International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday January 22, 2017
For Sunday January 22, 2017
Purpose: To celebrate God’s goodness as Creator and Lord of all
Bible Lesson: Psalm 104:1-4, 24-30
Background scripture: Psalm 104
Key Verse: Lord, you have done so many things! You made them all so wisely! The earth is full of your creations (Psalm 104:24)
Psalm 104:1-4 (CEB)
(1) Let my whole being bless the Lord! Lord my God, how fantastic you are! You are clothed in glory and grandeur! (2) You wear light like a robe; you open the skies like a curtain. (3) You build your lofty house on the waters; you make the clouds your chariot, going around on the wings of the wind. (4) You make the winds your messengers; you make fire and flame your ministers.
Psalm 104: 24-30 (CEB)
(24) Lord, you have done so many things! You made them all so wisely! The earth is full of your creations! (25) And then there’s the sea, wide and deep, with its countless creatures— living things both small and large. (26) There go the ships on it, and Leviathan, which you made, plays in it! (27) All your creations wait for you to give them their food on time. (28) When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled completely full! (29) But when you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to dust. (30) When you let loose your breath, they are created and you make the surface of the ground brand new again.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise. It calls for the worship and adoration of the Lord because of God’s goodness as Creator and Lord of all.
The psalmist begins in verse 1a declaring, “Let my whole being bless the Lord!” In Psalm 96:2, we encounter the language of blessing the Lord. To bless the Lord is to give God praise. When we bless God, we tell others about the Lord. The goal is to increase the number of people who are praising and worshiping the Lord. Traditional English translations typically render this verse, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” Our CEB translation captures the meaning of the Hebrew better by using “whole being” instead of the traditional “soul.”
What does it mean to praise/worship/bless the Lord with our souls? It is to offer God praise with all that we are. Too often we diminish our understanding of the word soul by limiting it to some spiritual part of ourselves. In fact, for the Hebrews, soul means all that we are as living, breathing people, including our bodies. In truth, our bodies, mind and spirit are all housed within our soul as defined by the Hebrews.
By increasing the number of people praising and worshiping God we continue to bless the LORD. In a book I am trying to read and understand “The Improbable Planet” by Hugh Ross (highly recommended) a chart showing the number of Non-Christians to Christians goes from 360 to 1 in AD 100 all the way down to 7 to 1 by 1990. This remarkably shows how the world has changed since that first century after Christ. Regardless of what you may think and what others may be telling you, God continues to redeem.
God planned His work of redemption before He created this unique place called earth. See what Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:9 God is the one who saved and called us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but it was based on his own purpose and grace that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began.
Also in Titus 1:1-2 (1) From Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I’m sent to bring about the faith of God’s chosen people and a knowledge of the truth that agrees with godliness. (2) Their faith and this knowledge are based on the hope of eternal life that God, who doesn’t lie, promised before time began.
The psalmist is inviting each person in this psalm who sings or prays to address God as “my God” rather than “his” God, “her” God, “our” God, “your” God, or “their” God. In Psalm 104, praise and blessing flow from a worshiper’s personal and firsthand experience of the Lord.
Verses 27-30 are very special because they speak of how The God of Creation continues to rebuild and redeem His creation. It is a form of restocking the pond.
When we look at the Psalmist words and understand the magnificence of God’s creation and plan, we cannot help but praise and worship our Great God.
My hymn for this week is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”