On a recent flight taking off from a snowy Calgary, Alberta, Canada, our airplane climbed to a staggering 35,000 feet – over 6.6 miles above the earth! Well above the snow-laden clouds, observing uninterrupted, pristine blue sky, it seemed impossible to go any higher. But the International Space Station, I’m told, is 254 miles from earth and our nearest planet is over 100,000 times further still! Of course, that’s just the beginning of the mega-distances capable of causing your brain circuitry to melt down when considering the ever-expanding cosmos (I confess I’m so out of my depth already I’ll stop there).
Our God established that expanse! Here are the words of King David (as translated in the VOICE), some 3000 years ago, long before instruments could measure such things: “The unfathomable cosmos came into being at the word of the Eternal’s imagination, a solitary voice in endless darkness. The breath of His mouth whispered the sea of stars into existence. . . Let all people stand in awe of the Eternal; let every man, woman, and child live in wonder of Him. For He spoke, and all things came into being. A single command from His lips, and all creation obeyed and stood its ground.” I think David’s days of shepherding his father’s sheep gave him ample time to consider the star-studded night sky. He probably, like many children, tried in vain many times to count those lights over his head, only to surrender, at last, to sleep. There was heart knowing here, an understanding birthed in his spirit by the Spirit regarding the Creator’s task at Creation. And David worshipped.
This declaration by David brings to mind God’s questioning of Job, starting in Job chapter 38, through chapter 40: “Where were you when I dug and laid the foundation of the earth?…Who decided on the measurements?…Upon what base was the foundation set? Or who laid the cornerstone on the day the stars of the morning broke out in song and God’s heavenly throng, elated, shouted along?” And further back, the account of Creation itself in Genesis One: “. . . God parted the waters and formed this expanse, separating the waters above from the waters below… And called the vast expanse ‘sky.’ Evening gave way to morning… ‘Lights, come out! Shine in the expanse of heavens’ sky dividing day from night to mark the seasons, days, and years… and the Divine needled night with the stars.”
Still near the outset of this new year, it is good to be freshly awestruck at the immeasurable power and might of our God who sees us, to be reminded that His is an everlasting love, that the vastness of the universe is by His design. This all dwarfs the 140,000 lbs. of Monday’s Airbus a220 to an infinitesimal speck, completely undetectable under the glory of heaven’s canopy. If this creation is by the God we worship, I think we’re good for 2023 – and beyond. Ahh! PD