Yahweh Be Praised!
(27) These all wait for you to give them their food at the right time. (28) When you give (it) to them, they gather it up. When you open your hand, they are satisfied with good (things). (29) When you hide your face, they are terrified. When you remove their breath, they die and return to dust. (30) When you send forth your spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. (31) May the glory of Yahweh endure forever! May Yahweh rejoice in his works! (32) He looks upon the earth, and it trembles. He touches the mountains, and they smoke. (33) I will sing to Yahweh all my life. I will make music to God as long as I live. (34) Let my meditation be pleasing to him as I rejoice in Yahweh! (35) Let sinners be consumed from the earth and let the wicked (be) no more! Bless Yahweh, O my soul! Praise the Lord (Hallelujah)!
One word besides “Yahweh” which appears five times in four verses (vss. 31, 33, 34, & 35) is repeated in this final segment of the psalm: “give” used twice in quick succession (vss. 27 & 28). Five pairs of parallel phrases are found, all in the form of a verb in the second person singular followed by a verb or verbs in the third person plural and translated, “When you (verb), they (verb/s)” (vss. 28-30). The psalmist uses eight imperatival verb forms, four jussives, two cohortatives, and two imperatives, in five consecutive verses (vss. 31-35). In this way, he calls for the entire universe to praise Yahweh, climaxing with the praise of his own heart.
I. All living things depend on Yahweh for their existence. (27-30)
II. May Yahweh be praised...
- throughout the entire creation! (31 & 32)
- especially in my heart! (33-35)
Yahweh’s gracious sovereignty over all that he has created is worthy of universal praise, especially the praise of the redeemed.
Which Christian hymn contains the greatest number of stanzas? While we may never know for sure, one candidate should certainly be the German hymn, Beim frühen Morgenlicht, penned by an anonymous author in the middle of the 18th Century and published in the Katholisches Gesangbuch. Translated into English one hundred years later by Edward Caswall, When Morning Gilds the Sky has for many congregations become a much beloved part of worship. The call to universal and personal praise found at the end of Psalm 104 is reflected in this lovely praise hymn. Among its fifteen verses, the five below are normally found in our hymnals. As we read these words, let them draw our hearts in worship to our great God.
When morning gilds the skies, my heart awaking cries, “May Jesus Christ be praised!” / Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair. May Jesus Christ be praised!
Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find. May Jesus Christ be praised! / Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this, May Jesus Christ be praised!
In heav’n’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this, “May Jesus Christ be praised!” / Let earth, and sea and sky from depth to height reply, “May Jesus Christ be praised!”
Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine, May Jesus Christ be praised! / Sing this eternal song through all the ages long, “May Jesus Christ be praised!”
The night becomes as day when from the heart we say, “May Jesus Christ be praised!” / The pow’rs of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear, “May Jesus Christ be praised!”