“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” Psalm 147:4Psalm 147
Some images in the Psalms are metaphors, comparing things that seem unrelated. Other images are symbolic, representing something else. The image of Psalm 147:4 is simply a statement of truth. The whole psalm, in fact, gives many simple statements about the Lord, each moving us to praise our Almighty Creator God.
Probably every kid has tried as I did— unsuccessfully—to number the stars. It just can’t be done! I also tried when I was about 10 to move the clouds. I remember watching a large cloud moving across the sky. I commanded it to move by the strength of my will alone, but it did not respond to me at all, of course. Eventually it disappeared in the distance.
Not so with God. He “stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow” (v. 18). He “covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills” (v. 8). He feeds the world. Just as magnificently, God numbers the stars and gives them names. And for all of us who are His, we too are lovingly determined, named, and upheld by Him.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714) profoundly described the Word of God as “shallows where a lamb could wade and depths where an elephant could drown.”