Like the middle section of the psalm, the next two stanzas (stanzas five and six) speak of the dependence of creation on God and of God's provision for his creatures' every need. But the special note here is the joy of the creation in God's care.

Stanzas 2-4 of Psalm 104 (vv. 5-23) cover days three and four of creation: day three, the separation of land and water (Gen. 1:9, 10) and the creation of trees and vegetation (Gen. 1:11-13); and day four, the creation of the moon and sun as timekeepers (Gen. 1:14-19). But again, as in stanza one, the emphasis is not on creation itself or even on the sequence of God's creative acts, but on creation as it displays God's glory.

I begin with verses 1-4, the first stanza in the New International Version translation. It parallels the account of creation on the first two days of Genesis 1: the creation of light on day one and the separation of the heavens above from the matter beneath on day two. However, in these verses the psalmist's interest is not so much in the sequence of God's acts as in God himself and the way these first elements of creation reveal his greatness and disclose his "splendor and majesty" (v. 1).

Psalm 104 is a splendid praise psalm, one of the finest in the Psalter. The first part (vv. 1-30) follows the account of creation in Genesis 1 in a general way and shows how the entire cosmos rejoices in its good God. The second, surprising part (vv. 31-35) shows God rejoicing in his creation.

The final question I want to ask of the psalm this week is this: Who should praise God? We might expect the answer to be "those whom God has forgiven, those whom he has rescued from the pit.” Certainly these persons should. But as we come to the last stanza of the psalm (vv. 19-22), we find that the writer is not satisfied with the thought that only the redeemed should praise God. God is so great that nothing but the praise of all creation will do. So he cries out: "Praise the LORD, you his angels" (v. 20), "Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts" (v. 21), "Praise the LORD, all his works” (v. 22), and "Praise the LORD, O my soul" (v. 22).