Beginnings: The Great Expanse

You’re lying on the grass in a park on a summer’s day. You’re looking up at the sky, making shapes out of the clouds, taking in the beauty and warmth. Then you begin to wonder – what is up there? How is this earth held together? How do clouds float?

“Then God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters, separating water from water.”  So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above the expanse. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” Evening came and then morning: the second day.” – Genesis 1:6-8

I am captivated by this passage. What does He mean by expanse?

“The Hb word for expanse is from a root meaning “to spread out, stamp, beat firmly,” which suggests something like a dome” (Holman Christian Standard Bible Commentary)

Strong’s Exhausted Concordance states, “From raqa’; properly, an expanse, i.e. The firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky — firmament.”

Do you understand how the clouds float,
those wonderful works of Him who has perfect knowledge?
 You whose clothes get hot
when the south wind brings calm to the land,
can you help God spread out the skies
as hard as a cast metal mirror?” – Job 37:16-18

I picture God, our Craftsman, molding the waters and working them with a hammer to craft and form our circular earth. He made our ozone and sky. His beautiful handiwork is what helps to protect us from the sun. It provides us with oxygen. It defines our earth. I’m sure it does so many more phenomenal things as well. 

God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;
its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.” – Isaiah 40:22

He thought about every single minute detail in every single part of creation. Scientists are still trying to figure out the full details of the ozone layer and the shield that surrounds the earth.

“For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat…” – Isaiah 55:10

…As you continue to lie on the grass and watch the clouds, you can’t help but marvel at their purpose and that they don’t fall. 

According to the U.S. Geographical Survey, a cloud can weigh 1.1 million pounds! Yet the air under them weighs heavier than the clouds themselves, keeping them up in the sky. All of that rests above us, yet it doesn’t crush us. In fact, they help us. 

God intricately created these amazing white puffs in the sky. They accumulate moisture from the waters below. They hold it in the sky, and then return it to the ground by rain or snow to “saturate the earth and [make] it germinate and sprout” (Isaiah 55:10). They can move quickly. They produce thunder and lightning. 

God does care about every single detail of creation, including you. He perfectly planned every aspect of who you are. He delights in His workmanship. May you worship Him today in the details He’s invested into your life, as much as He has the world above you.

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