By David R. Ferguson
There is a group of stars in the northern sky known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. According to Greek mythology, the Pleiades were seven sisters: Maia, Electra, Alcyone, Taygete, Sterope, Celaeno and Merope. Their parents were Atlas, a Titan doomed forever to hold aloft upon his shoulders the Earth and sky, and an Oceanid sea nymph named Pleione, the protectress of those who venture forth sailing upon the wide seas. After a chance encounter with the great hunter Orion, the beautiful and graceful Pleiades and their mother became the object of his pursuit. Passionately enamored with the young women, he pursued them all over the face of the Earth. According to one version of their tale, the Pleiades were hunting companions of Diana, the goddess of the Moon and a great huntress herself. When Orion unexpectedly came upon Diana and the Seven Sisters hunting a hind, Diana was angered at Orion’s pursuing her friends and called upon Zeus to intervene, which he did by changing the young women into doves who flew away into the heavens. Diana, enraged at the loss of her companions, then sought her brother Apollo to send a great scorpion to sting and kill Orion as punishment to Orion for chasing away her friends. Not to be outdone in this, Zeus placed the dead hunter Orion in the sky and changed the Pleiades from doves into stars for Orion to chase after throughout eternity with Scorpio forever nipping at his heel.
These make for interesting stories told around a campfire at night, but the true tale is by far much better. God spoke the universe into existence, including these stars known as the Pleiades. We are told in Psalm 33:9 [ESV], “For He spoke, and it came to be; He commanded, and it stood firm.” Furthermore, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible” (Hebrews 11:3 [ESV]). Not only did He speak them into existence, He gave each of these wondrous stars a name: “Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He Who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of His might, and because He is strong in power not one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 [ESV]).
One day long ago one of these stars that God calls by name each night was given a very special assignment by its Master. This star was to be the one that would lead the Gentile Wise Men to the Child King Who was born in Bethlehem. I find it fascinating that God used one of His stars to light the way for these Gentile Magi to find “the Light of the world” (John 8:12 [ESV]). Centuries earlier, it was prophesied by Isaiah that the Messiah would be “a Light of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:6), and Simeon confirms this prophesy was fulfilled when He stated during the presentation of Jesus at the Temple when Jesus was eight days old, that He was “a Light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel” (Luke 2:32 [ESV]). These seekers followed the star as it guided them to Jerusalem, and they asked King Herod, “Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2 [ESV]).
Yes, our Mighty God calls out the stars by name one by one each night because God loves His creation…and that means He loves YOU! YOU are NOT insignificant! Remember, God knew YOU even before you were born (Jeremiah 1:5). He loves and cares so much for you that Jesus Christ gave His life on the Cross in YOUR behalf.