“He counts the stars and calls them all by name. How great is our Lord! His power is absolute! His understanding is beyond comprehension!” (Psalm 147:4-5, NLT)
God created a universe of wonder for us to enjoy. He gave us the sun and the moon for warmth and light and stars to help us find our way.
On the one hand, these heavenly bodies are reassuring, giving order to our days, our seasons, and our yearly calendar. On the other hand, they are full of mystery beyond our comprehension.
Both of these aspects of the night sky teach us about the face of God. The heavens show us that God cares about every detail of our lives; God knows the name of every star, just as he knows every hair on our head. At the same time, the vastness of the heavens reminds us just how small we are, keeping us humble before our Creator. The universe is filled not only by stars and solar systems, but by untold billions of galaxies.
When we look up at the night sky, we get a glimpse of just how big God is. He’s a God who can speak galaxies into existence; He can create extravagant, over-the-top beauty in the farthest reaches of space…and provide the moon to help us find our way home on a dark night. He’s with us when we feel lost and small and scared and alone.
It’s not by accident that a star announces the birth of the infant Christ. And on the last page of the Bible, Christ describes himself as the “bright morning star.” If you ever begin to think that maybe God’s love isn’t quite big enough to save a people or a planet as messed up as we are, stare into the night sky and—just like Abraham—try to count the stars.
God calls us to trust that He is present in all the mysteries of life. When we embrace the mystery of the heavens, we begin to understand a little bit more about the nature of God.
For more of Dr. Sleeth’s reflections, see the Blessed Earth Hope for Creation Films and Guidebooks (Zondervan 2010).