God Gives the Creatures Life with His Breath

A mountain goat enjoys the scenery between Hidden Lake and Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana

A mountain goat enjoys the scenery between Hidden Lake and Reynolds Mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana

How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.  There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number – living things both large and small.  There the ships go to and fro, and the Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there… When you send your Spirit they are created, and you renew the face of the ground… the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. (Psalm 104:24-26, 30, 13 NIV)

Sea life at Cape Perpetua, Oregon

Sea life at Cape Perpetua, Oregon

The word pictures in Psalm 104 are food for the imagination.  (Really, the entire psalm is fascinating, but I’ve only included a small portion of it here.)  It is a psalm of thanks; a psalm of praise; a psalm of a person sitting between the mountains and the sea and writing of the wonders he sees.

Bee in a thistle along the trail to Pyramid Peak in the Flat Tops of Colorado

Bee in a thistle along the trail to Pyramid Peak in the Flat Tops of Colorado

The psalmist writes of the wonders of God’s hand, of God’s intricate care of all the creatures on the earth.  Between descriptions of God’s faithfulness, he uses words to paint the picture he sees: the rivers from the mountains, the fields of grass, the creatures of all shapes and kinds that walk and crawl and swim across the earth.

A bison grazes near Sage Creek in Badlands National Park, South Dakota

A bison grazes near Sage Creek in Badlands National Park, South Dakota

He even describes God’s faithfulness in the creation of the creatures – “you formed [the Leviathan] to frolic there (in the sea)”.  Each creature is perfectly suited to live and play and survive in the places God made for them.

Raven atop North Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

Raven atop North Dome, Yosemite National Park, California

But it is interesting that they are created – birthed, really, from the context – by the Spirit of God.  We tend to think of God’s Spirit in a New Testament context; the comforter, the helper, sent by Jesus after He ascended back into heaven (see Acts 1-2).

Baby bird along the path to Twisp Pass, Washington

Baby bird along the path to Twisp Pass, Washington

Some versions of the Bible would translate “Spirit” as “Breath”.  So they would say that every creature is bought into being by the Breath of God.  And that Breath “renews the face of the ground” (Psalm 104:30).

3 thoughts on “God Gives the Creatures Life with His Breath

  1. Toby Kilgore

    So true. During the last month+ we’ve been on a camping tour of the western national parks. So far, Rocky Mountain, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Mt Ranier, Olympic. Today leaving Seattle for North Cascades. All a reminder of God’s creativity and grandeur, and how being in the midst of His creation helps bring back to the fore the question of – and need for – my relationship with Him.

    Would love to get your thoughts on possible itinerary for the week+ following North Cascades. Need to be in San Fran by the 7th or 8th. Thinking Columbia River gorge, several Oregon state parks along the coast, Crater Lake NP, Redwood NP.

    Thanks!

  2. Anne Post author

    Hi Toby! North Cascades is one of my favorite parks in the US – especially Sahale Arm, Hidden Lake Lookout, and the more crowded Maple Pass. Heading south… Not sure the current conditions in the Columbia River Gorge, which just this past month experienced a devastating wildfire. So if that doesn’t work out, you could catch a few trails on Mt. Hood instead. Somewhat practically (pretty packed schedule):

    1 day – drive from North Cascades to Columbia River Gorge or Mt. Hood.
    1-2 days – Columbia River Gorge or Mt. Hood. If you do Mt. Hood, my all-time favorites are Cooper Spur and Gnarl Ridge; shorter terrific hikes are Owl Point and Lookout Mountain.
    1 day – drive down to Newport and enjoy the Devil’s Punchbowl and Yaquina Head Lighthouse (& surrounding area if you have time)
    1 day – Cape Perpetua (don’t forget to drive up the headland!) Extra time? Head for Crater Lake.
    1-2 days – Crater Lake
    1 day – drive down to Redwood. Don’t miss the Lady Bird Johnson Grove; the Coastal Drive (High Bluff Overlook / WWII Radar Station) is also fun.

    At this point, you can just drive US-101 and CA-1 down the coast. It’s beautiful. I highly recommend spending a day hiking Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument (the most beautiful place on the California coast I’ve ever seen); other ideas might be an hour or two at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg, overlooks along the Sanoma Coast, or a half-day+ at Point Reyes (often foggy; make sure the lighthouse will be open if you want to go – it’s quite the drive out there).

    Now I know this is more than 7 days, and packed at that… so pick and choose, adjust to your needs, and have a great time!

    ~Anne