a septillion stars


God put us on this little planet with the night’s sparkling array spread above us. Rotating around the star we know as the sun, within the galaxy we call the Milky Way, He created our solar system within myriads upon myriads of vast galaxies.

Then: He gifted human beings with eyesight and with the ability to ponder.

Have you ever wondered why?

With our naked human eye, in completely dark skies, traveling to both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, we’d be able to see and ponder almost 9,000 of our galaxy’s stars. With binoculars, we could count up to 200,000. With the most modern of telescopes, astrophysicists have now counted trillions upon trillions:

  • With those telescopes, we now realize our own Milky Way galaxy doesn’t contain 200,000 stars, but 400 billion!
  • And besides our own galaxy, there are 170 billion galaxies we can currently observe (yes, 170 billion!)
  • Some of those, the spiral galaxies, contain more than a trillion stars (yes, a trillion within one galaxy)
  • Some of them, the giant elliptical galaxies, have 100 trillion!
  • If we multiply the number of galaxies (the ones we know of) times the average number of stars in the different types of galaxies, we realize that the stars in our universe number roughly a septillion (I don’t think I’d ever even heard of the number septillion)
  • A septillion is a 1 with 24 zeros after it. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Why did God set up our night sky like that?

“…the universe is God’s best effort to say: That is how big I am. That is how strong I am. That is how glorious and magnificent. The galaxies are all about God, not man.” (John Piper)

King David added another question:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3)

David asks: How is it that He, who “upholds the universe by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3), bothers to care for us?

How can it be that He, upholding a universe of  a septillion stars (and the planets rotating around those stars) still cares for us so much that He’d — knowing we’re most joy-filled when we worship Him — plan for us to be wowed by a universe that shouts out how magnificent He is? He might uphold, sure. But care at the same time? And all for our good. How kind and compassionate He is!

Jesus upholds this universe — with 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars — by the word of His power (Heb. 1:3).

Bow to Him. Worship and adore Him.

And as you bow, “ponder anew what the Almighty can do, if with His love He befriend thee.” He upholds our world and her night sky’s blanket of a septillion stars. Yet He chooses to befriend you in love.


Father, I’m wowed. I’m awed at your strength and power. And I wonder; why do you care? How can it be? Yet you do! You even, with your love, befriend me. Oh Lord, please show yourself glorious by using my life, here on this earth surrounded by a septillion stars and upheld by the word of your power, as you grow your kingdom!


About Jill

I'm a wife, mom to three beautiful children, and work as children's ministry director at Redeemer PCA in Athens, GA, a place our family treasures as our church home. It's been thirty years since the Lord saved me, and to this day I'm astounded at His steadfast love shed upon unfaithful me. My hope would be that I might speak and write in ways God would use to soften hearts toward Him, that we would together be enamored by the glorious beauty of Jesus and awakened to His love unimagined. Thanks so much for reading!
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