord, O my soul.
    O Lord my God, you are very great.
You are clothed with honour and majesty,

    wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,

    you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your[b] chariot,
    you ride on the wings of the wind,

you make the winds your messengers,
    fire and flame your[d] ministers.

You set the earth on its foundations,
    so that it shall never be shaken.

You cover it with the deep as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.

God Provides

As David continues to sing, his mind goes from the story of creation to that of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. He thinks of the dry desert though which God lewd them: of God’s provision - manna miraculously provided; water from the rock.

David thinks perhaps of the dry desert culture he knows as a shepherd, always on the hunt for green grass and still water for his sheep. 

Manna from Heaven

He remembers the stories of his forebears in the wilderness: God providing bread, manna, for their needs day by day. He thinks of his needs, the needs of his nation. In the midst of his need he is reminded of the provision of God.  

This is a root of our prayer "Give us this day our daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer. There is a daily harvest of God's provision.

Creation provides every thing we need. I can trust you even in the dry hot summers:

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

    they flow between the hills,

giving drink to every wild animal;
    the wild asses quench their thirst.

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;
    they sing among the branches.

From your lofty abode you water the mountains;
    the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

All Creatures of our God and King puts it like this:

Thou flowing water, pure and clear, 

make music for thy God to hear,

alleluia, alleluia!

Thou fire so masterful and bright, 

that givest all both warmth and light,

O sing ye, O sing ye, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

A young family had a four-year-old son. Mum said she was about to make a crucial decision. She had to get her son into the right pre-school group because if she didn’t, then he wouldn’t get into the school she wanted for him. And that would affect his education after that. Which could mean he connected to powerful people and he might not get the kind of job where he would make a lot of money.

Maybe if they had sung this song of David, they would not have grasped, but trust in the God who provides to overflowing: giving all who need manna in the wilderness.

The Daily Harvest of God's Daily Provision

This Ha`rvest let us sing and rejoice in God’s Daily Provision

We can remember God’s goodness to us. In our homes and in our Communion Services, we eat bread, speaking of that manna in the wilderness. When we drink wine in church, the wine of rejoicing: even then we are giving thanks for the blood of Christ shed on the cross.

There are more foodbanks than McDonald’s in the UK. Roughly 1 in 10 in Harlow depend on it..But next time we see or visit a Foodbank, it is not simply a judgement on the failure of our capitalist system. It is not simply saying to capitalism and the modern world (East and West), “Must Do Better”? UK?

Or is it saying?…

“This is what the kingdom of God is” 

Foodbank in Harlow began with the vision of Gary and Teresa Knott, as Christians. It is rooted in prayer,

This is what it was like in the wilderness. This is what eternity will be like, And this is what all of life will be like if we trust “:Our Father in heaven” who has given us all of creation. There is manna for all. God in creation has given us all we need.

There is no shortage in the kingdom of heaven

There is no shortage of gas, of food, of money. There is no shortage in the kingdom of heaven. We need not plunder creation or build societies where there is massive inequality and the poor are ignored. 

But let us see creation as the glory and throne of God. Once we respect it with humility: we will find it provides all we need, for all, for now and eternity.

Let us celebrate the Harvest of God's Goodness.

Love, Martin



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