John T. Willis

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


A very severe struck West Texas beginning on the evening of 31 January 2011. For the past two days, we have been stranded in our house. All the schools have closed. Numerous roads are blocked off. Everything has come to a standstill. The news reports that this same set of conditions exists throughout much of the United States. Many cannot travel by plane. Snow is very beautiful. We enjoy watching the snow. It is fun to make a snowman.

The Bible refers to snow in various ways--literally and figuratively. The Hebrew word for snow is sheleg, which occurs 20 times in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek word for snow is chion, which occurs 3 times in the New Testament. Here are a few observations about these passages.

1. The composer of Psalm 148:7-8 summons snow and frost on earth to praise Yahweh:
"Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, SNOW and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!"

Similarly, the author of Psalm 147:15-18 declares that Yahweh gives snow on the earth.
"He [Yahweh] sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives SNOW like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs--
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow."

2. Elihu proclaims:
"God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
For to the SNOW he says, 'Fall on the earth';
and the shower of rain, his heavy shower of rain,
serves as a sign on everyone's hand,
so that all whom he has made may know it.
Then the animals go into their lairs
and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn round and round by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction, or for his land,
or form love, he causes it to happen." (Job 37:5-13).

Similarly, Yahweh questions Job these embarrassing questions:
"Have you entered the storehouses of the SNOW,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war." (Job 38:22-23).

In these passages, the biblical composers depict Yahweh as a banker, who doles our tons of snow out of his heavenly storehouses to do whatever Yahweh has in mind. Snow is purposeful. Yahweh might send snow to correct or punish sinners, or to give water and nutrition on the land, or stopped or change wars or troubles on earth, or demonstrate his love for humanity.

3. Proverbs 25:13 compares fresh snow with faithful messengers:
"Like the cold of SNOW in the time of harvest
are faithful messengers to those who send them;
they refresh the spirit of their masters."

4. Isaiah 55:10-11 compares snow with the refreshing word of God for humanity.
"For as the rain and the SNOW come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall MY [Yahweh's] WORD be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it."

5. Exodus 4:6; Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27 portray snow as the skin of a leper.

6. The purity of snow is a symbol of Yahweh's forgiveness of sin. Job 9:30; Psalm
51:7; Isaiah 1:18. The psalmist's prayer of confession in Psalm 51:7 is striking and memorable.
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than SNOW."

7. Matthew 28:3 says the clothing of the angel at Jesus's tomb after Jesus' resurrection was like snow. Mark 9:3 says that Jesus' clothes were white as snow at this transfiguration. Revelation 1:14 says the head and hair were white as snow.

The other references to snow are: 2 Samuel 23:20; 1 Chronicles 11:22; Job 6:16;
24:19; Proverbs 26:1; 31:21; Jeremiah 18:14; Lamentations 4:7.

I hope YOU enjoy, stand in awe of, and appreciate snow. Snow is one of God's marvelous gifts. As we observe snow, receive blessings from snow, and enjoy snow, let us be thankful to the God of all creation and glorify him.

Share YOUR ideas and dreams with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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