1 O worship the King all-glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
2 O tell of his might and sing of his grace,
whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
and dark is his path on the wings of the storm.
3 Your bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
4 Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
in you do we trust, nor find you to fail.
Your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end,
our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!
5 O measureless Might, unchangeable Love,
whom angels delight to worship above!
Your ransomed creation, with glory ablaze,
in true adoration shall sing to your praise!
Rather than being a paraphrase or versification, the text is a meditation on the creation theme of Psalm 104. Stanzas 1-3, which allude to Psalm 104:1-6, focus on God’s creation as a testimony to his “measureless Might.” More personal in tone, stanzas 4 and 5 confess the compassion of God toward his creatures and affirm with apocalyptic vision that the “ransomed creation, with glory ablaze” will join with angels to hymn its praise to God.
God’s “bountiful care,” as mentioned in stanza 3, is pregnant with meaning. Confessional statements on the providence of God speak to the comprehensiveness of this care. Belgic Confession, Article 13 calls this “fatherly care;” and Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 27 professes that “all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand.”
Frail and feeble children (stanza 4) do trust him and this trust in God’s bountiful care is, according to Belgic Confession, Article 13 an “unspeakable comfort.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 26 says “I trust him so much that I do not doubt...” In Question and Answer 28 the Catechism says this trust leads us to be patient when things go against us, to be thankful when things go well, and to have good confidence for the future.