Monday, January 2, 2017

Treasures of snow from God's storehouse

Where I live, 2017 has come in with most of the snow cover melting, and there are prospects for only light snow this coming week. 2010 was a bit different, and I wrote this piece for "inspired" by the weather. Although I probably would have gone a different direction if I had written this today (even if we currently had heavy snow), the themes of God's provision and providence are still near to my heart. 
Photo by Mark Sommer

Many places in Michiana have already seen close to a foot of snow since the New Year rang in, and there is still more lake effect snow on its way. This area had been spared much of the wintry weather this season, but, if the weather forecast is even close to being correct, there is plenty more to come this week.

Although snow can be a nuisance, there is also a beauty about it that cannot be denied. And in the land of the Bible, mountain snows can bring refreshment as they melt and form streams which provide water for thirty plants, animals and people.

In Proverbs 25:13, the refreshment of snow is compared to a faithful messenger.

Like the cold of snow in time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters. (NKJV)

To appreciate this verse, the reader needs to understand something about messengers, and the harvest, in Bible times.

If you needed to get an important message to someone, you couldn't just pull your cell phone out of your pocket, or send an e-mail, or use a phone. You couldn’t even put a letter in a mailbox. You would have to send someone you trust to deliver the message in person.

The harvest time was the hottest and driest part of the year, so the reference to snow pictures quite a contrast. Some scholars interpret the reference to “the cold of snow” as meaning cold water from a snow-fed stream. Thus the American Bible Society’s Contemporary English Version translation of this verse:

A messenger you can trust is just as refreshing as cool water in summer.

Winter snow was designed by God to give refreshment to us during the rest of the year. It melts in spring, giving added moisture to the soil. Snow-fed streams provide water throughout the year.

God’s ability to control the weather is a major theme of Job 38, where God answers Job’s complaints about how he was being treated. Verse 22 talks about the “treasury of snow” – a figure of speech used to show how God in his wisdom reserves the snows for the time which will suit his purposes. The whole point is that God knows how and when to direct the forces of nature. We often do not understand what he is doing, but his wisdom always assures that the timing of the weather is always for the best.

If we are to live biblical lives, we need to trust that God knows what he is doing even when we don’t understand. That is much of what faith is all about. His wisdom and understanding is beyond description. Remember that as you shovel out your car for the umpteenth time this week.

The verse in Job about the “treasury of snow” was part of the inspiration for the song Indescribable by Chris Tomlin. A video of that song with the lyrics is available on YouTube. Take some take to listen and reflect on God’s wisdom and power.

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