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The Pole Star

September 2016 | by John Thornbury

One of the blessings of believing in God is to stand in wonder and worship while beholding the glory of God’s creation.

Many of you may know that a few miles north of me here, in Lexington, Kentucky, there is a building phenomenon, a huge wooden boat built by Answers of Genesis, that is modelled after the dimensions of Noah’s ark as described in the Bible.

Bill Nye the so-called ‘science guy’ has ridiculed it as a bogus from a scientific standpoint. Bill, who describes himself as an agnostic, like all unbelievers looks upon the wonderful universe around us as empty of any Creator. What a blessing they are missing!


To me one of the most fascinating and awesome fixtures in the night sky is the star Pole Star or Polaris. If you will take a straight line from the two stars that make up the lip of ‘big dipper’ (‘plough’) constellation and follow it you will come upon this beautiful bright light we know by such names as the North Star, Pole Star, or Polaris. It is actually multiple stars, in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is approximately 433 light years from us, a fact that baffles our comprehension.

Throughout the ages, Polaris has come to symbolise fixed stability in a world that is always changing. All the stars of the northern sky seem to rotate around it. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar expressed this sentiment when, when refusing to issue a pardon, he said, ‘I am as constant as the northern star, of whose true-fixed and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament’.

Often I have risen from my bed at night and gazed in wonder at this star. If it is indeed a symbol of something fixed, unchanging and constant, I cannot help but think of what the writer of Hebrews says about our Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever’ (13:8). Yes, our Redeemer, is the fixed, eternal, constant, abiding reality in our topsy-turvy world. 


And, just like all the stars seem to revolve around Polaris, all the truths of theology — indeed, all the facts of life — revolve around Jesus. The person of Christ has been called the keystone of the arch of truth; and yes — using another picture from the natural world — the sun of the moral solar system, around which all the planets revolve. He is the foundation upon which our faith is built.

Jesus Christ is the same; he never changes. He does not need to change, for he is God, he is perfect. He does not change in his character. He always has been and always will be holy, gracious, merciful and just.

He does not change in his purposes. Jesus is not on a trial-and-error method in his disposition of the passage of time. He has a plan that he is carrying out and nothing can change or thwart it.

Jesus Christ is constant in his principles. He has graciously left us in the Bible the rules we are to follow. The Ten Commandments were written on stone, not wax. Jesus has given us, in the New Testament, the guidelines for all aspects of our lives, relating to our personal behaviour, families and churches. 


The hymn writer said, ‘Change and decay, in all around I see. O Thou, who changest not, abide with me’. I have good news for you, fellow pilgrim. Jesus will always abide with you, whatever people may do. Your friends may forsake you, but he will not.The unchangeable character of our Lord is a great comfort to believers. We see nothing really stable in the sinful world around us. Nations change, people change, our circumstances in life change, but Jesus is always true and faithful. As the Scriptures say, ‘Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end’ (John 13:1).

The next time you look at Polaris, think about what I’ve said in this article.

John F. Thornbury has served for many years as a pastor in Baptist churches in Pennsylvania and Kentucky.

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