There they are, the constellations in all their glory. We can even see the misty white shimmer of the Milky Way right above our house. Awesome!
I’ve learned to pick out some of the more obvious star groups. Orion kind of dominates the night sky this time of year, but look over to the right of his ‘belt’ and you’ll find the cluster called Pleiades. These two have been known from ancient times and are actually mentioned in the Bible. (Check out Job 38 v 31 or Amos 5 v 8.)
Probably the best known constellation, at least in the Northern Hemisphere is Ursa Major, the ‘Great Bear’, seven of whose stars make the famous ‘Plough’. If you follow the line of the last two stars in the Plough you’ll find the North Star, also known as the Pole Star. It is useful to navigators because while other stars appear to change position through the night and through the year, it remains in the same spot. From that ‘fixed point’ we can figure south, east and west and hopefully find our way!
Looking to the stars for physical direction is one thing but the Bible warns people against astrology, superstitiously seeking tips on the future or good fortune from how stars may be aligned. That’s why the ‘Wise Men’ were guided to Bethlehem to meet One greater than the stars! It’s why the prophet Isaiah urged his listeners to humbly submit to the Almighty Who made the ‘starry host’. (Isaiah 40) This beautiful chapter encourages us to trust in the Maker of the stars Who leads His people gently like a shepherd and renews our strength.
Could we use some wisdom and guidance in life? Look up. Look beyond the sky and pray to the One enthroned above all.
Does it seem that guidance is not immediately forthcoming?
Perhaps we haven’t taken time to properly ask.
Under the Stars
Lord, the road is twisty and dark, its edges unclear,
A stone wall or hedgerow perhaps, I’m not sure.
But the clouds are clearing, I can see stars,
Pleiades and Orion, like old friends smiling a greeting.
I spot the Great Bear and the Pole Star
And walk on with renewed confidence
Now I know which way is home.
I praise and thank you who made the starry host
And has come down to be my rescuer and guide.
I sense the rod and staff of the Good Shepherd
And know that I need fear no evil now.
Comforted by you, I am learning to trust, to ask, so -
Guide me Lord, in the decisions I must make this week, this year,
About study, work, friends, enemies,
Times, places, ideas, opportunities,
Things I love, hate, welcome or dread!
More, lift my eyes and thoughts above my own little world
To see and share your universal heart for your creation.
Lead me in paths of righteousness, truth and compassion.
Fire in me zeal like yours, to live in your will and pray without ceasing,
That all may discover your saving, leading light.