(8) Those who dwell at the ends (of the earth) are in awe of your signs. You cause the sunrise and sunset to shout for joy. (9) You care for the earth and water it. You greatly enrich it. The river of God is full of water. You provide grain, for thus you have ordained it. (10) You saturate its furrows and level its ridges. You soften it with abundant showers and bless its productivity. (11) You crown the year with your bounty. Your paths drip with abundance. (12) The pastures of the wilderness drip (with abundance), and the hills gird themselves with joy. (13) The meadows clothe themselves with flocks. The valleys cover themselves with grain. They shout for joy and sing.
David fills the second half of this psalm with examples of God’s overflowing provision for his creation. In the second verse, we find the expressions “greatly enrich...full of water” (vs. 9). In the next verse, David uses the verb “saturate” along with the expression, “abundant showers” (vs. 10). In the next two verses, we encounter “bounty” once and “drip with abundance” twice (vss. 11 & 12).
If this were not enough to convey the sense of God’s unstinting generosity, the personifications “hills girded with joy...meadows clothed with flocks...valleys covered with grain” impress us with the richness of God’s supply (vss. 12 & 13). The threefold repetition of “joy” (vss. 8, 12, & 13) shows us how we should respond to God’s ample provision.
How God has blessed us:
- by the sun’s daily rising and setting (8)
- by abundantly watering the earth (9 & 10)
- by the earth’s bountiful productivity (11-13)
God’s abundant provision for the fruitfulness of the earth he created should make him the constant object of our praise.
The doctrine of Common Grace portrayed in these verses is not called “common” because it is ordinary but rather because its benefits are distributed to everyone on earth without distinction. Having created the world and everything in it, God now sustains it by his loving care. Although the earth has struggled under the curse of sin since the fall (Gen. 3:17-19), its fruitfulness and productivity are still in evidence worldwide. Every sunrise, every sunset, every rainfall and harvest, display God’s loving oversight and care for his creation.
Jesus spoke of Common Grace when he said: “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt. 5:45). In his address to the Athenians, Paul declared the same truth: “God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:24 & 25).
We who love God should have at least two responses to the doctrine of Common Grace. First, we should be grateful that he generously provides for his creation through the productivity of the earth. Then we should wholeheartedly commit ourselves to protecting and caring for the creation over which he has made his image bearers overseers. We should never cease to be amazed at how beautiful, how productive, how glorious God’s creation truly is, and we should do everything we can to keep it that way.