All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
Today’s Thirsty Thursday is a reflection on Psalm 104 by Justin Bessert, a church-planting missionary in Berlin Germany, and a founding member of The Living Well community in Kalamazoo.
Perhaps I’m the exception, but I feel anxious. Whether it’s future plans, present problems, or lack of financial support, I tend toward worrying. Our current circumstances don’t help my feelings, either! But this week’s psalm offers us a path toward peace through focusing on God and his work in creation, particularly God’s provision for every aspect of life–big or small. The writer doesn’t specifically address our worries, but this passage certainly has benefits and implications for our spiritual lives.
Psalm 104 begins, “Lord my God, you are very great” (104:1). How is he great? He “set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved” (104:5). He directs the waters of the earth telling them where to stop and where to flow (104:7-9). But the psalmist goes on to describe how God’s greatness in creation expresses God’s care for creation. “[The Lord] makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate – bringing forth food from the earth…all creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time.” (104:14, 27)
Centuries later, Jesus would also talk about God’s provision. In what we refer to as his Sermon on the Mount, he reminds us about God’s work in creation. Jesus questions his listeners about God’s concern for the birds. Do they worry about their next meal? No, God provides their food (Matthew 6:26). What about the wildflowers? Are they anxious about their clothing? Of course not; they are more beautifully adorned than King Solomon (Matthew 6:28-29).
God cares not only for the plants and animals but also for all of humanity. Toward the end of Psalm 104 the author writes, “I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord” (Psalm 104:33-34). As we recognize God’s great provision and care, our worries will melt into praise.
And so, Jesus exhorts us not to worry. If God makes the wildflowers beautiful and provides food for birds, he will certainly care for us (Matthew 6:26b, 30b). Jesus ends his admonition against worry with a command, “But seek first [your heavenly Father’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
Yes, we will have trouble in this world, but we need not worry, because our God is a good God. He is the end of our worry and the source of our peace. Stay thirsty for him.