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God’s Word for You

Psalm 104:19-23 the sun knows when to go down

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, May 30, 2018

19 The moon marks off the seasons,
  and the sun knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
  and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey
  and seek their food from God.
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
  they return and lie down in their dens.
23 Then man goes out to his work,
  to his labor until evening.

As the Psalm moves into the Fourth Day of creation, we are reminded of the Hebrew calendar, which was a lunar calendar. Festivals, seasons and years were marked by the phases of the moon. New months were celebrated when the first sliver of a crescent moon was visible. The phrase “the sun knows when to go down” also reminds us of the Hebrew way of marking the days: “There was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day” (Genesis 1:19).

As the evening fell, wild animals including lions would venture out and people would seek shelter for the night. But the psalm writer knows that even the fierce lions are only after what God gives them. Although it is not necessarily sinful to tame and keep animals (see James 3:7), when we do we need to remember that we are taking on their complete welfare. We become responsible for them, and we need to take that responsibility seriously (see Exodus 21:28-22:15).

The cycle of evening and morning marked by the lights and bodies in the heavens is the cycle that God’s people understood and lived in. It was their daily routine. They understood the concept of “evening and morning” as meaning the pattern of a regular day. The days mentioned in the creation account are these same, regular, 24-hour days. This is the time God has given to us in which to work and to serve him.

Praise God, who made heaven and earth for us to enjoy, subdue, and care for.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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