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February 2, 2024
Treated as an Individual
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Isaiah 40:25-26

During the American Civil War, Senator Charles Sumner, captured by his grand plans for the abolition of slavery, was asked by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”) to meet some friends who had suffered grievously because of slavery. To her surprise, the Senator declined and dismissed the request in a condescending manner: “Really, Julia, I have lost all interest in individuals.” She shot back: “Why, Charles, God hasn’t got as far as that yet.”

Julia Ward Howe is right. While God has a grand plan for all of history, echoing out into eternity, He never loses interest in individuals. God in His kindness and love treats us as individuals. When God looks upon His creation, He sees us in color and everything else in black and white. We stand out to Him. We are not lost in the crowd. He sees us and cares about what we care about. If we doubt that or question that, then we should step outside for a bit and learn a lesson from the stars in the night sky.

In Isaiah 40, the prophet calls us to lift our eyes on high and survey the stars that God has created and consider the fact that when He calls them out at night, He calls them all by name (Isa. 40:25–26; see also Psalm 147:4). Not only did God create these stars, but He holds them in their place, and He knows each one by name. The magnitude of that picture and proposition staggers our minds. The Milky Way alone is said to be home to 300 billion stars. If we took one third of that number, 100 billion stars, and started counting one star per second, it would take us two and a half thousand years to complete the task. God’s complete and instant knowledge of the stars speaks to the greatness of His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence.

Now, here is the comforting truth. There are no solitary stars, and there are no solitary saints. If God’s providential care of the starry sky is so exacting and so individualized that He knows every one of them by name—and not one of them is missing because He upholds all of them by the word of His power—how dare we ever think that God is removed from and unmoved by the littlest details of our lives. Our troubles are not trifling to Him. Our interests are not uninteresting to Him. Our heaviness of heart carries weight with Him. God knows our Way (Job 23:10). God knows our Wants (Matt. 6:8). God knows our Weakness (Psalm 103:14). God knows our Whereabouts (Psalm 139:1–3; Rev. 2:13).

Looking over a calm sea on a clear starlit night, an officer stood on the bridge of a ship that was chugging its way across the Atlantic. He said to his captain, “It’s easy to believe in God on a night like this, sir.” The captain snapped back, “Yes, a God who is as cold as the sea and as far away as those stars.” The captain was wrong. God is not removed and unmoved. God knows us and invites us to know Him through His Son, Jesus, who was born beneath a star (John 17:3). In the Lord Jesus Christ, God says, “I see you, know you, and I love you.” Know this: God knows you, and He has known you a long time, having predestined you to salvation based on His foreknowledge of you (Rom. 8:29–30)!