The hymn of Psalm 104 opens with the familiar refrain, “Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 104:1). The Psalmist calls upon his soul to praise God for His greatness evident in creation. Through each of its movements, he tightens his focus, opening with the vast cosmic mysteries and closing with the prosaic realities of creaturely life. He praises the One who “stretches out the heavens” and wields the elements of the world for His service (Psalm 104:2-4). He rejoices in the One who set the earth on its foundations and instituted boundaries for the waters, “so they might not again cover the earth” (Psalm 104:9-13). The same God “gives food in due season” and gives or takes away breath (Psalm 104:27-29). The One who created the world also  sends forth His Spirit to create and renew (Psalm 104:30). The God who creates in wisdom, according to the Psalmist, provides in abundance for His creation so that “the earth is satisfied with the fruit of [His] work” (Psalm 104:13).

In every feature, the Psalmist sees how God has created all His works in wisdom (Psalm 104:24). “You have made the moon” the Psalmist sings, “to mark the seasons” (Psalm 104:19). “You make springs gush forth in the valleys,” the Psalmist declares, “giving drink to every wild animal” (Psalm 104:11). Creation is neither random nor static, but enlivened by His Spirit and ordered according to His wisdom. The dynamic unity of creation directs the Psalmist to God’s evident yet mysterious activity.

In Mark 4, Jesus uses the mysterious wisdom of God in creation to illustrate the Kingdom of God. “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground,” he begins (Mark 4:26). The one who scatters sleeps and rises each day observing the budding seed’s transformation into a viable crop. The earth produces the plant’s maturation, yet the sower does not know how (Mark 4:27). Only when “the grain is ripe” does the sower participate – by harvesting the work completed apart from his effort (Mark 4:28-29). Even as we sow seeds, this parable reminds us of what the Psalmist saw clearly, God is the ultimate actor and all things will find completion in Him, especially the purposes of His kingdom.

Like the sower in the parable, we rise and sleep each day, observing even the smallest signs of the Kingdom, not knowing how but knowing who brings it forth. In one of his sabbath poems, Wendell Berry reflects on this idea, writing:

And yet no leaf or gain is filled

By work of ours; the field is tilled

And left to grace. That we may reap,

Great work is done while we’re asleep.

Together with the Psalmist, we bless the Lord by observing His faithful hand to all He has created and entrusting Him with all He has made. The Lord of the harvest is the God of Creation who created all things in wisdom and though we do not know how, all things begun by Him, whether harvest or redemption, will come to full completion in Him.