"He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names..." Ps. 147: 4
By the time you read just a few blog entries, you may be convinced that I spend all my time outside. You'd be nearly absolutely right. For years, I've watched birds, the seasons, and the stars. The summer night sky is different from the night sky of any other season. Typically, this is why I don't take time to find anything but the Big Dipper. Maybe Orion's Belt. Stars never stay in place for long, and I get easily disoriented, from one week to the next, by all that moving-across-the-sky thing. The stars in spring are not in the same position as the stars of winter. Autumn has its own places for all the constellations. Fascinating!
This is all due to four little minutes. Now that the summer solstice has come and gone, the circling of stars around the pole of the earth takes four minutes less than a full 24 hours. Thus, the stars "rise" four minutes earlier every day, all summer long, than they did the day before. In a month's time, those four minutes a day add up to about two full hours. It is simple to memorize this little formula, and join me as a Suburban Stargazer: one month = 2 hours earlier. The whole star schedule is based on that simple equation.
And God calls each twinkling orb "by name". I used to believe those words meant that each star had a number and a name: "This is Theubia, star number 3,786,479, 002."
As far as we can tell, there are an infinite number of stars, and I am still confident that God knows the exact number of each one, in order, and has named each one, too. But that is not what "numbering the stars" means in the deepest sense.
When God numbered a star, He assigned it a particular place in the night sky, and He planned how big it should be and how hot it should burn and for how long. He gave it a name, a job to do, and a story to tell. If you don't believe a star has a story to tell, you must get hold of the writings of EW Bullinger and JA Seiss. They contended that the gospel is spelled out in the stars, and I believe it. Though stars can never tell us detailed, personal messages about our future, they are set in place to declare the glory of God, and have been used since the beginning of time as a gospel-record.
So the Father "numbers" the stars - assigning them a place in time and space, and giving them a message. Psalms 90:12 says this: So teach us to number our days that we may apply our heart to wisdom." In either case, whether stars or your life, the word "number" is the same Hebrew word, mahnah , meaning to ordain, appoint, or assign. As imitators of God, you and I are given the privilege and solemn responsibility to ordain - not stars, but our very own days. God has established a blueprint for our lives, laying out a path much like the path the stars follow. It is our job to discover that path, and assign our days accordingly.
I've heard it said that time is God's gift. It is His way of keeping everything from happening all at once. Ecclesiasties bears this out when it says there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A star has a name and a purpose. I have a name and a purpose. A star has a message to proclaim; my life has a story to tell.
My effectiveness in declaring my message is directly proportionate to my discerning my days properly - assigning a season and a purpose to them. What season of life am I in right now? What choices are appropriate to that season? What is God saying? Those are important questions. The overall message of my life is One Thing: the supremacy of Christ in all of life.
The ways and means I communicate that message will vary with the seasons of my life. Christ in the life of the child, Christ, the source of the joy of the blushing bride, Christ as the gentle support of the new mother, Christ, the giver of peace as the nest empties, Christ, who ordains exciting new exploits for the second half of life, Christ who carries the frail body of old age, and infuses it with a sparkling soul.
I know of a dear, elderly Mimi, who cannot remember her own son's name at times. But if you begin reciting the first few words of a chapter in the Psalms, she will commence to finishing it for you, word for word. Oh, the glory of His message in our lives, in every season! It is the veritable fulfillment of Philippians 2:15 ~ "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the children of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom ye shine as star-lights in the world!"