Abe Peters

The Enchanted Lens

He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
    The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
Psalm 104:13

Suppose a child of 3 or 4 staring out his window to a rainstorm asked you, “Where does rain come from?” What would you answer? How you answer that question tells me about your worldview. There are many ways to answer this question. Even many truthful ways. However, we must ask; how can I glorify God most by my answer? To answer this question of a question, we turn to Psalm 104.

Psalm 104 gives us a lens with which we look at the world. Psalm 104, being Holy Scripture, must shape how we look at the world.

The Eyes of Psalm 104

This Psalmist combs through the world with eyes lit up with wonder. To him the world makes sense. There is a reason for the world. Order abounds. This world has order for one reason.

The bountiful world is under the care of Yahweh himself. He is the master attendant to the world’s growth and sustenance. Yahweh stretches out the heavens (v2). He laid the foundations of the earth (v5). He rebukes, and waters flee, (v6). He sends the springs into the valleys (v10). He waters the hills (v13). He causes the grass to grow (v14). He appoints the moon for seasons (v19). He makes darkness (v20).

Yahweh is not a God far away from his earth or people, he’s the keeper. Every morning he’s at work like a zookeeper giving each exhibit its food. There he is handing out food for the lion, armadillo, bee, stork, and beluga whale. He keeps the sun moving along. Everything waits for Yahweh to provide, even the Leviathan (v27). What a world to live in. What a way to look at the world.

Look at the World Biblically

This is how we ought to look at the world. Full of wonder. Full of God’s providence plainly seen. Like a master gardener watering, trimming, singing, and healing with perfect time. Nothing is out of his sight.

There’s a chance you would’ve answered the child by waxing on about the evaporation cycle. Or the dance of high and low-pressure systems that bring weather across the earth. There’s the temptation to speak of the goings-on of life on earth like a clock ticking away without an outside source. The Naturalist Mindset is just that. The world is a machine. The universe is just a bigger machine that was set in motion. In the far distant past, the clock was jolted alive by an unknown amount of energy in the Big Bang and it’s been running ever since. But even clocks need to be wound up.

This mindset that removes Yahweh from his place and keeper of the earth is everywhere. Yahweh’s people have forgotten Yahweh. This happens because we’ve taken our cues from our godless neighbors who want nothing to do with God, all while enjoying his care. Yahweh and his categories of right and wrong are removed from public discourse. And there has been fruit from this labor.

Ideas Have Consequences

The Psalmist’s lens and the Naturalist lens are two incompatible ways of looking at the world. Yes, the Psalmist lens allows us to see how the evaporation cycle runs, but it is very different from saying the evaporation cycle is all there is.

We do not have to look far to find the consequence of naturalism. Naturalism look at the world as Richard Dawkins put it, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.” Or as Stephen Hawking wrote, “the human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can’t believe the whole universe exists for our benefit.” Meaning is not possible with this lens. Right and Wrong are but preferences without God. Morality is nowhere to be seen. Death, destruction, and dread follow this sort of lens.

The enchanted lens of the Psalms brightens our eyes to the world around us. Everything has meaning. God gave all things a purpose. The sun grows the grass. The grass feeds the cattle. And cattle feed man. How could the Psalmist not open and close his words with praising God’s majesty and glory (vv1, 35)! The consequence of this lens is praise to Yahweh, the keeper of the earth. Man’s meditations are sweet because of Yahwah (v34). Man sings out his years because of Yahweh’s care (v33).

So, when a 3 or 4-year-old ask where the rains come from, give Yahweh his due. No baker appreciates it when only the flour, oil, eggs, sugar, and cream are mentioned when a child asks who made his birthday cake. A baker bakes the cake. The Rainmaker sends the rain. Bless Yahweh, O my soul!