There is a line from an old Eagles song that, sadly, is a good description of the majority of mankind:
You can see the stars and still not see the light.
A look up at the stars at night really should enlighten us. It can serve as a cure for spiritual myopia. How so? By putting us in our place.
First & foremost, it puts us in our place by reminding us of the greatness & glory of God! Psalm 19:1-4 says,
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
So the heavens declare the glory of God; they proclaim His greatness & majesty! And that declaration is loud and clear in every place, in every tongue, at all times. So the heavens above us should serve as a constant (and often needed!) reminder of the greatness & majesty of God.
Second, by reminding us of the greatness and majesty of God, the heavens also put us in our place by reminding us of our smallness and insignificance in comparison. Psalm 8:3-4 says,
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
What is man indeed! The world doesn’t revolve around us; we are not the center of the universe – God is! The heavens are the Lord’s heavens (“your heavens” – v.3) – they were created by Him and for Him alone!
Think about just how big the known universe is. Some estimate that there are around 10 sextillion stars in the universe. (If you are anything like me, you never even knew that such a number existed.) A sextillion is 10 to the 21st power, or a million trillion. It is difficult to even fathom such a number. It might as well be infinity.
So there are around 10 million trillion stars in the universe, many of which are far larger than our own sun! Our sun is approximately 333,000 times larger than the mass of the earth. Is your head spinning yet?
How much matter exists in the universe? To us any number that we could hope to assign to such a question would stagger the mind – again, it might as well be infinite! And yet God simply spoke it all into existence! Psalm 8:3 calls all of that the work of his “fingers” (!).
To say that God is big and we are small is a good start, even if a massive understatement. The universe dwarfs us, and God dwarfs the universe, so we are really just a speck on a speck in the grand scheme of things.
Third, by reminding us of the greatness and majesty of God, as well as our smallness and insignificance in comparison, they also remind us of the amazing goodness of God toward us. Why should the God who spoke the entire universe into being take any notice of us? But He does!
Psalm 8:5-8 tells us that God has bestowed great honor upon mankind:
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
God made mankind in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). That is a staggering honor that is ours despite our relative smallness and insignificance in relation to the rest of the universe, (much less in comparison to God)!
But wait, there’s more! We are not just specks on a speck, but rebellious & sinful specks on a speck! The Fall of mankind into sin (Genesis 3) has marred the image of God in mankind (even if it has not completely obliterated it). And yet God still cares for us!
And last (but by no means least), it should serve to make us magnify the grace of God toward sinners that is found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ! For Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 8.
The writer of the book of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8 and tells us that it was actually prophetic of the incarnation, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Christ! In other words, it is about the gospel! (And it was written about 1,000 years before the time of Christ!)
Hebrews 2:5-9 says:
For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,
“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
you have crowned him with glory and honor,
putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
For us, being made a little lower than the heavenly beings is an honor, but for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, it was an act of infinite humility and grace! He was made man that He might suffer death for our sakes, so that we might have life in Him.
He allowed Himself to be put in our place, so that He could die the death that we deserved for our sin & rebellion, and so that we could have His righteousness accounted to us by faith! Because He was put in our place, we can, in Him, be adopted as the children of God!
So look up at the night sky tonight. And when you do, don’t miss the light! Be reminded of the greatness of God, as well as His amazing grace toward you in Jesus Christ!