Psalm 147:4-6 - He determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure. The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked to the ground.
One estimate suggests that there are one septillion stars in the universe. That is a one followed by 24 zeroes. In other words, there are a lot of stars. We give names to some stars, like Sirius or Antares. Astronomers document other stars with letters and numbers, but these are human designations and estimates. God, whose "understanding is beyond measure," created every one of those stars. He "determines the number of the stars; He gives to all of them their names."
Our gracious, all-knowing God pays close attention to details, including numbers and names, and not just for the stars. Scripture sometimes mentions a few of those interesting details and numbers. In those days, five sparrows were sold for two pennies. God does not forget even those little birds, but we are worth so much more to Him than sparrows. He knows the number of hairs on our heads (see Luke 12:6-7). After Jesus' resurrection, Peter and some of the other disciples went fishing and hauled in a net "full of large fish, 153 of them" (John 21:11b). On Pentecost "about three thousand souls" were baptized and added to the church (Acts 2:41b).
God counts souls and stars, fish and sparrows—and sheep. In one of Jesus' parables, a shepherd leaves 99 sheep to find one lost sheep. The story is about Jesus Himself, who came to seek and to save the lost. Names and numbers fill the story of our salvation. Guided by one special star, wise men found the Holy Child named Jesus in Bethlehem. Years later, three crosses were set up at a place called Golgotha. On the center cross Jesus suffered and died to save the lost, to save us all! Then, on the third day after His death, the early light of dawn revealed one empty tomb. Jesus has risen from the dead! On the Last Day when He returns, "all who are in the tombs will hear His voice" (John 5:28b), and through faith in His Name, we will rise to live in His presence forever.
In Baptism, God adopts us as His sons and daughters. The Lord who gives names to the stars names us as His own: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine" (Isaiah 43:1b). One day we will stand before the throne of God in "a great multitude that no one could number" as we cry out in praise to our God and Savior, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9b, 10b). We may not be able to number that multitude, but God can, and He knows every name.
WE PRAY: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for counting me among Your followers. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. Does God speak to you through His creation? How?
2. Do you think God really knows the number of hairs on your head? Why would He care?
3. What benefit do you take away from knowing that God knows everything?
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