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Stars as one part of the heavenly host

December 5, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Judges 5:19-21, Psalm 148:3; Job 38:7

Judges 5
19 Kings came and made war;
    the kings of Canaan fought
        at Taanach by Megiddo’s waters,
        but they captured no spoils of silver.
20 The stars fought from the sky;
    from their orbits they fought against Sisera.
21 The Kishon River swept them away;
    the advancing river, the Kishon River.
    March on, my life, with might!

Psalm 148
3 Sun and moon, praise God!
    All of you bright stars, praise God!

Job 38
7 Who commands the sun, and it does not rise,
    even seals up the stars;

Daily Reflection & Prayer

“The ‘heavenly hosts’ made famous by English translations of the Bible have two distinct meanings: one is a reference to the stars; the other to God’s celestial armies, presumably of angels.” * Don’t forget in Biblical times there were no telescopes, and people didn’t think of stars at all in the way we do. One way ancient Hebrews thought of the vast number of stars they saw in the night skies was as mysterious heavenly beings who served God.

  • Judges 5:20 was from a poem a prophet named Deborah composed to celebrate a victory over Sisera, a foreign general who had oppressed the Israelites. The poem implied that heavy rain, probably a flood, kept Sisera from using his chariots against the Israelites. Deborah said poetically the stars sent the rain. But she didn’t worship the stars. They served God: “to the LORD I will sing” (Judges 5:3). Do you believe God, at times, works through what we might call “natural” events?
  • Psalm 148 showed another vital aspect of the Hebrew view of the stars as part of the “heavenly hosts.” Unlike many of the neighboring nations, the Hebrew prophets and poets did not exalt the heavenly bodies as gods. (When Israelites did, the prophets firmly rebuked the practice—cf. Ezekiel 8:16-17.) Instead, sun, moon and stars “offer praise to God… as well as testifying to God’s sovereign power.” ** How do a colorful sunset or a dazzling starry night move you to praise God?
Prayer

Creator God, today we know that you did not just make a lovely world for us to live in. You created a vast universe, with awesome beauty and profound mysteries. Help me value in rejoice in your amazing creativity! Amen.

GPS Insights

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim

Lydia Kim serves as one of the pastors of Connection and Care at Resurrection Leawood. An avid believer that growing in faith pairs well with fellowship and food, she is always ready for recommendations on local restaurants and coffee shops.

I appreciate the imagery of our passages today. It reminds me of camping with friends to watch a meteor shower. I am a city gal, or an even better description would be a suburbanite. I was born and raised in the suburbs and have always lived in the city. Camping isn’t in my blood, and even glamping takes a lot of persuasion, so the fact that my friends got me outside, in the cold, in a tent, in the middle of Kansas, without cell phone reception is quite a feat!

What I remember most is how dark it was that night. I didn’t realize how used to the light I was. There’s no dark place in my neighborhood with all the porch lights, Christmas lights, and streetlights around. So, when we got to the campground, I was shocked by the darkness and honestly a little scared. That is until the clouds moved, and the meteors began raining across the sky. I was in awe. All those little lights flickering across the sky transformed the dark sky into a show of lights.

I imagine the Israelites feeling the same warmth from looking up at the heavens during battle. It must have been comforting to see the stars and know that God was with them, and God’s heavenly hosts were piercing the darkness (literally and figuratively) alongside them. What would it be like if we shined like those heavenly hosts here on earth as earthly angels? What if we lit up the dark sky in someone’s life by shining the light of Christ’s hope, peace, joy, and love this season–in all seasons–to those around us?

© 2022 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Article “Heavenly Armies/Host” in in Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit and Tremper Longman III, general editors, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998, p. 372.
** Ibid., p. 373.