By David Faust
Positioned in the center of the Bible, the Psalms remind us that worshipping God should be central to life. They use picturesque language to stretch our imagination and expand our appreciation for God’s glory. It’s no surprise that for centuries God’s people have used the Psalms’ collection of praise-poems for group singing and individual contemplation.
It’s surprising, though, when the Psalms speak about inanimate objects praising God, as in Psalm 98:7-9: “Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord” (Psalm 98:7-9).
What can we learn from these poetic descriptions of seas resounding, rivers applauding, and mountains singing? We don’t worship nature; we worship the One who created it (Genesis 1:1). But nature isn’t a coincidence—a product of blind chance. God designed it for a reason. Even in a world tarnished by sin, creation performs like a giant choir composed not of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses, but of natural wonders that join their voices in harmonious praise, inspiring us to honor the Creator.
Thundering Oceans. “The seas have lifted up, Lord, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the Lord on high is mighty” (Psalm 93:3, 4). The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Mediterranean, and Baltic, with their majestic waves, sandy beaches, and extensive marine life, move us to praise the Lord whose love is deeper than the deepest sea.
Mountain Grandeur. “In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him” (95:4). The Andes, Himalayas, and the Rockies should motivate us to praise the Lord whose wisdom reaches higher than the tallest peak.
Well-Fed Flocks. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care” (95:6, 7). Domesticated livestock (like
sheep and cattle) and wild animals of all kinds should inspire us to praise the Lord who cares for us like a Good Shepherd.
Joyful Fields. “Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them” (96:12). Vast prairies covered with grass, wheat fields ripe with grain, fertile ground ready to receive seeds of corn and soybeans, should move us to praise the Lord, the source of life who makes things grow.
Singing Trees. “Let all the trees of the forest sing for joy” (96:12). Like hands uplifted in praise, the branches of palms and pines, spruces and sycamores, aspens and redwoods point to a God infinitely stronger than the mightiest oak.
Power-Packed Skies. “His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles. . . . The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory” (97:4-6).
How should we respond to creation’s choir? Praise the Director who conducts its performance! “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; . . . Let all creation rejoice before the Lord” (96:11, 13).
David Faust is president of Cincinnati Christian University, Cincinnati, Ohio, and past Executive Editor of the Lookout.
Use this guide to read through the Bible in 12 months. Follow David Faust’s comments on the highlighted text in every issue of THE LOOKOUT.
1 Corinthians 15:29–58
Ruth 2, 3
1 Corinthians 16
2 Corinthians 1:1–11
1 Samuel 1, 2
2 Corinthians 1:12–24
1 Samuel 3—5
2 Corinthians 2
1 Samuel 6—8
2 Corinthians 3
1 Samuel 9, 10