Creation in Psalms

Part 1: Creation In The First Book Of Psalms

By David Anderson

Psalm 8: Establishing The Creator’s Praise
Psalms worship and glorify God based upon who He is, therefore they often celebrate the fact that He is the sole Creator of all things. The godly Israelite found help “from the LORD who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1-2 ESV). Some psalms also celebrate the creatorial power that will introduce the glorious rule of Messiah, such as Psalm 72. But Psalm 8 provides the basis for all the creation themes found in the five books of Psalms.

Primarily, it celebrates both the glory of creation and man’s (Adam’s!) position in it. Its theme is global praise, so the opening and closing phrases of the psalm are identical: “Jehovah our Lord, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth!” (vv.1,9 JND). But verse 1 finishes with “who hast set Thy majesty above the heavens.” “Majesty” suggests the visible presence of Jehovah (1 Chr. 29:11; Ps. 45:3, 93:1), which will be displayed in the physical kingdom of our Lord (2 Pet. 1:16-19). Viewed prophetically, Psalm 8 anticipates the climax of this present creation – the universal reign of Christ as the Son of Man. Where Adam failed in administration and stewardship, Christ will succeed when He is set over all the works of God’s hand – not only in this terrestrial creation where Adam failed, but also over the astronomical and heavenly creation (compare with Ephesians 1:10,22). Meanwhile, Psalm 8:3 reminds us to take account of the order God has established throughout His creation so praise of the Creator will issue from our lips, as it is appropriate from saints of every dispensation!

Psalm 19: The Incessant Creation Hymn 
Look up into the skies, especially at night, and what do you see? Verse 1 says that you will see undeniable evidence of the work of the Creator’s hands in the beauty and splendor of the heavens. no one can ever deny the sky’s unfailing witness for it “day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (v.2 ESV). That is true even though “there is no speech, and there are no words, yet their voice is heard” (v.3 JND). The message is universal – there never has been, nor ever will be, a single member of the human race who was not confronted with the everlasting gospel of creation. “Their measuring line* goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world” (v.4 ESV), yet mankind continues in obstinate denial of the Creator (see Romans 1:19-23).

In verses 4-6 the sun is suddenly brought into focus: “In them He has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat.” If the vastness of the galaxies seen in the night skies points to the power and greatness of the Creator, the poetic language of verses 4-6 witnesses to His nature and character. In His goodness He sustains every part of His world through the existence of the sun.

He is its Source and the world’s great, impartial Blesser (compare verse 6 with Matthew 5:45)! Psalm 96:11-13 affirms that on a future day the rejoicing of the heavens and the earth will testify of the LORD as the coming Judge of those people who have not responded to creation’s testimony. Meanwhile, God has left another, fuller witness of Himself alongside creation – His written Word (Ps. 19:7-13).

Psalm 24: Creation – It’s All His! 
The LORD is the king of Glory, who has moral, official and personal rights to claim the kingdom. But more fundamentally, He has creatorial rights to it (vv.1-2). Creation belongs to Him, the Sovereign one. The earth with all its fullness and populations were designed to give satisfaction and bring glory to their Creator. This will actually happen during the millennium when “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Hab. 2:14; Isa. 11:9). God’s ownership of creation is mentioned or implied in other psalms (examples: 2:8, 50:10-11, 60:7-8, 108:8-9, 89:11- 12, 100:3) and in repeated descriptions of the LORD as the Maker of heaven, earth and sea (such as: 95:5, 96:5, 115:15, 124:8, 134:3, 146:6).

Psalm 29: God’s Voice And Creation 
verses 3-9 describe the various physical effects that His voice has on His creation as the reason for all, including the heavenly beings [or, “sons of the mighty one,” v.1 RV], to ascribe glory to Him and to worship Him (vv. 1-2). Verse 3 interprets His voice as thunder, “the God of glory thunders” (ESV), emphasizing the Creator’s power (consider “and God said” in Genesis 1) – as suggested by the repeating of its being “over the waters.” The Creator’s voice is heard seven times in verses 3-9. However, where there is no fear of Him, He has and will preside over His creation in judgment. “The LORD sat as king at the Flood; yea, the LORD sitteth as king for ever” (v.10 RV; see Psalm 18:7-15).

Psalm 33: God’s Word And Creation 
Psalm 33 also celebrates the power of the LORD’s word. Verses 1-5 call the saints (“the righteous,” ESV) to praise Him because His word is “upright” (v.4). It has such moral power that “the earth is full of [His] steadfast love” (v.5). He made the world and has obligated Himself to it. other psalms delight in “the steadfast [creatorial] love of the LORD” towards His creation – especially the compassion of the Savior-God towards the forgotten needy and disadvantaged of mankind (see Psalm 65:5-13, 103:13-17, 111:2-5, 145:9,14-17, 146:6-9, 147:8-9).

Secondly, Psalm 33 calls on “the righteous” to praise the LORD because His word is all-powerful as well as upright. “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host” (v.6). He simply used His word to bring the creation into existence (consider Hebrews 11:3). What He commands is immediately accomplished and what He says stands fast (vv.6-9). The expressions “By the word of His mouth” and “by the breath of His mouth” (v.6) underline and interpret the “God said … and it was so” statements in Genesis 1. The truth Psalm 33:6 states is echoed in Isaiah 40:26: “He … brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not one is missing” (see Psalm 147:4-5).

Verse 7 gives an interesting insight into Genesis 1:9-10. God is so great and powerful that He gathered the waters of the seas together as a heap [literally, “a wineskin” or “bottle”]. The depths of waters were placed in storehouses or treasuries to be there for His own use, such as at the Flood. according to Psalm 33:9, “He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.” But Hebrews 1:3 also says that the Creator (God’s Son) continually upholds the entire creation by the word of His power. This echoes a truth that runs, if in other words, throughout the Psalms in the sense that He is in total control of His creation – even over the greatest of land or sea creatures (consider Psalm 74:14, 89:10). He also controls the environment, climate and weather so His creatures have the resources to sustain them through life on earth (see Psalm 36:6, 104:27-29, 107:23-31,35-38, 135:5-7, 136:4- 9, 145:15-17, 147:15-18).

Because of the omnipotence [all-powerful character] of the word of the LORD, Psalm 33:8 calls everyone to fear Him. This introduces the third motivation for praise in this psalm (vv.10,12). The LORD, whose omnipotent voice brought all into being, properly assesses everything mankind does by His omniscient [all-knowing] eye. He individually constituted every person and therefore understands each one of them through and through (vv.13-15; see Psalm 14:2-3). As a result, they have no power against Him (vv.16-17). His eye, which assesses the hearts of the nations, also watches over those who fear Him and hope in His steadfast love (vv.18-19). So the psalmist implies that His love is equal to His power. Yes, the Creator is also the Sovereign, the Judge, the Savior and the Consummator or Finisher!

Psalm 36: How Excellent Is Thy Lovingkindness! 
Like Psalm 33:5, Psalm 36:5-7 celebrates the steadfast creatorial love of the LORD. In verses 5-6 David uses the grandeur of creation for similes of the moral greatness of God. His mercy (NKJV) is as immeasurable as the skies; His faithfulness is as high as the clouds; His righteousness is as immovable as the mountains; and His judgments are as unfathomable as the depths. Contemplating these make David exclaim, “O LORD, You preserve man and beast” (v.6). This thought of the Creator’s benevolence causes David to burst into praise in verse 7: “How excellent [“precious,” ESV] is Thy lovingkindness, o God!” (KJV). David addresses “God” rather than “LORD” because all peoples, not just the covenant nation, depend on their Creator and should also discover Him to be their Protector. Not only is there loving protection, but also fullness of supply, lasting satisfaction, joy, life and light (vv.7-9). In verse 8 “the river of Your delights [“pleasures,” NKJV]” (ESV) calls to mind the river coming out of Eden (Gen. 2:10-14) and anticipates the millennial river scene of Ezekiel 47 (compare with Psalm 46:4; Joel 3:18; revelation 22:1). The Creator-God continues to provide of His goodness for all of mankind throughout their entire history (see 1 Timothy 4:10). David dwells on the greatness and goodness of God in conscious contrast to the arrogance and inventiveness of the wicked (vv.1-4). At the end He prays for that steadfast love [“lovingkindness” NKJV] to continue to those who know Him and His righteousness to the upright of heart that they do not fall victim to the arrogant rejecters of God (vv.10-12).

* Or “voice” (ESV footnote). JND footnote explains: “[line,] that is, the ‘extent’ of their testimony.”