Daily Readings and Thought for January 22nd. “SUN, MOON & STARS”
In both our Genesis and Matthew readings today we have reference to the sun, moon and stars – and in neither case are they to be understood in a literal sense. The context makes this evident.
In Genesis Joseph has a dream and tells his parents and brothers about it. “Behold I have dreamed a dream. Behold the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me” [37 v.9] His father has no doubt as to what the dream symbolises and says, “ ‘Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?’ And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind” [v.10-11].
Our minds move forward to the time of Mary and how she kept the sayings about Jesus in mind in her heart. (Luke 2 v.19, 51) The jealousy of Joseph’s brothers is the trigger that creates a sequence of events that leads to the fulfilment of this dream – this is yet another example of how God weaves in the actions prompted by human nature, to bring about his purpose. It is also the way he oversees the character building of those he is calling to serve him.
In Matthew 24 Jesus says the sun, moon and stars will be a sign of his coming. The time of great tribulation comes to an end when “the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” [v.29]
While we should not exclude a possible application in some physical sense, the saying would appear to have an application to a total crisis and collapse of the earth’s ruling power; and certainly the various ruling powers are, to a degree, in disarray at the moment. The “earth (i.e. the people on earth) will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect …” [v.30-31]
As we see various governments in the world experiencing more and more dysfunction and the people dissatisfied with their leaders – 2023 is developing more and more as a crisis year. As the year progresses our eyes may be drawn to the Middle East – but the lack of good financial foundations may be a major factor with the rulers, the sun, moon and stars, not knowing how to cope. People and nations worship money instead of God; we must not be like the foolish virgins we will read about tomorrow: let us be ready to bow down and praise our Lord.