He makes [plants] grow . . . bringing forth food from the earth: . . . bread that sustains [people’s] hearts.
Near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the teachers at my school made a loaf of bread and brought it to our home on a Friday evening. Because of the lockdown, we hadn’t seen many familiar people face-to-face, and her gesture remains one of the most memorable moments of that uncertain time. The loaf of bread was delicious, but it was the act of friendship that sustained us.
Psalm 104 describes a joyful celebration of God, our generous Creator. Things that are vast and incomprehensible and even things that are ordinary are included in this song of wonder: everything good comes from God’s goodness, and all of it points to God’s glory.
Near the center of the psalm is a picture of humans flourishing and radiant in the midst of a lively, colorful creation. People flourish because God causes them to flourish. Their faces shine because God provides oil for them, and their hearts are strengthened because God provides them with bread.
The phrase “bread that sustains their hearts” points not mainly to physical strength but to the inner strength we experience when we are well cared for. Our bodies may be weak and vulnerable, but our spirits within us can be resilient and strong. The confidence here is that God’s character is dependable because God gives bread—the bread of life.
O good and generous Creator, strengthen us in our inner being through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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