Daily Worship

The armpit of the giant

Jo Penn March 18, 2022 0 1
Image credit: Unsplash
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Isaiah 40: 21-26 (NRSVA)

21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23 who brings princes to naught,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.

24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.

25 To whom then will you compare me,
    or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
    calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
    mighty in power,
    not one is missing.

My own star-identifying knowledge is limited to the Big Dipper and Orion’s belt, but I gaze in wonder at the star-ridden night vista visible in the ‘dark sky’ of the Yorkshire Dales.

The TV series Star Trek urged us to consider Space as ‘the final frontier’ and Science Fiction stories such as ‘The Martian’ by Andy Weir continue to explore this idea.

Today, astronauts are living on board the International Space Station, which was launched in 1998 and runs as a co-operative venture between five space agencies.

In the creation story told in Genesis 2:19, God brings all the beasts of the field and the birds of the air to Adam,’to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature that was its name.’ God trusts mankind to do the naming as part of the call to steward creation. Names in the Bible are important for they tell of the essence of someone.

Our ancestors have been looking up at the stars for centuries, trying to make sense of seasonal patterns, with each culture naming the components of the night sky in their own language like Betelgeuse which means ‘the armpit of the giant’.

Our passage today talks of God bringing out ‘the starry host one by one’ and calling ‘forth each of them by name’. This reminds us that God knows the essence of things and has His own name for the elements of the creation that He knows inside out.

Revelation 2:17 talks about God giving to those who overcome ‘a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it’. Like the new names given in both the Old Testament (such as Abram and Sarai) and in the New Testament (Simon) this could signify us being given our true name by God, encompassing the essence of who we are, encouraging us to shine brightly into eternity.




Maker of the Universe which is filled with stars and galaxies too numerous for us to count.

Thank you that you delight in all you have made, including me.

Lent Disciplines

Choose a Bible verse and have a go at memorising it this week. It could be Isaiah 40: 26 from the readings this week or you could pick any other verse that resonates with you.