As with a good chunk of our nation, we got dumped on pretty heavily this past Saturday night and all day Sunday. I haven’t yet heard the total snowfall accumulation in our community, but a couple hours in the driveway with snow blower and shovel tell me it was significant enough. That part of a winter storm isn’t so nice.
But the view out my window this morning is beautiful. Heavy, wet snow covers the trees, frozen in place by temps well below freezing. Drifts encroach on the windows and doors. The sun glistens off of the snow like myriads of sparkling diamonds. The dreary, drab browns of late last week have given way to a blanket of fresh, pristine snow. And my mind drifts to a few places where God talks about snow in the Bible.
I’m reminded that the snow is on the ground today because the other night the Lord said, “Be on the ground.” Elihu reminded the suffering Job of God’s sovereign control: “God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth…” [Job 37:5-6a]. The Psalmist concurs: “He gives snow like wool; he scatters the frost like ashes” [Psalm 147:16]. Are you, with me, tempted to grumble a little bit about that? Oh, not this morning looking out my window on the spectacular beauty, but yesterday struggling even with a snow blower to clear the drive? I need to be careful. In fact, the snowfall should be a prompt to praise, for the snow fulfills His word! Again the Psalmist: “Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!” [Psalm 148:7-8].
Snow is appropriate for January in northwest Illinois, isn’t it? Sure, in the past we’ve had some spring-like temperatures in January in this neck of the woods, and we delighted in the unexpected surprise. But twelve inches of snow? Well, that’s a great deal of snow, but no big surprise; it’s quite fitting, actually. Then this text comes to mind: “Like snow in summer…so honor is not fitting for a fool” [Proverbs 26:1].
The prophet Isaiah draws a parallel between snow and the Bible: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Today’s dozen or so inches of beauty will soon enough melt and soak into the ground, which will later help nourish our gardens and the thousands of acres of corn and soybeans. Likewise, the chapters read in this morning’s devotional hour will produce some desired fruit by the Sower of the seed.
Isaiah offers another image of snow, one that comes to David’s mind, too, after his horrific sins in the “Bathsheba Affair.” “Purge me with hyssop,” he begs, “and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” [Psalm 51:7]. The Lord through Isaiah offers an invitation for such cleansing, as He implores, “Come now, and let us reason together…: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall become like wool” [Isaiah 1:18]. Looking within, I find this to be a wonderful invitation; looking at the Lord and His offer, I find Him to be a glorious, gracious God!
Finally, the brilliance out my window reminds me of Jesus Christ. In the final book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ to John, Jesus appears to the aged apostle in a spectacular sight. “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me,” John writes, “and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.”
To be honest, I wasn’t giving much thought to snow as a metaphor yesterday, huffing and puffing with shovel and machine. But this morning, looking at the beauty out my window, I can think of little else.