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Constellations

Job 38:31-33

June 17, 2019

There is a principle that stems from the Bible, but has become common knowledge in our culture. Those who are faithful in small things can later be entrusted with greater things. Consider the employment system. It is common for companies to take in “entry-level” workers to teach them simple and practical factors for their business. The aim is to slowly engage the entry-level people with more complex knowledge and responsibility as time goes on, allowing the workers to prove themselves able to handle more. Those who can’t are usually filtered out. Those who can are sometimes given promotions. Whether a person is hired from within or from the outside to take on a leadership role, employers want to find people with experience in leadership; those who show a history of responsibility over the small things, proving able to handle the issues of larger things. This has been a system that is proven true. It works. It is good wisdom to put proven people in positions of leadership over those who are not proven when given the chance. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that this wisdom comes from God’s Word. Since this is true, we must consider God’s basic wisdom in all facets of life, not just professional environments.

 

In the testimony of Job 38:30-33, God began to speak about the constellations of space. God mentioned Pleiades, Orion, Mazzaroth, and the Great Bear to explain to Job the weakness of his knowledge, wisdom, ability, inexperience, and thus, disqualify Job (and all other people) from criticizing the manner of His works. God asked Job if he could bind the cluster of the Pleiades. Pleiades is also known as “the Seven Sisters.” It is a cluster of seven stars part of the constellation called Taurus. It is one of the most visible star formations on Earth made up of middle-aged B-type stars. Is this true because of Job? Did Job arrange these stars together? Did Job form each star as the “father” of the “seven sisters?”

 

The constellation Taurus is most visible in the winter sky (for the northern hemisphere), and so was commonly referred to in order to describe the winter season. These stars don’t cause winter, but are a sign of the winter season. Here, we can see the extent to God’s wisdom and power. God is able to change and control the factors of earth to make His constellation visible while keeping the constellations constant. The factors of Earth change, but God keeps the stars the same. It is almost as if God rotates the planet so as to show the extent of control He has at all times of year. As the planet rotates and we see that the Seven Sisters are still together holding their form, did we as people have a say in the matter? Winter is the season of death on this planet as vegetation is buried by snow and ice in many places. Still, this is the time where we can see that, though many things die in our world, God has kept the Seven Sisters alive, and He didn’t need our help to do so.

 

God also mentioned the belt of Orion. The belt of Orion comes from the constellation of Orion. It is made up of three massive stars commonly referred to as the Three Kings. Like Pleiades, Orion is most clearly seen in the winter months of either the northern or southern hemisphere. When God referred to Orion, He specifically asked Job if he could loose Orion’s belt. In other words, could Job move a star out of its place? Could Job command just one star out of the three to move? These three stars are referred to as “Three Kings,” but only symbolically. They don’t really have any dominion. They don’t have authority over anything in our world. If one of those stars were to move from its place, it would likely not have much of an impact on our world because of the distance of those stars from our world. Job on the other hand had great authority. He had many servants. He was a rich man and had great influence in his community. He was even revered by God in a way. God considered Job to be blameless and upright. Job was highly regarded as an instrument of righteousness by God because of his faith. Still, with all of that working in Job’s favor, Job could not command one star to move an inch in any direction and produce a result. Those three rocks whose authority was fantasy, were not subject to Job, whose authority was real, but EXTREMELY limited! The belt of Orion was fashioned and tightened around the great hunter constellation because God formed those stars. Those stars are arranged as they are because, though they are called the Three Kings, they are subject to the One True King of kings, not us.

 

God asked Job if he had the ability, wisdom, or authority to guide “the Great Bear.” The reference to the Great Bear speaks of the constellation Ursa Major. This is the constellation that contains “the Great Dipper,” which is actually part of the body and tail of a larger constellation that is shaped like a bear. It is a constellation that is symbolic of the north, since that is the place it resides. The state of Alaska has adopted this form as its state flag. God’s point in bringing up this constellation is to show that He not only has charge of the seasons that reveal the stars, but the locations in which they sit. God has charge over the north, south, east, and west. He has charge over the rotation of the Earth and the events of weather in the Earth so that we are able to see the stars in certain places at certain times. Recall that when God formed the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day of creation, He did so with the purpose of providing observable landmarks so that we could tell “the times and seasons.” God created massive stars and arranged them in ways so that we could recognize and tell time – specifically so that the children of Israel could follow their holy feast-day calendar, which point to the lessons of their Messiah and His salvation. The bear might seem great to us, but not to God. He is the One who guides the steps of the bear, and since the bear rests in the north, God has commanded the Great Bear to stay put. If Job were to tell the bear to move, Job would have just spoke into the air. If Job would have tried to lead the bear to a better place, the stars that make up that from would have stayed put, showing that we have no authority or ability of any kind over these things.

 

God also spoke of “Mazzaroth.” In the original Hebrew language, this word was often used to describe all twelve of the signs of the zodiac and the thirty-six constellations that they are associated with. In other words, God referred to all of the formations of stars that were known at the time. When we think about the stars and their formations, we know that they don’t have any direct effect on the workings of our own planet. They are so far and distant to our planet, that there would be little change to our world if any if those stars were to shift subtly or die out. God did not create them so as to affect our world and the workings of it. God created the stars as a way to aid us in telling time. He formed the stars to guide us through the seasons so that we could recognize the coming of summer, fall, winter, and spring. The movement of the stars in the sky was intended to be a way for Jews to see the rotation of the world so as to recognize the approaching feast days, preparing their minds and hearts to worship God through sacrifices and praises that pointed to the coming Messiah. If a number fades on a clock, it doesn’t ruin the integrity of the clock itself. We can still tell time. Likewise, if a star were to fade in the sky, it wouldn’t ruin the planet. The seasons, and directional spin of our world is not governed by those things.

 

This goes to show how weak and unable Job was, and us too. Job could not scatter the Seven Sisters. Job could not loose Orion’s belt. Job had no authority over one of the Three Kings even though their authority was fake. Job couldn’t guide a bear to move from its place or scare it off to a different location. These shapes and forms are imaginary and symbolic, and yet Job could not have any effect on them. These lights in the sky were not directly tied to any major functioning on this planet, and yet Job could do nothing for them. Compare that reality to the events and factors of Job’s life. Job lost his family, his wealth, his health, and his influence. No matter the power he had prior, he could not maintain possession over the integrity of his own life. Life proved to have too many factors that were beyond his control, even as a child of God. How then could Job be entrusted to have charge over one Great Bear? If Job couldn’t properly arrange and control all of the factors of his own life, why would God give him charge over Three Kings? If Job lost his influence to become the subject of mocking, why would God give Him authority over Seven Sisters? Job proved he was unable to deal with simple matters of his own life. God wasn’t going to give Job charge over the stars of heaven.

 

Additionally, if Job didn’t have charge over a single star in heaven, which has no effect on the functioning of Earth, what right did Job have to criticize God’s control of Earth, the place where all life dwells? Job couldn’t control all of the factors of his own life. Job couldn’t command a single star. Why should God listen to Job about his “suggestions” or “opinions” concerning God’s control of the world we live in? God has proved His authority is supreme and that He is able to do right and good at all times. God not only had charge over the Seven Sisters, Three Kings, Great Bear, and the Mazzaroth as a whole, but also had total control over all the factors of Job’s life, the lives of his friends, and the life of Satan who opposed Job. God proved to have wisdom, power, and control over the universe, the world we live in, the people who live in it, and the forces of darkness that dwell in the spirit realm, including their chief. Who then are we to criticize God and the manner in which He directs this world and our lives? Who are we to develop opinions against God and the ways that He treats us. If we can’t even cause a distant and insignificant light in the sky to dim for a moment, why should we be entrusted with more power, authority, and control so as to rival God in His workings in this world? Rather than complain about what God does in this world and in our lives, we should remember our shape, scope, and position in the universe. The LORD is God and there is no other. He has proved Himself able, capable, and faithfully good in all ways. Rather than complain and criticize, we are called to humble ourselves and seek His mercy and grace by faith in He who holds the span of the universe in His hand.

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