O you servants of the Lord, bless you the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Read Chapter 3
Ambrose of Milan
“Let a firmament be made in the middle of the water.” It should not astonish us … that above he speaks about the heavens and here about the firmament, because David also says, “The heavens narrate the glory of God and the firmament announces the work of his hands.” In other words, the created world, when it is introduced to our sight, gives praise to its Creator: his invisible majesty is acknowledged through the things that are seen. And it seems to me that the term “heavens” is a generic term, because the Scripture attests the existence of many heavens. The term “firmament,” however, is more specific since here also we read, “And he called the firmament heaven.” He seems to have said above, in a general sense, that in the beginning the heavens were created in order to comprise all the work of the creation of the sky and that here instead he has indicated the specific solidity of this external support that he calls firmament. This is called the firmament of the sky, as we read in the h...
It is customary in the divine Scripture to speak of the air also as heavens, because we see it above us. “Bless him,” it says, “all you birds of the heaven,” meaning of the air. For it is the air and not the heaven that is the region in which birds fly. - "Orthodox Faith 2.6"
Then they also add the birds of the air and the animals. Not even these escaped divinization: in fact, they adored the eagle and the raven, and the Egyptians honored wild beasts and domestic animals as though they were gods. And the error had such power that cities were named after animals: among them one finds cities with the names of Dogs, of Sheep, of Wolves and of Lions. - "Sermon on the Three Young Men"
But perhaps the mountains and hills were excluded? Not at all. But since the wicked rites of demons were performed on the hills and idols were worshiped there, it says, “Mountains and hills, bless the Lord.” Mentioning the hills, they also recall springs and rivers, because these also were divinized. In fact, springs were called nymphs and the sea Poseidon, together with the sirens and the nereids. Of the fact that the rivers were worshiped we have proof in our own day in Egypt, where they sacrificed at the swelling of the Nile, not marveling at God through nature but worshiping the water itself as God. This is why rivers, springs and the sea are included in the hymn. - "Sermon on the Three Young Men"
Frequently there are droughts and violent and unexpected winds. Those who listen to lies and entertain vain thoughts are in the habit of ascribing everything out of the ordinary to matter and to something perverse, without knowing that nothing escapes the Lord or happens to no purpose but that God arranges all of this for the people’s instruction and to drive away godlessness. The proper functioning of creatures would seem to proclaim the Creator, whereas disorder contradicts the worship of creatures. If the rain or the winds were something divine or sacred, they would not violate order, given that what is divine is not susceptible to disorder. This is why they say, “All rain and dew and all spirits, bless the Lord.” In fact, even the rain and the wind were worshiped, the one as the giver of food and the other as the cultivator of the fruits of earth. They also worshiped the earth, and its fruits were assigned to various demons, saying that vines were the gift of Dionysius, the olive o...
Consider the godless person, how he stumbles over the same things by which the faithful are justified. He sees the moon and worships it. He sees the stars and venerates them. He sees the sea and calls it divine. Those who entered the furnace in Babylon after their salvific and laudable confession praised God through his works in a hymn, saying, “Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.” Having said this, they could have ended the hymn. God does not pay attention to the length of the hymn but to the intention of those who sing. By saying “all you works,” everything was in fact included, and there was no need to add anything else. But since they were not proclaiming this to themselves but praising God, and with the hymn they also taught the Chaldeans who were present, the hymn necessarily runs through the entire creation. Thus the Chaldeans, who were lost in error, would learn who it was that was sung to and who it was that sang. - "On the Prodigal Son"