JUST A BRIGHT AND SHINING STAR?

 

          One of the many amazing ways that God is identified in the Bible is as the "Father of lights." James wrote, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) "God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also." (Genesis 1:16) In Psalm 147:4-5 we read, "He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite." God made the stars. "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" (Psalms 8:3-4) The stars are not just in the sky to occupy space. They have a purpose. The stars are in the sky both as signs and as light. "God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so." (Genesis 1:14-15) The sign is that the lights in the heavens, including the stars, provide continual proof of God's care for mankind. The heavenly lights are also signs that are so essential to the purpose of agriculture. The word "star" is found 15 times in the King James Version of our Bible. The plural "stars" is found 51 times in the King James Bible. "Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth." (Isaiah 40:26) Just a bright and shining star? NO! The stars are precious light that helps us learn more about God and His heavens.

 

          Just a bright and shining star? No! This is the creation of our Almighty God. Think of all the millions of stars. The universe around us is a constant testimony of God's presence, power and goodness. In Psalm 19:1-3 we read, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." God is Amazing! We should be intrigued, captivated and stand in awe when we consider the universe. Did God really create all of those stars? Yes, that is what the Bible teaches! "God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day." (Genesis 1:14-19) How can anyone observe the universe and deny the existence of God? Just a bright and shining star? No! This is the creation of our Almighty God.

 

          Just a bright and shining star? No! The stars are a picture of God's promises to Abraham. At a time when Abraham and Sarah had no children God, "Brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." (Genesis 15:5) The story of Abraham's offspring is remarkable. It covers much of what we know as the Old Testament. God renewed His promise to Abraham saying, "The angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies." (Genesis 22:15-17) The Old Testament described Abraham's offspring as growing into a mighty nation, the children of Israel. They entered into a special covenant relationship with God.  The nation was made up of 12 tribes or family groups. The nation later divided into two kingdoms, Judah and Israel. The smaller, southern kingdom of Judah was the nation through whom the Messiah was born. Just a bright and shining star? No! The stars are a picture of God's promises to Abraham. This promised began to be fulfilled with the birth of Isaac. It was later fulfilled with the Jewish nation. God's promises to Abraham were ultimately fulfilled with the coming of the Messiah through this family.

 

          Just a bright and shining star? No! The star is a picture of a soul winner. In Daniel 12:2-3 we read, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." Those that win souls must recognize the value of one soul. One soul is worth more than the wealth of the world. "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26) I do not know who wrote these words but they are powerful! "If I firmly believed, as millions say they do, that the knowledge and practice of Christianity in this life influences destiny in another world, Christianity would be to me, everything. I would cast aside earthly cares as follies and earthly thoughts and feelings as vanity. Christianity would be my first waking thought and my last image before sleep sank me into unconsciousness. I would labor in its cause alone. I would take thought for the morrow and eternity alone. Earthly consequences should never stay my hands or seal my lips. I would esteem one soul gained for heaven worth a lifetime of effort. I would go forth to the world and preach Christ in season and out of season, and my text would be: 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?'" Just a bright and shining star? No! The star is a picture of a soul winner.

 

          Just a bright and shining star? No! This star made it possible for the wise men to find the Messiah. God sent a special star to guide the wise men to Jesusí house when he was a very small child. The wise men inquired, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matthew 2:2) Notice that this is not the night of Jesus' birth, and Joseph and his family had moved into a house. The wise men were from the east and they saw Jesus' star in the east. The picture that is given by most is that they followed this star all the way from where they were to where Jesus was. It was not however the case that they followed the star all the way to Jesus. They went to Jerusalem at first. They found out from the chief priests and scribes that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) The star then led them again at the end and it shone over Jesus' house. "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:9-11) Just a bright and shining star? No! This star made it possible for the wise men to find the Messiah. You and I can find Jesus, not with a star, but with the teachings of the word of God.

 

          "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain." (Ecclesiastes 12:1-2) To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (Mark 16:16), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:36) and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) May God help each of us to remember who we are, where we have been, and where we are going. "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." (Revelation 22:16)

 

By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA