(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
“Praise the Lord, O My Soul!” The Psalmist sets forth a tremendous Psalm of praise for the glory of God and his majesty and power over creation. In verses 6-9 the Psalmist talks about the great flood and then the recession of the waters at His command. In verse 9 the Psalmist tells the reader that after the water receded God set a limit that they cannot cross again; this echoes the Bible account in Genesis 9:11, “11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” He then spends some time talking about how God takes care of the animals and the trees and plants. He glorifies over all of God’s creation including a Leviathan which is also mentioned at least two other times in scripture and is believed to refer to some sort of large see creature that could be a whale or large serpent-like creature (could these be Biblical references to dinosaurs?). The Psalmist continues to praise all of God’s glory and how God breathes life and how He can take life away as well. He asks that his praise be pleasing to the Lord and then in an almost passing manner he adds, “35 But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD.” The Psalmist is saying “you are great, you are glorious, you are all-powerful, I hope this prayer pleases you….oh, and can you destroy the evil ones.” Of course I paraphrase here for affect.
What confuses me here is why someone who has just talked about how great and all-powerful God is would then ask Him to destroy all sinners? He is acting like we do when we pray for someone who is sick, asking God for their healing, and then throw in “if it is your will” as a caveat which is effectively saying that the healing of the person may not be God’s will. When we pray we should pray with boldness and if we have faith in God and what He has the power to do we should pray so without caveat. The Psalmist here is saying that he knows God is great and powerful BUT he assumes that God would want the sinners to vanish. How much of the praise concerning the great flood and God’s promise to never do that again indicates to this Psalmist that destruction of sinners is His ultimate goal? We are all sinners and God’s will would be for everyone to turn to Him as He tells us in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Now, moving beyond the soapbox, what can we derive from this Psalm? How is this applicable to today?
I would comment on how this Psalmist praises God and marvels at His power and creation. When was the last time that you looked out the windows of your car while stuck in mind-numbing rush-hour traffic and marveled at God’s glory? When was the last time you looked at the winds of a coming storm and were amazed at God’s power? When was the last time you looked at your kids while they slept and remarked at how glorious God is to have blessed you with such an amazing miracle? I ask all of these rhetorical questions to simply say that we should take the time to worship and marvel at God’s glory and power every minute of every day for as long as we live on His earth. Let the knowledge of God’s greatness guide you through your blessings and your challenges and praise Him in all things.