Bright Stars in Dark Places

“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” – Daniel 11:1-4

 

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Sunrise on the Sea of Galilee | January 2012

We were traveling through northern New Mexico, heading toward Colorado. Our 16 year old son was driving and was getting tired. He pulled over to change drivers, and upon getting out of the car yelled, “Everyone out of the car!” We had no idea why he was saying it, and apparently didn’t act fast enough so he shouted again, “Everyone out of the car!”

We got out and he pointed to the starry sky. “Look at it! It’s amazing isn’t it!” It was amazing. The night sky – unsullied by light pollution, and on a cold, crisp night – was awash with the starry host. It was a spectacular view of the stars in the heavens.

Daniel is being told how it will be when the wise will shine light the brightness of the sky and those who turn others to righteousness like stars forever and ever. The message is crystal me: those who fear, love and trust in God will shine brightly in the life of the world to come. Those who point others to fear, love and trust in God will be like the stars in the heavens.

This is parallelism; there are two statements, both of which convey similar but not absolutely identical truth. I would not make a case for differing degrees of glory: bright sky of the saved and the stars of the sky being those who brought others to faith, signifying one glory and another higher glory.

Perhaps, however, there is a message for those who seek to share the grace and truth of God with others. Whether you are like the brightness of the sky or the stars that shine forever, being light is a good thing. Jesus put it this way:

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16

Followers of Jesus are to be lights in the dark world. We are to let our light shine on God, bringing him glory, and not calling attention to ourselves. Just as the beauty of the starry night sky pointed us beyond the stars themselves to the one who named the stars (Isaiah 40:26) and sets their course in the heavens (Job 38:12), so should we shine: to the glory of God and the enlightenment of many to the grace and truth found in Jesus Christ.

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