The Works of God

Psalm 10419 [fullscreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 104:19–24 (ESV)

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. 20 You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. 21 The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. 22 When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. 23 Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. 24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The times and seasons are in the hands of God. He rules over the sun and moon. As part of the regular cycle of day and night, God has ordered them. Some of God’s wonderful creation was designed to do its work in the night and rest in the day. Mankind, on the other hand, rests at night and works in the day. God is the Creator and his creation has great variety and remains under his control.

“O Lord, how manifold are your works!” declares the psalmist. The variety and design that we see in creation tells us a great deal  about the One who did the creating. God’s creativity and power are beyond our comprehension! He is great and he is wonderful. Take a look around you and stand amazed at the work of God.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

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Thank You, God

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:14–18 (ESV)

14 You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth 15 and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. 16 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. 18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

Understanding and Applying the Word

God is not only the Creator of all things, but the sustainer also. He gives grass for livestock, plants for mankind, water for the trees, trees for the birds, mountains for the goats, and rocks for the badgers. God is not a God who is distant and far, but a God who is intimately involved in his creation from day to day.

When we understand the truth that God gives us all that we have, we need to respond in thanksgiving. This is why Christians have made a habit of pausing before eating to offer prayers of thanksgiving to God. Meals are a natural time for such prayers because as we prepare to eat, we are reminded of the daily provision of our basic needs. Take the time to thank God for what he does every day for you. Find regular times to do this such as meal times. Let your thanks be known.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

You Make Springs

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but I do include a suggested Scripture reading. Please subscribe to this page or like our Facebook page to make sure you can read along with us every day. We are reading through the Book of Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 104:10–13 (ESV)

10 You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; 11 they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. 13 From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

An All-Powerful Creator

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:5–9 (ESV)

5 He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. 8 The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses speak of God creating the world we live in. Specifically, they reflect on the third day of creation when God separated the water from the dry land. We find in this psalm a reflection on the works of an all-powerful Creator who is fully responsible for the existence and governance of all things. God lays foundations, rebukes the waters, appoints the place for the mountains and valleys, and sets boundaries.

Scripture tells us that the world reveals the power and majesty of God because it is his handiwork (Romans 1:19-20). It is an amazing thing to behold the Rocky Mountains or watch the waves of the ocean beat against the sand. It is also amazing to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon or look up at the stars on a clear night. When we do so, we see the awesome power and goodness of God on display. Mankind may try to run from these clear displays of God, but the harder we try to come up with other explanations, it becomes more and more clear that God is there, he is awesome, and he is good!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Clothed with Splendor and Majesty

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Reading the Word

Psalm 104:1–4 (ESV)

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 2 covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. 3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; 4 he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

Understanding and Applying the Word

This psalm begins much the same as Psalm 103. It begins with the writer calling himself to worship (“Bless the Lord, O my soul!”). He then speaks to God directly and declares the Lord’s splendor and majesty. He is a great God who clothes himself in light and rides the clouds and the wind. His messengers (i.e. angels) are sent out as winds and fire (cf. Hebrews 1:7).

This is an amazing picture of God’s glory. He is far above all things, but he is also a God who is active in his creation. He is both transcendent and immanent. One of our most well-known hymns comes from this psalm: “O Worship the King” by Robert Grant.

O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

O tell of his might and sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

The Lord Has Established His Throne

Kingdom of God

Reading the Word

Psalm 103:19–22 (ESV)

19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word! 21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will! 22 Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Understanding and Applying the Word

As we come to the end of this psalm, all of heaven is called on to join in the worship of the Lord. His throne is in heaven and his dominion is over all places and things.

Can you imagine all of creation, both heaven and earth, joining in worship of God because of his steadfast love and sovereign rule? Can you imagine the whole world joined together in singing and adoration before the throne of God, the Creator? This is what Psalm 103 calls for. He is a great God and worthy of praise from all of his creation. Let our souls rejoice in him and join the heavens and the earth in blessing his name!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

As a Father

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Reading the Word

Psalm 103:13–18 (ESV)

13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. 14 For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

Understanding and Applying the Word

These verses speak of the love of God in comparison to the love of a father for his children. God loves those who fear him. This is a way of saying those who understand who God is as Creator and Judge and, in response, walk in obedience to his word. God knows we are dust. He knows that we are human and have our weaknesses and flaws, but he loves us anyway, just as an earthly father understands the weaknesses of his children, but continues to love them.

God’s love is amazing. It is not something we earn or deserve. He simply loves us despite who we are. It is a wonderful thing that we often take for granted that we are not only loved by God, but are adopted into his family as children. We call him Father and he loves us as his very own. The words to a popular song reflect this truth:

You’re a good good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

– Good Good Father by Chris Tomlin

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

As Far as the East Is from the West

Psalm 10312 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 103:6–12 (ESV)

6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The Lord is merciful and gracious and abounding in steadfast love. This is good news because it means that he does not give us what we deserve, which is his unrelenting wrath. We have all sinned against God through our rebellion and disobedience, but God is a God who forgives our sin and removes it from us “as far as the east is from the west.” It is completely and finally forgiven!

The most amazing thing about God is his love for us. Even though we are sinners, God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to make atonement for our sins. He went to the cross at Calvary to die as a sacrifice. It was through Jesus’ death that our sins were paid for and forgiven. Why did God provide such a sacrifice? Because he is merciful and gracious and abounding in steadfast love. Let us praise him for all he has done!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Bless the Lord

Psalm 1031 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Psalm 103:1–5 (ESV)

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Understanding and Applying the Word

The opening is a call to “bless” the Lord because of all he does. It is the Lord who forgives sin, heals us, redeems us, shows his love for us, and gives so many good things.

It may seem odd that we could “bless” the Lord. God alone can bless, right? The Hebrew word barak stands behind the English translation. It can mean “to praise, bless, or adore”. In the context of this psalm, it seems best to understand it as a call to praise and adore the Lord for all he does for us. Verse 2 is especially important to this psalm as it calls on us to “forget not all his benefits”. We need to remind ourselves of all of the good things God has done and continues to do. As the old song says, we should “count your blessings…and see what God has done.” And let us praise him for those things!

**Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible reading devotional. Please use the links at the bottom to subscribe to this page. You can also share this post with your friends through social media using the buttons below. Thanks for reading!

Your Years Have No End

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Shaped by the Word is a daily Bible-reading devotional. I do not publish devotional content on Sundays, but do include a suggested reading from Scripture. Be sure to subscribe to this page to follow along each day as we read through the Psalms in 2018.

Reading the Word

Psalm 102:23–28 (ESV)

23 He has broken my strength in midcourse; he has shortened my days. 24 “O my God,” I say, “take me not away in the midst of my days— you whose years endure throughout all generations!” 25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, 27 but you are the same, and your years have no end. 28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.