I married into a family who are huge fans of all things space. Whether we are:
- gazing out at the night’s sky and the expanse of the stars, moons, and planets through Nathan’s telescope
- contemplating t.v. shows that teach us new concepts about our expansive solar system
- considering movies that allow us to use our imaginations and think what life could be like outside of planet earth
-thinking about space sparks creativity and awe within us.
One of my favorite things about where we live now is we are outside of the city limits. With this extra few miles outside of town, we have less building lights and trees obstructing our views. Every night we can pause and look up to see the beautiful expanse of the night sky. Sometimes after we make it home from a busy night of running kids to church, dance, piano, or sports activities, I pause and linger for just a few moments in the driveway. I look up and take in the serene surroundings. I let my breathing slow and I slowly let my eyes drift across the purple, black sky and notice the different sized twinkling stars.
Looking up at the night sky reminds us that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves, beyond the here and now. The same stars that we lift our gaze to appreciate are the same stars that God told Abraham to look up to and take notice. Just like God placed a rainbow in the sky to symbolize His continued promise to never destroy the entire Earth again with a flood, our Creator used the stars to remind Abraham nightly of His promise to give Abraham a family. Stars to encourage Abraham when the doubts would start creeping in again, that God promised to give him and his wife Sarah a child. Don’t we all need a nightly reminder every now and then that God already has our situations resolved, too? Night time can be the most frequent time in our day for spiraling thoughts and doubts to surface. I’m so thankful that the Lord knew this about our human nature and put nightly reminders for us to pause and remember what is true.
In Genesis 12-15, God shared with Abraham His special plan to make a land for Himself and give His people a land of their own. God also reminded Abraham that He is going to make Abraham the father of many nations. By our earthly perspective and standards, God’s promise to make Abraham the father of many nations at this phase in his life seemed absurd. Abraham and his wife were well beyond the typical child bearing ages, and they had yet to have any children of their own. Though time and time again throughout the Bible, God teaches us that He always keeps His promises. What is impossible for us to accomplish on our own is possible with Him.
In chapter 15 verse 5, God took Abraham “outside and said ‘Look at the sky and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ Then he said to him, “Your offspring will be that numerous.”
Don’t you love God’s sense of humor when he asks Abraham to count the stars, knowing full well that our human minds couldn’t grasp the magnitude of that number of stars?
The longer I journey with Jesus, the more He continues to teach me that I can’t count all of the ways He will bless my life either. His provisions are beyond what I could hope for or imagine. His blessings are beyond what I can see and imagine in the here and now.
I am not sure if it was the words of Jennifer Lyell or the illustrations of Thanos Tsilis or their joint work combined, but as I read this part of the Bible from The Promises of God Storybook Bible to our preschool and kindergarten children at church last Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but stop for a moment and consider the role of the stars in this covenant reminder between God and Abraham. I paused to reflect that God intricately put into place these same stars all throughout our solar system and beyond during the beginning of creation in Genesis 1. Over 930 years before God told Abraham to count and consider the stars, God knew He could use these stars as a powerful illustration and reminder. These stars were not meant to shine on their own or “stand out” from one another. God formed each star and placed each one to be a part of something bigger than a single star could ever be on its own. As a whole, all of the stars combined represented God’s family that He promised to build through Abraham and Sarah. These stars serve as a reminder throughout all generations of His covenant promise to make his descendants into a special people. A group of people set apart for His purpose to rescue and redeem the world from our sins. People who would serve as a shining light leading people who don’t know Jesus yet to Him.
We are created similarly as the stars- intricately formed and purposefully placed on this earth. God designed us to fit together in the communities He has placed us to go to school, work, worship, and play. Knowing the time period that He needed each one of us to be situated in, He Intentionally placed us right here. At a glance, our lives combined might not seem as awe-inspiring as the big dipper or little dipper, however, when we work collaboratively in our communities with other believers, the work that the Lord does within us can be just as breathtaking as any constellation that captures our attention.
- What if instead of encouraging our children to “be a star” or “reach for the stars,” we encouraged them to live out the Biblical application of being a “star?”
- What if we intentionally woke up each day asking the Lord how we can join together with other stars (fellow Christians) around us forming a sort of human Christian constellation, a beacon that inspires others to pause, look up, and notice God’s goodness?
If we start living with this type of intention, we could live confidently in the truth that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
Although we may not be able to trace our genetic roots straight to Abraham physical family tree, when Jesus saves us from our sins, we become the spiritual descendants of Abraham. Our lives are then represented in the same stars God showed Abraham more than 4,000 years ago. Abraham wasn’t even able to keep count of the expanse of stars, because the stars represented the multitude of believers throughout all time. Just this thought alone gives me confidence that I am a part of something bigger than myself, connected to all the heroes of our faith throughout God’s word. Although we weren’t born yet, God already had a plan for our lives and considered us to be part of His promise to Abraham.
Today, friend, I wonder if your life was represented by one of the stars that Abraham counted that night? If so, how are you seeing the Lord uniting you with other believers to shine brightly for Him? I would love to read in the comments how the Lord is leading you to shine in your communities.
Maybe, friend, you are just beginning your journey with Jesus and are unsure of how God’s promises to Abraham apply to us now over 4,000 years later? Maybe you are also wondering how you can teach these biblical truths practically to your children? I would love for you to continue traveling this journey with God and Abraham’s family with me on the blog. Throughout this is past year I have been walking daily with God and His people throughout the pages of the Old Testament. In an upcoming blog series, I want to share some of the things the Lord has been teaching me through His words and the unique children in my life during this journey through scripture. You can expect me to keep sharing connections and practical applications we can share with our children. I would love for you, dear reader, to continue to share what the Lord is teaching you, too. Let’s continue to see how we are all part of something bigger than ourselves: God’s rescue plan to rescue and redeem us from our sins and reunite us to Him.
I want to encourage you, dear friend, to carve out a few moments tonight to look up to the night’s sky and know God thought of you 4,000 years ago, too. As I do the same, I’ll thank the Lord for including us both as His children, shining brightly to lead others to Him.