An Early Devo 19

“Who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south?” Job 9:7-9

As Providence would have it, the ladies Bible study I’m in happens to be studying this very topic this week. I’m out of town right now so won’t be there and thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by answering some of the questions from our Precepts study in Genesis here. So ladies, and token gents, here’s proof that I’m still doing my homework and not just playing hooky 🙂

According to Genesis 1:14-18, the purpose of the sun, moon and stars was to separate and rule over the day from the night, to be signs, and indicators of the passage of time, and to give light upon the earth.

The Hebrew word for “signs” indicates an appearing, a signal, as in a flag, beacon, monument, omen, mark, or evidence. (This information, by the way I’m having to glean from on-line sources as I’m not in the habit of packing my trusty Strong’s Concordance and Hebrew Dictionary with me wherever I go).

The heavenly lights were the first element of creation whose purpose is explicitly stated in the Genesis account. That purpose is repeated several times in scripture, my favorite example being Psalm 119:89, “Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens.”

It seems the sky, the ONLY part of creation visible to every single person on earth, isn’t just vaguely hinting at the presence of a Creator. It’s boldly, clearly, eternally proclaiming His word, His invisible attributes, and His divine nature, so that all people are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20).

Are the constellations part of that bold proclamation? At least 3 of them are mentioned by name in the Old Testament (Job 9:9, 38:31,32, Amos 5:8). Some scholars claim that the Mazzaroth mentioned in Job refers collectively to the 12 signs of the Zodiac. The Jews however, were forbidden to consult the stars in order to know what would come to a person (Isaiah 47:13). But throughout redemptive history God used the heavenly bodies as signs pointing to events at hand. Christ’s return especially will be marked by signs in the heavens just as His first arrival was heralded.

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, I don’t rule out the possibility that the constellations themselves bore witness to the coming Messiah and were interpreted by the ancient Hebrews within that context and that context alone.

Psalm 19:1-4 describes the heavens as declaring God’s glory, proclaiming His handiwork, pouring out speech, revealing knowledge, and sending their WORDS out to the end of the world. Like I said, these aren’t vague hints. God has something to say to us in the sky. Are we doing our very best to look, and ponder, and understand?

Scripture warns us repeatedly not to gaze at the sun, moon and stars and be enticed into the sin of idolatry, worshipping the creation, rather than the Creator. But friends, lets also not be guilty of the sin of not gazing at all. Ignoring the celestial declaration of God’s glory. Turning a blind eye to the heavenly revelation of knowledge. Stopping our ears to the voice of the stars, the music of the spheres.

When was the last time when you, like the Psalmist, stopped to consider the heavens, the moon and stars which God set in place (Psalm 8:3)?  His glory is written right across the sky!  Are you waiting, longing for a revelation from God?  Friend, you need only look up.

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!

You’re Invited!

It’s back-to-school time and the universe is our classroom!  Please join us for a unique family-style study with the whole Bible as our textbook.  After six years we are returning to Day 4 of creation and this time we’re going to look far and dig deep.  Psalm 19:1 says that the business of the heavens is to declare the glory of God and Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus Christ is that glory.  Besides holding the universe together by the word of His power, Jesus is in the business of redeeming for Himself worshippers from every tribe, tongue and nation on earth.  The Bible is the story of that redemption and the heavens God made play a big role.

So starting August 13, every Saturday I’ll be posting 5 passages of scripture for the following week that have something to do with the sky, including a memory verse, discussion questions and a couple hymns to go along with our astronomy theme.  Sundays I’ll post a devotional that explains how those passages work together to give us a better understanding of our Lord and His work of salvation.  Fridays I’ll give our 5 boys a chance to bring you up to speed on what they’ve been learning about astronomy or we might do a flash back to something we learned in our study 6 years ago.

It’s our hope and prayer that each week we will gain a fresh perspective on the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the pages of scripture and displayed on the cosmic canvas of creation.  Also, it would be a delight to converse with any readers from the 83 countries that followed our blog the first time around.  If you’re still out there, we’d love to hear from you!  Tolle lege and Soli Deo gloria!