Reading: Psalm 147:4-7
He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
his understanding has no limit.
The LORD sustains the humble
but casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the LORD with grateful praise;
make music to our God on the harp (NIV).*
How many stars are there in the Milky Way galaxy? According to astronomers the answers is somewhere between 100 billion and 400 billion. That’s quite a wide range. If we don’t know the number of stars in our own galaxy, how can we possibly know the total number of stars in the universe?
The difficulty of this calculation has not stopped scientists from coming up with an estimate. There are about two trillion galaxies in the known universe, so multiplying the number of stars in an average size galaxy by two trillion will give us an answer. Using these figures the total number of stars is 1 with twenty-four zeroes after it. But astronomers admit the actual number could well be ten times higher.
We need to understand today’s reading from Psalm 147 in the light of this astronomical number. He [the LORD] determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
The size of the universe blows my mind. It is so beyond comprehension in size and scope that we are left staggered and breathless. We can’t begin to take in the smallest fraction of it. But our great Lord knows the name of every star. If the universe is so big then it’s painfully obvious that my concept of God is far too small. He boggles the brain. The word awesome doesn’t begin to capture His greatness. He is truly limitless in time and space.
Knowing the greatness of God and his created universe should leave us in wonder about the next statement in this psalm. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
Why would this great limitless God care about me and the state of my heart and mind? Why would He consider me significant? Why would He care for me? Why would He fix His attention on anyone on this earth—this speck of dust in greatness of the universe? The LORD has galaxies to tend to.
But He cares. This great, limitless God cares for the likes of you and me. Now that’s the wonder of it all. That’s the biggest ‘wow’ in the universe. I’ll never get over His love—the love that hung suspended between heaven and earth on a wooden cross. That’s love—limitless love.
Response: LORD God, I can’t begin to fathom your greatness. You are far too wonderful for me. I don’t deserve a moment of your thoughts. But you did so much more. You sent Jesus. Thank you for your creation and your great redemption. Amen.
Your Turn: How big is your God? Does He fill your universe?
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume II of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer by award-winning author David Kitz is available now. For a closer look at Volumes I and II click here. Volume III is coming soon to complete the set.