Praise to the One Who Stretches Out the Heavens

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Let all that I am praise the LORD. O LORD my God, how great you are! You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens.

Psalms 104:1-2

Psalm 104 celebrates God’s greatness by reflecting on the wonders of creation. As we see the glories of this world, even in its fallenness, we glimpse the infinitely greater glory of God and cannot help but lift our voices in praise. “Let all that I am praise the LORD,” writes the psalmist, “O LORD my God, how great you are!” (104:1).

The psalmist uses the natural world as a kind of mirror to see God in his glory. He begins, sensibly enough, with the wonders of the skies. God is “dressed in a robe of light,” shining brighter than the sun (104:2). He “stretch[es] out the starry curtain of the heavens” (104:2). Some translations have God stretching out a tent (ESV, NRSV, NIV). Indeed, the Hebrew word used here (yeri‘a) referred either to a curtain or to a tent, which was made of curtain-like material in ancient Israel. The point is that God created the stars and put them in their place.

One of the things I love about Laity Lodge is the vastness of the sky on a clear night. The retreat center lies far out in the Texas Hill Country, many miles away from ambient light from towns and cities. Rarely do we experience haze or fog. Thus the sky at Laity Lodge can be as clear as what I’ve seen in the High Sierra of California or on a secluded lake in the wilderness of Montana. Sometimes I gaze up at the brilliant specks of light and the gauzy whiteness of the Milky Way and try to imagine the size of what I’m seeing. My brain can say the words “light years,” but I really can’t comprehend what that means. Then I think of the fact that God created all of this, so immeasurably vast and glorious. For moments I sense in a new way God’s own grandeur and glory. With the psalmist, I exclaim, “O LORD my God, how great you are!”

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When have you been struck by the greatness of God? What places in the world help you to glimpse the glory of the Creator?

PRAYER: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.


Excerpts from “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” by Joachim Neander (1680), English translation by Catherine Winkworth (1863). Public domain.


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Image above by Abishesh Joshi. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.