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Masterpiece Overhead - Just A Minute #157

Andy Bonikowsky
Written by Andy Bonikowsky

And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. (Deut. 4:19)

There are over a thousand places on the globe labeled as World Heritage Sites. These may be natural or man made, and are so designated because of their cultural or physical significance. The basic idea is that they be protected and preserved so "humanity" can enjoy them in as pristine a condition as possible, and for as long as possible.

Of course, there are none in outer space . . . at least not yet.

Now, when God spoke the sun, moon, and stars into existence, one fact was automatically established. They were not Him. They were separate entities, by the most basic logic. No creation can occupy the same space as its creator. Though the first two heavenly bodies were given specific responsibilities, the rest were not. And as we read how they came to be, a shocking truth becomes obvious: that huge expanse, teeming with what seems like an infinite variety of objects, all of which completely dwarfs the earth, was added to the scene with one tiny little phrase. The sense of ease with which it all occurred should draw a gasp all by itself, but when the implications begin to sink in, well, our minds simply reel in wonder.

And that is exactly what God wanted; at least, as a first step.

The next Biblical mention of the great miracle above comes in the Lord's command to Abraham, telling him to gaze up in obedient worship. Sadly though, the attitude of mankind towards the stars and planets has mostly been perverse. By the time Deuteronomy was written, the scene was already pretty ugly. The nations had looked up and were amazed, but their depraved hearts refused to discern. They would not use common sense to look past the gifts to the Giver. Instead, they stopped at the first level and started building altars, sewing robes, and compiling rituals. They decided to adore what had been made instead of the Maker.

This verse describes the heavens as a universal, global heritage; something God has divided out for the benefit of every person on earth. He has wrapped it all around the planet so that every country can see a portion of it. The constellations are free for anyone to admire on a clear night and nobody is taxed for staring at them or enjoying their beauty.

However, usually we rush around too much to pay this kind of attention. We do not stop to consider the masterpiece overhead nor relish the privilege we have to admire it. What a shame, because a few minutes of serious contemplation will go a long way towards bringing closer matters into better focus. Our things, our accomplishments, our plans, will all seem a lot smaller and not quite so impressive.

And that's a good thing.

So there are two entirely different errors man can fall into concerning the heavens, the second being more of an issue for the believer. The first is for man to look up and worship what he sees. The second is for God’s children to hardly look up at all, to not even consider or appreciate what He has given.

Next time you can see the stars, thank the Lord for them. Praise Him for the wisdom and power they display.

They are a work of art for you to enjoy, and include a personal challenge, as Abraham proved.

Dear Father, I am very inclined to look at life as revolving around my schedule and goals. Thank you for placing over my head a majestic reminder that I, and everything I ever do, are mere specks in your world. Their only significance comes as they relate to your will. Amen.