I’m sitting on my couch right now in the middle of catching up on a week and a half’s worth of my Bible plan. I just finished reading Psalm 104 out loud to my empty apartment. Usually I read too fast or I just try to push through to say that I finished the chapter. But I stopped this time because verses 14 and 15 are about food and it got me thinking. Maybe it’s because I’m currently watching a really interesting documentary series called Cooked on Netflix. Maybe it’s because I’ve only discovered my own interest in real, healthy, delicious cooking, in creating meals for others. Or maybe it’s just because I really love to eat. But anyway, when I got to this passage I stopped, and started back at verse 1 and read it out loud. It was a good decision.
In Christian circles, we talk a lot about how we should “worship the Creator, not the creation.” And I fully agree. The three-in-one God is the only thing in this universe capable of sustaining, of holding the weight of our worship. He’s the only One who deserves it. But I think the reason I stopped and started over with Psalm 104 was because it reminded me just how much the creation (I mean the simplest, most human things: the natural world, beautiful art, being loved, laughing, and delicious food) can also reflect how much God loves us and wants us to experience Him.
I feel like I understand God’s provision and sweetness a little bit more when I eat fresh pears from the tree in my backyard. I understand His peace and His renewal when I take quiet walks in the woods in spring. I understand His joy and His unconditional love when I play with my dogs who love me even if I accidentally step on their paws. I understand His care for me and His desire for communion with me when I cook fresh bread and use it to nourish and feed the people I love.
I don’t think God would have created anything at all if He didn’t want us to enjoy what He created.
And through these things, He wants us to see the many ways in which they reveal His character. He wants us to come and eat, to come and see, to come and be filled.
The lyrics of “You Are the Beauty” by Gungor say it perfectly:
Love, love, love of mine
You have caused the sun to shine on us
Music fills our ears
Flavors kiss our lips with love divine
You are the beauty
You are the light
You are the love, love of mine
Breath and sex and sight
All things made for good in love divine.
God wants us to meditate on these simple, wonderful, beautiful things–to revel in them, to be present, to honor Him in our holy enjoyment of them. And ultimately, He wants us to see how the glory of creation points back to Him.
Anyway, enough from me. Here’s a short film and Psalm 104. Try watching this film while reading aloud–they pair well together. Like dark chocolate and red wine. Bon appétit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
25 Here is the sea, great and wide,
which teems with creatures innumerable,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it.
27 These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.
28 When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works,
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!