“The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits,” Ecclesiastes 1:6-7.
We cannot see the air that surrounds us, but we probably talk about it more regularly than anything else. Perhaps we talk about the weather too much, especially when we could be discussing the sermon after church. More often than not we talk about the weather itself and its relation to our daily lives rather than the weather as we see it through the spectacles of Scripture. Looking through the spectacles of Scripture, the believer certainly has something worth talking about.
The air that surrounds us is a part of the earth’s atmosphere. When the air close to the surface of the earth moves we feel wind. When the air gets cold we put on thicker clothing to stay warm and when the air gets very warm, it feels good to swim. The air also holds water. When the air is dry, it can absorb water through evaporation and cool your skin. When the air is carrying more water than it can hold, it falls to the earth as precipitation. The condition of the air, (moving or calm, hot or cold, dry or laden with water) we call weather.
Unlike the trees, hills, and buildings around us, the weather dramatically changes from day to day and forces us to live accordingly. When we look at the weather through the spectacles of man’s reason as the meteorologist does we can learn some basic facts and we become aware of the awesome power that the atmosphere bears. First the sun pours forth its energy upon the earth heating the earth’s surface and the air near the surface. The warm air expands, becomes lighter, and rises. Nearby air rushes in to replace the air and we feel wind. Areas of low pressure and high pressure develop. Water from the earth evaporates and is carried with the air. Powerful rivers of air are set into motion high in the atmosphere which act as barriers to warm and cold air masses and push storms across the face of the earth. The atmosphere churns and swirls pushing tons of water into billowing thunderheads, lifting water from one place and squeezing it out to fill the rivers in another place, setting off powerful tornadoes and hurricanes in one area and flowing smoothly in another area to let the sun shine and the air grow calm.
The movements of the air with the infinite combinations of temperature, water content, pressure, and the surface features of the earth give rise to an infinite variety of weather conditions. Scientists observe patterns, develop complicated theories to explain what is happening, and try to predict what the weather will be like at a particular time and place in the near future. As creatures observing the weather we are fascinated and stand in awe of the power of storms and the beauty of cloud patterns. As believers we are inspired to “Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains,” Psalm 147:7-8.
The meteorologist also explains the importance of the atmosphere and the movement of air for the earth. It distributes water across the thirsty land for plants. It carries away dirt and pollution. It also helps to regulate the earth’s temperature to lessen the extreme heat and cold that occurs with the rotation of the earth. We will shortly see through the spectacles of Scriptures that God reveals a much more glorious purpose for the atmosphere and weather.
As with every other created thing, the weather makes known the “eternal power and Godhead” of God and leaves every man “without excuse:” Romans 1:20. Man may be able to predict and explain certain aspects of weather phenomena, but in his heart he confesses that it is God who upholds the atmosphere and the entire creation and it is He who directs the movement of each atom in the atmosphere.
Let us now leave the thermometer, barometer, hydrometer, Doppler radar, and computer models aside and turn to the Scriptures. One of the first things we see is a fundamental difference between the weather during the days of Adam and Eve and the weather we have today. Instead of rain, snow, sleet, and hail to water the earth, God sent “a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground,” Genesis 2:6b. Given the nature of pouring down of water during the Flood, it is reasonable to surmise that the earth had been surrounded, as it were, with a great bubble of water protecting it like a greenhouse. The protection God prepared for the early earth is now gone and we are exposed to the fierce interaction of the sun with the atmosphere. The atmosphere today with its storms, uneven distribution of temperature and water we have today testifies of the wrath of God against the wickedness of man. Even in the violent storm, however, God comforts His people with the rainbow, the sign of His covenant faithfulness.
As we learn more about the weather from observations and study, we are more inclined to think of the weather as something that naturally happens due to the laws of nature. When God opens our eyes, however, and we see through the spectacles of Scripture, we learn that God decrees the violent hail and every spring breeze. God so prepared Job that he often observed the weather and testified of God’s sovereign control. Job wrote in Job 28:24-27, “For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven; To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder: Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.” In response to the words of Job, Elihu also brings to our attention the Author of weather: “For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength…. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened. Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud: And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth. He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy. Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine? Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge? How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind? Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass? Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. Shall it be told him that I speak? if a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up. And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty,” Job 37:6, 10-22. From the book of Jeremiah we read, “When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures,” 51:16. In Amos 9:6 we read “It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name.” Never was this power of God revealed more clearly than in Christ, the Word of God, when He “rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm,” Matthew 8:26.
We claim to understand how the clouds are formed, but Elihu writes, “can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?” Job 36:29. Even if scientist are able to understand how clouds form and learn to predict the weather accurately, can we fathom the wisdom of God who created the atmosphere with all of its particular properties? Neither can we fathom the sovereign purpose of God as he uses even the spreading of the clouds for the gathering of His Church and for His glory.
Man with his knowledge and study is able to understand and predict the weather better than ever, but Jesus puts it all into a God glorifying perspective when he rebukes the Pharisees for paying more attention to the weather forecast and ignoring the signs for the second coming of Christ. “He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” Matthew 16:2-3. Again in Luke 12:54-56 we read “And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?” What do you and I do the first thing in the morning? Do we check the latest weather report so that we can plan our day and week or do we meditate upon God’s Word and look around us to discern the spiritual weather so that we can prepare for the Lord’s coming?
When we look to God’s Word, we see first that God has sent messengers to tell us of the return of Christ. “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,” Jude 1:14. Jesus Himself foretold His second coming in Matthew 25:31, “When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” The apostles tell us that He is coming again with an admonition “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:” 1 Tim. 6:14. The angels which came to the disciples as they gazed up after Jesus said, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,” Acts 1:11.
Just as the meteorologist knows what to look for when predicting a storm, so we know what to look for as signs that we are living in the last days before the last and final event of earth’s history. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 24:5-14, 24, 29, & 30 to watch for a number of signs: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come…. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect…. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
The signs of Christ’s coming are also seen in major weather changes, the growing violence of the weather, and corruption of the environment. We read in Rev. 7:1 “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” In Revelation 8:7 and 10 the sounding of trumpets symbolize environmental disasters that will sweep the globe: “The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. …And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters.” In Revelation 11:3-6 we read of two witnesses who will prophesy and will “have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”
Are you ready for the day of the Lord? Every time we check the thermometer or the weather report let it be a reminder to meditate upon the forecast of the Lord’s coming and prepare for that day. All the plans you make for your own satisfaction and honor in this world are like plans for a picnic that will be spoiled by a storm. Just as faithful Noah prepared the ark, so we will be prepared for the great day of our salvation.