Devo 5

“And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.  And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.”  Genesis 1:16-19

Everyone knows there are lots of stars but do you know how many different kinds of stars there are?  Scientists use several categories to classify stars including Hot, Cold, Bright, Dim Big, and Small.  Our sun is a G-2V star meaning it is a medium temperature, fairly bright, average sized main sequence star.  Sounds pretty ordinary, right?  But that’s exactly what it had to be to support life on earth!  Of the hundreds of different  known star types, most are too hot, too cold, too bright, too dim, too big, too small or too variable to support life.  But our sun is JUST RIGHT.  

But the sun and stars aren’t the only things in the sky.  The earth has another light that is also essential to life here on earth.  Did you know that if it weren’t for the moon’s gravity creating tides on earth that our oceans would stagnate and die?  The moon may not be as bright as the sun, but not only is it beautiful to look at and helpful in telling time, our moon is essential to maintaining balance in earth’s ecosystems. 

King Solomon was thinking of these different variations of brilliance and beauty when he wrote in his Songs 6:10, “Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?”  Solomon’s father David also recognized the differing glories between the sun and moon.  Psalm 104:19 and 136:1-9 remind us of the distinct roles between these two great lights.  “He made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun knows its time for setting” and,  “Give thanks to the Lord… to Him who made the great lights… the sun to rule over the day, the moon and stars to rule over the night, for His steadfast love endures forever.”

When God created the heavens and the earth, He went absolutely, over-the-top, overboard with “kinds.”  But He wasn’t just testing His own creative abilities.  According to Romans 1:18-23, it was through creation that God made Himself known to mankind by putting on display His invisible attributes, “His eternal power and divine nature.”  Every detail of the creative world is there to declare the glory and power of the One who made it.  

In 1 Corinthians 15:35-48 Paul answers questions about the resurrection of the dead by pointing to every single part of creation and specifically the varying kinds found within the created order.  “How are the dead raised?  What kind of body will they have?”  The Corinthian church asked.  Look at the plants, Paul says, A kernel of wheat has to die and go into the ground before it can be raised to new life, and when it is raised it will be raised the same kind of grain that went into the ground.  You don’t sow one kind of seed and have another kind of plant spring up from it.  The same goes for humans, animals, birds and fishes.  They only reproduce after their own kind.  Even among the heavenly bodies there are all different kinds.  “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”

“So it is with the resurrection of the dead,” Paul explains, “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.”  The natural body sown in dishonor and weakness is raised a spiritual body in glory and in power.  The first Adam, the man of the dust is raised in the heavenly image of the last Adam, Jesus Christ. 

Just as the sun and moon and stars differ from one another in glory, our heavenly body will differ from our earthly body in glory.  BUT we will still be of the same kind, for God gives to each kind of seed “a body as He has chosen.”  And according to the kind of seed we are, so we will be raised, either to glorified life everlasting or to judgement.  

What kind of seed are you?  Are you a ransomed seed bought with the blood of Christ, ready to be sown perishable but raised to glory, just as Christ was raised?  Or do you remain dead in your trespasses and sins, destined to go into the ground and raised only to judgement?  Dear friend, that could be today!  Unless you repent, whatever kind of seed you are now is the kind of seed you will die, be buried and raised as!  There is no changing after death.  

But God, in His great mercy can change you right now!  He can make you alive and change you from the inside out so that when your body goes into the ground it will be destined for a glorious resurrection in Christ Jesus, our Lord!  You need only trust the One who has already beaten death and conquered the grave, Jesus-The First Fruits, Jesus-The Last Adam, Jesus-The Bright Morning Star.

Week 5

Memory Verse: Psalm 104:19

Reading #1: Genesis 1:16-19  

Questions: What  purposes did God give for “the two great lights?”  What would be different about every morning and evening from the fourth day on?

Reading #2: Psalm 136:1-9

Questions:  In what ways is David’s Psalm of praise echoing the creation account of Genesis 1:16-19?  What characteristic does David attribute to God when He made the heavens?  What do you think he means by that?  What conclusion does David draw from the existence of sun, moon and stars?

Reading #3: Song of Solomon 6:10

Questions:  What words would you use to describe the moon?  What words would you use to describe the sun? Why do you think God uses imagery like the sun in this passage and in Psalm 19:4-6, to describe brides and grooms, and by extension, Christ and His church?

Reading #4: 1 Corinthians 15:35-49

Questions: Which elements of creation does Paul employ to illustrate the idea of different “kinds?”  How does Paul further categorize the heavenly bodies?  Why do you think Paul is so careful to make these distinctions when talking about the resurrection of the dead?

Psalms and Hymns

Psalm 104C: “The moon You have set the seasons to show; the sun will its time for each setting know.  When you make the darkness, the night follows day, and beasts of the forest creep forth seeking prey.”

Psalm 136A: “Who placed the great lights on display; His mercy lasts forever; The sun to rule the sky by day; His mercy lasts forever; The moon and stars to rule the night; His mercy lasts forever; Who Egypt’s firstborn all did smite; His mercy lasts forever.”

Praying Under the Same Sky

Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile

Devo 4

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.  And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.’  And it was so.”  Genesis 1:14,15

When, as the Psalmist said, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host (Psalm 33:6),” it was no random breath that exhaled the starry sky.  God said from the beginning that the lights in the heavens were to be “for signs and for seasons.”  There was an order to their placement and that order was meant to tell both time and truth.  But to whom?  And signs for what?  At this point in creation there wasn’t a single living thing on earth.  It was just skies and seas and rocks and trees.  

But the Creator was setting His stage.  The great story of redemption was about to unfold and these stage lights would play a big part in the drama.  Before the first actors ever took their first breath, sun and moon and stars had already been given their lines.

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord.  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord:  I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.  And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.  Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and stars for light by night.”  Jeremiah 31:31-35

True to the script, there were wise men studying the fixed order of the stars, and they saw a sign.  The sign of one born king of the Jews.  They saw His star when it rose and they came to worship Him (Matthew 2:1-12).  This child over whom the star rested had come to bring His people the very forgiveness spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah.  

But that was just His first coming.

The stars in their courses have lines yet to speak.

The Star Breather Himself, the one born King of the Jews, spoke of His return this way in Matthew 24:29-31.

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will turn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

And again in Luke 21:25-28.   

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world.  For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a clown with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 

The Star Breather is coming again to redeem His forgiven ones!  All creation has been set in place to prepare and declare His arrival.  When the stars speak their lines, how will you respond?  In distress and perplexity, fainting and fear and foreboding?  May it not be!  Repent, and as the prophet Jeremiah said, He will remember your sins no more.  Then you, too, may straighten up and raise your head, for your Redeemer comes in the clouds!