August 21, 2017 was the day when America turned its eyes toward the heavens. The much anticipated eclipse of the sun got our attention as something not to be missed!
For some the appeal was scientific interest. For others, it was the sense of some profound significance; a sign that portends the coming of a momentous national event. Still others claimed that they hoped to “become one with the universe.”
As followers of Jesus, what are we to make of all this? In the midst of all diverse commentaries on the topic, I would like to point out something very simple yet thoroughly Biblical that we participated in together as a nation; we lifted our heads, and we turned our eyes to heaven. We did something in the natural dimension that finds its greatest fulfillment in a supernatural, or spiritual dimension.
Genesis 1 reveals that the sun and moon were created to indicate signs and seasons, days and years. However, there is much more to discern as we turn our gaze upward. Scripture reveals a vast treasure trove of significance to this business of lifting up our heads:
1. God told Abram to “look toward the heavens, and count the stars … if you can.” God spoke to him in this way about how numerous his descendants would be, though he was old and had no heir as yet. As Abram believed the word of God, he modeled the very foundation of righteousness by faith.
2. In Psalm 3 God is described by the Psalmist as “a shield around me, my glory, the one who lifts up my head."
3. Psalm 8 gives us the account of David, when he considered ”the heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have appointed.” He was in awe of the God who created all that vastness and yet is still more concerned with us. “What is man, that you take thought of him, the son of man that you should care for him!"
4. We discover in Psalm 19 that “The heavens are telling of the glory of God.” In all that we observe, it should profoundly humble us. While the heavens display the glory of God, they are not made in His image…that distinction belongs uniquely to us
5. Psalm 24 speaks metaphorically of the gates of Jerusalem, calling them to “lift up your heads O ye ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in!” Historians believe this was likely the occasion of the Ark returning from the house of Obed Edom to its rightful place in Jerusalem. Metaphorically, it seems to describe gates that have hung their heads downward, wondering if any good thing will ever pass their way again. We too are to lift up our heads, and make way for the King of Glory to come in! In other words, there is hope! We are to shake off our discouragement, open our hearts to God, and let His presence have its rightful place in our lives
6. In Psalm 121, the Psalmist reveals the first thing to do in finding God’s help, deliverance, and protection. “I will lift up my eyes to mountain. From where shall my help come from? My help comes from God, who made both heaven and earth!” This complements David’s exhortation to his own soul: “Why so downcast O my soul, put your hope in God!
7. Jesus tells us that as we approach the time of his return, we are to “lift up our heads, for our redemption is drawing near!”
Let us pray that what took place symbolically during the solar eclipse, would itself be eclipsed by the reality of a nation turning to God once again and finding reconciliation, deliverance, protection and hope!