He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. (Psalms 147:4)
In our study of the Ten Commandments, we have noted the personal nature of the commands. The old English pronoun thy in Exodus 20:3 is an indication of this individual emphasis. Thy is a singular personal pronoun while you found in modern versions of scripture can be singular or plural. I point this out to show how God is concerned with the individual. Your personal response to His commands is vitally important. God’s people are not a faceless mob but consist of those whom God knows personally and intimately.
I want you to notice how Psalm 147 indicates this truth in a very special way. In verse 4, the psalmist wrote, “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.” I am not sure the psalmist could understand the full significance of this statement. However, he did observe more stars with the naked eye than most of us today.
Recently, I watched a short video on light pollution and how it obscures our view of the stars in the nighttime sky. Hardly any stars are visible when viewing the sky from our large cities because of the extreme amount of ambient light in which the small pinpoints of the light from the stars are diffused. However, to look at the night sky in a place like Death Valley where light pollution is reduced to much lower levels, the universe is dramatically opened to the human eye.
The psalmist would have seen this kind of sky especially if he was out in the hills of Judea. This lends much more meaning to the scriptures when we see in places the stars are spoken of as examples of vast multitudes. Looking at the night sky in Santa Rosa would not cause us to number the stars in comparison to the sands on the seashore as the Bible does (Gen. 22:17; Heb. 11:12). And yet, with what the psalmist could see and with how he would lose track while counting, he had no idea of the real impact of the Bible’s comparisons. With modern telescopes, we have learned the stars really cannot be counted. There are about one hundred million galaxies visible with each containing billions of stars. This is the visible portion of the universe. There is no reason to believe that beyond what we can see there aren’t one hundred million more galaxies.
Take all this information and put it back into the context of Psalm 147. Verse 5 says the Lord is infinite. Only He knows how many stars were created. Whatever the number is beyond the 1024 number of stars that are observable, He knows the name and exact coordinates of each one. We are told this because God has such grasp of minute details that He could not fail to know about every one of His children. He certainly knows their names and every trial they encounter.
If you feel alone and think nobody cares, who would you rather would know about you—the infinite God or fallible, finite men? Who has the real ability to help you, God or man? Who is to be depended on and can never fail, God or man? Your most intimate relatives may forget you—father and mother may forsake you—but never God (Psalm 27:10).
Some of you grew up with abusive fathers and/or mothers. Some of you never had anyone to hold you or care about you. For your entire life, you’ve had to forge through on your own. When you became a Christian, you gained a loving church family. This is a wonderful experience, but you should still remember it is God that brought you to where you are. Learn to trust God and lean wholly on Him. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are still fallible and they may fail you. Remember, God knows your name. He has your number. You never get lost in His filing system because He has your name written in the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). “He heals the broken heart, and bindeth up their wounds” (147:3). Such knowledge is more glorious than all the stars.
Pastor V. Mark Smith