The One Who Holds The Stars
By Anthony Casperson
My inner fanboy squealed a little bit when I saw that my favorite band, Skillet, is releasing a new album called Unleashed on Aug. 5th of this year. They uploaded videos on YouTube, giving their fans early access to a couple of tracks. While I very much enjoy the sound of the song entitled Feel Invincible, it’s the song Stars that got me thinking.
Normally, when we who are followers of Jesus think about the stars, we see the immensity of God’s creative power. We see his hands molding the universe, shaping solar systems, and setting the boundaries of time and space. And this is exactly where the song Stars begins:
You spoke a word, life began
Told oceans where to start and where to end
You set in motion time and space
But still you come and you’re calling me by name
Still you come and you’re calling me by name
The first chapter of Genesis portrays this masterpiece of the great Creator. As his words danced upon the canvas of his creation, he set the sun, moon, and stars to give light to the earth. They are meant for signs and seasons, for days and years. God placed the cosmic connect-the-dots to serve the earth.
In this panoramic expanse, reaching far beyond the eyes of man, God creates everything for the enjoyment of his greatest creation, humanity. Notice in Gen. 1:15 and 17, it says that the sun, moon, and stars are meant to give light to the earth. Throughout the creation week God’s focus is centered on the place of humanity. Even though God’s creative might extends beyond human understanding, his desire in it all is to draw near to his people.
Reminder of that power prompts us to see the promise of relationship with him. That promise begins in Genesis 15. God had promised Abraham that he would be a father of many nations back in chapter 12, but here in chapter 15, he reveals an image to Abraham. “Look at the stars. Count them, number them if you can. This is how great your offspring will be.” And this is when the great statement comes: “And Abraham believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6).
Abraham, brought face to face with the expanse of God’s creative power, saw the one who wanted to bless him far beyond what he deserved. It was in that moment that he was brought into right relationship with God. It wasn’t because of anything that he had done. Leaving his home and wandering around following the leading of God didn’t give him the relationship. It wasn’t because of anything that he would do in the future. Following the directions of God, even to the point of circumcision, didn’t give him the relationship.
It was in seeing the power of the one who called him by name, the one who gave him a new name, that he received the call to relationship. Out there, in the darkness of the night, the light of the stars emanated the truth that God had been calling his name in order to love him far beyond anything he could imagine.
And this relational promise portrayed through the stars doesn’t just end with Abraham. When the Israelites looked to the night sky and saw the stars, they were reminded of the promise given to Abraham. When the darkness of their circumstances enveloped them, when they were exiled, when they were dispersed, when they were hunted, when they were hated, they could look to the sky and see the truth of God’s call to his people.
God calls out to all of his creation through the promised offspring of Abraham, Jesus. He calls to us by name. He calls us into right relationship with him, as he had Abraham, that our acceptance of his call might be credited to us as righteousness.
And those who have accepted the call, he continues to call our names to guide us in the light of his truth. The stars in the night can direct us if we know the truth they show us. And when we need guidance the most is when the light of the truth shines the brightest. It’s in the darkest of nights, when we are far from the light of the world that the beauty of the stars can be seen the brightest.
The song Stars continues:
The deepest steps, the darkest nights
Can't separate, can't keep me from your side
I get so lost, forget my way
But still you love and you don't forget my name
Look to the stars. See the greatness of the Creator and hear his call. “All of this is to give you the light of truth. Draw near to me.” How can we do no other than to extend ourselves to the One who loves us? How can we not act in unison with the song?
So here I am, lifting up my heart
To the One who holds the stars.