Psalm 104: 24-28 (ESV)
“24 O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great. 26 There go the ships, and Leviathan, which you formed to play in it. 27 These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.”
When reflecting on this Psalm you can hear how in awe of God the psalmist is (“how wonderful are your works!”). The psalmist is reflecting on the beauty that God has made and that he was the ultimate creator of all that we see. The psalmist sees the diversity in the ocean that God has made and how majestic it is. I picture a beautiful coral reef full of life and just something to behold.
However the psalmist does not end there, he declares the provision of the Lord, and that all these creatures in the ocean look to God for their sustenance (v27). They wait on the Lord to deliver what they need. You see the blessing of God for the sea life (“when you open up your hand, they are filled with good things (28b)”).
So just take a minute and think about the oceans and try to envision what the psalmist might be looking at and the condition of what he sees. The coral, the multitude of living creatures even the condition of the water.
When speaking about the current environment, one always has to consider can we do better and sometimes when reflecting it can really feel like human bashing. Unfortunately though, we are the reason that the world is in the state it is in.
So here are some statistics of our current environment state:
- About 8 million metric tons are thrown into the ocean annually1. It might not have been literally thrown into it but it definitely ended up there.
- By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight2.
- The likelihood of coral becoming diseased increases from 4% to 89% after coming in contact with marine plastic. It also damages the skin of coral, allowing infection3. Coral reefs are home to more than 25% of marine life4.
So now think of this picture that the psalmist is putting forth to inspire us about the greatness of God and his provision for the oceans creatures. What have we done to that image?
The oceans though are not the only species that are affected by human actions. The land creatures as well are severely affected by what we as humans do. Here are some more facts
- Biodiversity has declined by more than a quarter in the last 35 years5.
- Indeed, of all the plant, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species that have gone extinct since AD 1500, 75% were harmed by overexploitation or agricultural activity or both6.
So the question we need to ask is this. If the animals look to God for their provision and then we take away their habitat and cause them to go extinct are we getting in the way of God’s provision for them? The barriers to their growth is us, human interference is a main contributor to animal endangerment. God will provide for them what they need, however we humans are the force that is taking what they need away from them and substituting it with what they don’t need: plastic, oil, gases, urban cities and agricultural land. So what can we do? Here are some possible ideas.
An action plan for us to consider: Go organise or join a beach clean-up to try and reduce the plastic waste that destroys our oceans. Refuse to use single plastic bags, keep a reusable bag on you. When it comes to the land we need to rethink our city planning strategies in refusing to take more space to rather build up then wider, to protect the habitats of animals. Another action point would be to get involved with a local environment organization.
John Paul Roberts
- 1. Jambeck, J. R., et al. “Plastic Waste Inputs from Land into the Ocean.” Science, vol. 347, no. 6223, 13 Feb. 2015, pp. 768–771., doi:10.1126/science.1260352.
- 2. https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/…/the-new-plastics….
- 3. Lamb, Joleah B., et al. “Plastic Waste Associated with Disease on Coral Reefs.” Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 26 Jan. 2018, science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6374/460.
- 4. https://coral.org/…/coral-reef-eco…/coral-reef-biodiversity/
- 5. http://wwf.panda.org/o…/biodiversity/threatsto_biodiversity/
- 6. Living Planet Report 2018 Aiming higher – Summary to found athttps://s3.amazonaws.com/…/lpr2018_summary_report_spreads.p…