The Sandhills of western Nebraska are perfect for stargazing. No big cities are there, and thus virtually no manmade light to get in the way. Every summer, hundreds of amateur astronomers go there to take advantage of the dark night skies. Those who are willing to make the drive are treated to breathtaking views. As one said: “This is how the Native Americans saw the sky. This is how the pioneers saw the sky.”
These stargazers receive a small taste of the beauty of the fourth day of creation. On this day, God created the sun, moon, and stars. Like everything else He made, they were pronounced “good” (v. 18). Interestingly, the verb “made” (v. 16) or “fashioned” indicates that these objects were already in existence in some form, likely from the first day when light was created, and that God now specifically fashioned them into the astronomical bodies we know today. This would fit with the interpretation that in the creation narrative the first three days are “forming” while the next three are “filling.”
The purpose of the sun, moon, and stars is to mark the boundaries of day and night, and as they govern this basic division they also serve to mark life’s “sacred” times and seasons (Ps. 104:19). This function led to thee heavenly bodies being worshiped and mythologized as deities in many ancient Near Eastern religions. God, however, intended us to see these created objects as reminders of His faithful covenant love (Ps. 136:7–9; Isa. 40:25 26). In context, the direct allusion is to the feasts and holy days set forth later in the Pentateuch. In general, it makes sense that the One who is Lord over all times and seasons has ordained times and seasons for us.