Psalms For Life
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Yahveh Elohim hear our prayers

Psalm 104

God of all creation

Far from being sequestered in some remote corner of the galaxy, God is more involved in his world than we are. So, worshipping him means cherishing and caring for creation just as he does.

Worship YHWH, my soul within me.
How awesome you are
YHWH my God
robed in honor and majesty!
2 You’re robed in incandescent light
you who stretched out the heavens
like a tent overhead.
3 He set the beams of his exalted home
on the primordial sky-sea
and made storm clouds his chariots
riding on the wings of the wind.
4 He appointed the winds as his messengers
lightning bolts his ambassadors.

5 He set the earth on such a firm foundation
that nothing can ever shake it.
6 You draped ocean over it like a robe
covering its mountains with water.
7 Then at your rebuke the waters fled
at the crash of your thunder the waters retreated
8 with mountains rising and valleys sinking
to the level you’d assigned for them.
9 You set a boundary the waters couldn’t cross
so they’d never cover the earth again.
10 You release springs that gush into streams
flowing out between the mountains
11 enabling wildlife to drink their fill
wild donkeys to quench their thirst.
12 Birds happily nest in the nearby trees
filling their branches with song.
13 From his heavenly home
he waters the mountains
making the earth abound
with the fruit he produces.

14 You make grass grow for livestock to eat
and plants for farmers to cultivate
producing their food from the earth:
15 wine bringing joy to people’s hearts
olive oil making their faces glow
bread giving them strength each day.
16 YHWH’s trees are well watered
the cedars he planted in Lebanon.
17 Birds make their nests there
storks in the tops of the fir trees.
18 The mountain heights are home to wild goats
and coneys shelter there among the crags.
19 He made the moon that marks the seasons
the sun that knows when to end each day.
20 When you make it dark, night falls
letting all the animals in the wild prowl about.
21 When powerful lions roar for their prey
they’re seeking their food from God.
22 Then as the sun rises
they head back to their dens
to sleep the day away
23 just as people head out
to the work that occupies them until dark.

24 What diversity
you’ve imbued the created order with, YHWH!
What wisdom and ingenuity
is behind all the creatures
you’ve filled the earth with!
25 There’s the ocean
deep and wide
teeming with all sorts of lifeforms
great and small.
26 Ships ply its waters too
while the Leviathan deep dives there
the sea monster you created to frolic with.
27 All the creatures you’ve made look to you
to give them their food when it’s time.
28 They take whatever you give them:
you open your hand
and they eat their fill of nourishing food.
29 But they panic when you turn away
and when you withhold their breath
they perish and return to dust.
30 Then breathing your breath anew
you create new life
renewing everything on earth all over again.

31 May YHWH’s glory endure forever
and YHWH delight in all he’s made!
32 He just glances at the earth
and it trembles.
His hand grazes the mountains
and they smoke.
33 I’ll sing to YHWH my whole life long
sing praise to my God till my dying breath.
34 May all my thoughts please YHWH
as I delight in him.
35 May those who rebel against God
be thoroughly displaced
till there’s no more wicked people
living carelessly anywhere on earth.
Worship YHWH, my soul within me.

Like Psalm 103, this psalm starts and ends with the psalmist’s self-summons to worship the incomparable YHWH. With her overarching message that everything God has made is good, she celebrates his active participation in creation.* In poetic, not scientific, language, she shows God harnessing the elements he’s made—floodwaters, clouds, wind, lightning, all forces the Canaanites claimed were at Baal’s command. YHWH does everything for good in a creation he’s filled with beauty and birdsong.

While the Israelites’ neighbors worshipped the sun and moon, the psalmist says YHWH appointed them just to mark days and seasons. God opens springs, plants sturdy cedars, and gives animals their food. He gives humankind wine’s enjoyment, olive oil’s healthful glow, and bread’s nourishment. God waters his trees, providing homes for birds. He feeds and rules over wildlife and humans alike, as each seeks their provision within the ecosystems he established. And far from being treacherous, the vast open sea is God’s backyard pool, and fearsome Leviathan his water toy! Everything points to God’s wisdom and delight in his creation.

Though it’s never to be worshipped, creation is God’s handiwork, given to us in sacred trust. So the psalmist wants to live wholly for her incomparable God, as if creation belongs to him personally—which it does. And she prays for the day when God renews the earth, making it a place where everyone exercises the same kind of care for his creation as he does.


I marvel at your creation’s brilliance, Jesus, and rejoice in its rich bounty. Help me to do my part to steward it wisely, knowing you’ve given it to us in trust. I worship you as I await the day when you renew the cosmos and your will is finally done perfectly here on earth. Amen.

In your free moments today, pray these words:

Worship YHWH, my soul within me.
How awesome you are, YHWH my God
robed in honor and majesty!


*I imagine the psalmist here as a woman of faith, like Miriam, Deborah, Hanna, or the Virgin Mary. (See further: Who wrote the psalms?)


Every translator of the Psalms must decide how to handle God’s personal name, YHWH or YHVH, which occurs repeatedly in its Hebrew text. Translators of the King James Version usually translated it “LORD” (all caps) and sometimes transliterated it (badly) as “Jehovah.” Likewise, all modern translations either translate or transliterate it. Some other options for translating it are “the Eternal,” “the Almighty,” or “the Sovereign Lord.”

While translating it aims to make it more accessible to readers, transliterating it seems to me more faithful to the text since it’s not a word at all, but rather God’s uniquely personal name. This roots it more firmly in the biblical story as the name God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. Meaning “the self-existent One who answers to no one,” the name YHWH set Israel’s God apart from all the gods of Israel’s neighbors.

Personal names are, well, very personal. Even the sound of a name can evoke strong emotion. I’ve chosen to transliterate only YHWH’s consonants since the earliest Hebrew manuscripts contain only consonants, the vowels being added much later. My aim in doing so is to honor God’s name and set it apart, as unique.

One problem with YHWH is that we aren’t sure how it was pronounced since Jews long ago stopped saying it out of reverence. (They read Adonai instead whenever they come to YHWH in the text.) I take the advice of my esteemed Hebrew professor, Raymond Dillard, who advocated pronouncing it as Yahveh (Yah·vay). He favored that over the standard Yahweh since the modern Hebrew pronunciation of its third consonant makes the name sound more robustly Jewish. It also makes it sound more robust, period.

Finding strength in the ancient psalms

May these psalms be a light to you in dark times. You can read more of Mark Anderson's writings on Christianity, culture, and inter-faith dialogue at Understanding Christianity Today.