This month, we are reminded once again of God’s covenant faithfulness to us, his people, in the changing of the seasons. For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, this year the first day of Spring will be March 21st. Genesis 8:22 records God’s covenant promise to Noah regarding the seasons. “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” For the first two thousand years of history, the whole earth was one climate. Man did not experience the blessing of the seasons before the Flood. One of the lasting effects of the Flood was the creation of the seasons.
When I think about the changing of the seasons, I am reminded of stanza 3 of Psalter 286 where we sing:
The seasons are fixed by wisdom divine,
The slow changing moon shows forth God’s design;
The sun in his circuit his Maker obeys,
And running his journey hastes not nor delays.
What a comfort this stanza, and all of Psalter 286, gives us as God’s children. It reminds us of the sovereignty of our faithful creator over all things including the changing of the seasons. God sent the cold, wet, snowy, dark days of winter to remind us of the curse of sin and death that the world apart from Jesus Christ experiences. Now he sovereignly causes the changes of the moon so that according to his will the seasons change from winter to spring.
Concerning the beauty of the spring season, God inspired King Solomon to write: “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell” (Song of Solomon 2:11-13a). Spring is indeed a beautiful season. Everyone seems to acknowledge this, but we as children of God see the glory of our creator and heavenly Father when we observe though the eyeglasses of faith the beauty of the springtime flowers, the green grass, and the tiny buds on the trees forming into green leaves.
Although year after year we marvel at the beauty of the springtime, we still must remind ourselves that because of Adam’s fall into sin, the most beautiful scenery is under the curse. When Adam fell into sin, God placed the whole creation under the curse. In Genesis 3:17-18, God told Adam that the ground was cursed for his sake and it would bring forth thorns and thistles. Providing for the needs of his family would be so difficult for Adam, that in sorrow he would eat of the crops of the field for the rest of his earthly life. After the Flood, God lifted some of the harshness of this curse off the ground when he created the seasons (Gen. 8:21-22).
Because of the curse, each springtime is just a dim reflection of the eternal springtime of heaven. This is what causes us as children of God to watch with great joy the seasons change from winter to spring. As the creation slowly comes to new life, we are reminded of the new life God has given to each of us whom He has regenerated. We are also led to think of that day when God calls us to close our eyes in death and open our eyes to the glory of heaven. Now we see the glory of each spring gradually take place. When we are brought to our eternal home we will instantly see the full glory of heaven.
We must also think of the end of the world. Even now, the springtime of heaven is not as glorious as it will be when Christ returns as king of this creation to gather his church to himself and to destroy the creation and the wicked world by fire. He will create a new heaven and earth which will be far more glorious than the creation we live in now. Christ revealed this to the apostle John in a vision. Concerning this vision, John writes, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1). The new heaven and earth will be far more glorious than they are now, and even more glorious than they were before Adam fell into sin. There will be no need for the sun and moon, for the glory of God through Jesus Christ will be the light of the new heaven and earth. This new creation will be glorious because there will be no more sin and death, and all of God’s people will be together enjoying perfect fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.
Thinking on these things, let us rejoice in the springtime of this year and every year until we are called to leave the wintertime of this earth and enter the springtime of heaven. As we observe the new life in the creation, let us rejoice as we are led to think about the new life we enjoy in part now and will soon fully enjoy in the new heaven and earth forever.