Little did I know when I began reading my Bible that day what God would show me about Himself.
I was reading Psalm 150, and the very first says, “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!” (Psalm 150:1).
Since the word firmament has always been a mystery to me, I checked the center column of my reference Bible for more information and found that another possible translation is expanse. Strong’s Concordance confirms this, and adds that it is the “visible arch of the sky.”
We are to praise the Lord in His mighty expanse.
When I read that an alternate translation for firmament is expanse, I lay my head back, and my face lifted toward heaven, almost involuntarily. I knew I could stop it, but I didn’t want to. I could feel that God wanted to show me something. I thought about the expanse of God, but even then, my mind only went to the arch on my side of Earth and outwards. God pushed my vision further out into the universe and beyond what we know, and I basked in His bigness. I praised Him in His bigness.
No matter where we are on the planet or in the universe or any place in all of creation, we are in the expanse! So, every time we praise, we are praising in the expanse, whether we think about it or not. It is a fabulous place from which to praise!
However, when we praise, I believe we are to praise from a place of awareness of the expanse of God. He is larger than anything we can imagine. Let’s look at that.
The Word says that God reveals Himself through things He created (Romans 1:20), even mentioning that the things revealed are “His eternal power and Godhead.” When I think about the things we can see with our bare eyes, they are many but are very miniscule compared to all God created. Intricate and powerful telescopes allow us to see so much of the universe created by God, but each time a more-powerful and effective telescope is built, it truly serves to tell us is there are even more things to see. If knowing and seeing these things reveal God, expanse is an appropriate word.
And what He “is able to do” is “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). I love that the writer placed no comma or an and between exceedingly and abundantly. It means that exceedingly defines abundantly. God can do more than abundantly, more than exceedingly and abundantly—He can do exceedingly abundantly, way past abundantly. Abundantly is really good, but exceedingly abundantly is huge, expansive!
In fact, like our view of the universe, exceedingly abundantly is more than we can ask or even think. Just like our telescopes are not powerful enough, our minds are not creative or imaginative enough to ask of God anywhere close to all He can do. We cannot ask God anything that is more than God can do for us or for our prodigals, no matter how lost they may seem.
Even in all we know about God, His names, His attributes, and what they mean for prodigals, we haven’t come close to knowing all there is to know about God and what He will and will not do on our behalf and their behalf.
Ephesians 3:20 gives one more phrase that provides an important clue. It says, “according to the power that works in us.” I believe we do sometimes limit how much power God will use in our behalf. Perhaps we limit God with our unbelief. Perhaps we sometimes limit God because we simply haven’t asked or asked for the wrong reasons (James 4:3), but when we ask, and we believe (Mark 11:24), there are no limits, because our God is expansive.
God’s love “passes knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19). When we are limited, God is not. When we are weak, He is strong (Isaiah 40:29; 2 Corinthians 12:9). When we don’t even know what to pray, because there will definitely be times we have no idea, the Holy Spirit will pray (Romans 8:26).
If our God is bigger than we can imagine and is able to do way beyond what we can even dream up to ask—He is and can—we can trust Him. We can truly trust Him to be able to overcome every little thing the enemy can try, because Satan is not all-powerful or all-wise or even everywhere, and neither can he imagine all God can do. When Satan tries anything, we can praise our God in His expanse and can be recentered in a faith that can indeed move mountains (Matthew 17:20) and quench every fiery dart of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16).
God is expansive. He is bigger, larger, higher, more than we can see or imagine. He is in every part of the expanse, and all of Him is in all of the expanse: His love, power, truth, wisdom—all of Him. Let’s praise Him in His mighty expanse!