“A Psalm of David:
The earth and all its fullness is Yahweh’s;
The world and that dwelling in it.”
It is always good, when we come to psalms that contain a superscription, to remember that these superscriptions are part of the original text, and thus are inspired as well as the text itself. When we read these psalms we should never omit reading the superscription, they are “God-Breathed” to use the language of 2 Timothy 3:16, and they provide useful information as to authorship and background of the psalm.
Yet, with that being said, David begins this psalm of praise with an amazing and wonderful proclamation. The earth and all that is in it, every living thing, every rock and every mineral, all of the particles of creation—all things, from the greatest to the smallest belong to the Lord. As the clay vessels, once they are complete, are the property of he who crafted them—all things in creation belong to the one to whom they owe their existence, namely to God himself. There is nothing in creation nor anyone who has ever lived who can truly say that he is his own man or she is her own woman. There is no such thing as a “self-made” person. We are works of God’s hand and we owe our gratitude and praise to him for who he is.
We don’t tend to talk much about this in the church, but let us never forget that every member of creation—every person who has ever lived or will ever live—owes praise to our God and King for who he is and for what he has done even apart from salvation. We usually talk about praise in terms of thanking God for what he has done savingly in our lives, but let us never forget that even those who will die unsaved, in sin and rebellion, owe to God praise for his mighty hand. Just as the clay vessels owe their praise to the potter, men owe their praise to the one who has made them.
God is infinitely wonderful and is infinitely worthy of praise, and for that reason alone, in refusing to praise him, those who are unregenerate heap condemnation upon themselves. Is it not right to praise the master-sculptor for his creations? Is it not right to praise the master-painter for his works? Is it not right to praise the master-carver for the ornamentation on his pieces of furniture? Is it not right to praise the athlete, the singer, the dancer, the seamstress, the chef for their skill? Is it not disgraceful to be so rude as to refuse to honor those whose skill has been practiced to an exceptional level? And has God not demonstrated just how much more infinitely skillful and wonderful his works are than that of any craftsman that mankind has ever produced? Look at the complexity of God’s creation; does his creation not provide infinite examples of God’s excellent handiwork? Oh, the wonders our God has wrought!
But that is not the end of the reasons that even the unregenerate man owes praise to God! Does not the sun shine upon the saved and the unsaved alike? Does not God send rain in its season? Does not God provide good blessings of family, friendships, and relationships to the believer and the unbeliever alike? God is the source of all true blessing and to refuse to thank the one who has given such a remarkable gift is hateful and plainly ignorant. Were someone to give you a remarkable gift, whether in moneys or property, or goods, how disrespectful it would be to accept that gift as something that was rightfully yours without ever thanking the one who has given the gift. Oh, the wickedness of mankind! Oh, the condemnation that the prideful human heart heaps upon itself.
Yet, believer, if the unbeliever has an obligation to praise God for who he is and for his good blessings, how much more is that obligation yours as well! You who have tasted not only the goodness of God in worldly blessings but also who have tasted his goodness in the gift of redemption and eternal life, who have tasted the absolute joy of being redeemed from your sin because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, you who will enjoy God’s goodness forever, being spared from his wrath—how much more ought you offer praise to our God! Oh, beloved, how far short we often fall of this mark. How often we fall into the mindset of the world and begin to think that blessing is our right and that we can stand on our own strength. Believer, repent of these things and find your joy in Christ. Praise him with all your strength and glorify his name in all parts of your life. Rejoice in him who gives meaning to all things, for all things, both great and small, belong to their maker—Yahweh, the Lord of Hosts!
All Creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam,
O praise him, O praise him,
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
-Francis of Assisi