“ … blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice (Genesis 22:17).”
Have you ever thought about how immensely grand nature is? Like how many stars are in the sky? And how much sand there is on all the beaches in the world?
Scientists have used numbers like trillions of trillions when trying to quantify these amounts in nature. But most people don’t have a grid or frame of reference to appreciate such vast quantities.
Even with the biological system we are most familiar with, our human bodies, there are unfathomably intricate processes keeping us alive. Scientists have estimated that there are 30 trillion cells in our bodies in which each individual cell has DNA undergoing transcription of up to 300 million base pairs to keep us alive.
Bioengineers at Stanford University have simulated the process of a single cell division (of a bacteria), and this is a comment from the lead researcher:
“What’s fascinating is how much horsepower they needed to partially simulate this simple organism. It took a cluster of 128 computers running for nine to 10 hours to actually generate the data on the 25 categories of molecules that are involved in the cell’s lifecycle processes.” Markus Covert
The immense computational power combined with the team of human engineers required to simulate a single cell division of an apparently simple bacteria is more than impressive.
Can you imagine the computational power that it would take to simulate the over one million processes (there are possibly a lot more!) that must occur inside a human being in just a span of 24 hours to keep a person alive?
I believe studies like these start to scratch the surface of how much thought God has put into His creation. Even more fascinating than this is that in Psalm 139, the Psalmist declares that the same God who put all that consideration into the design of His creation including the stars and the sand and everything else, also thinks about each of us personally and individually.
The Psalmist estimates the number of thoughts toward just him alone as being equal to all the sand in all the beaches of the world! The Psalmist wasn’t unique to receive that kind of attention from God. The Bible is full of examples of God’s personal care for individuals. Through the ministry of Elisha, God gives the same level of time and care to saving an entire army from dying of thirst in the wilderness as He does to a nameless, impoverished widow desperate to pay off her debt. Or consider how Jesus, when He was bearing the weight of the world’s sin on the cross, took a moment to care for His mother’s vulnerable future and entrust her to John.
What about the incredible, far-reaching promise and blessing of Genesis 22:17? It was given to a single, humble man who loved God showing us that God’s thoughts are not just infinite in number, but He is able at one and same time to consider the needs and future of the entire world while also caring for each of us personally and individually!
I will never cease to be amazed that the God of all creation has the time to give even a single thought to us, in the vast overall picture of running the universe. Yet in knowing that God’s blessing and thoughts toward us number as many as the stars in the sky and the sand in the sea, we can better understand and appreciate God’s plan and vision for this world and where we fit in it all.
We will be able to marvel with David, who wrote: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of Him, and the son of man that You visit him (Psalm 8:3-4)?”
Thank you Lord that You are mindful of us. May we be ever mindful of You!