“Stand Still, and Consider”

How often do you talk about the weather? This is often one of the first things we comment on when greeting someone or the most common topic at work. Yet, how often do we think of the one who sends that weather to us? Of the one who forms those clouds, moving them where He wills, commanding them to provide rain or snow, a shadow of darkness, or to vanish and let the light shine down on us. God reminds us of His unmeasurable greatness and power in the weather through the words of Elihu to Job in Job 36 and 37.

Have you ever been cloud gazing and watched as a cloud goes from resembling an elephant, to the form of a dragon, which then dissipated into nothing? Have you observed the dark clouds of a storm coming in and felt the heaviness of it press around you as it grows in its looming properties? You see the brilliant lightning flash between the earth and sky and wait for the rumbling sound of the thunder to fill the space around you. Job 36:29 “Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?” Job 36:33 “The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.” The deep, rolling thunder strikes a certain fear with its great noise. Elihu expresses what many of us feel when a storm comes over our homes: “at this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place” (Job 37:1).

Elihu reaches further into the topic of thunder and lightning telling Job, “Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth. After it a voice roareth: he thundreth with the voice of his excellency: and he will not stay them when his voice is heard. God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend” (Job 37:2-5). The hand of God in a storm, commanding the lightning to shine and the thunder to sound, all the while controlling each drop of rain to fall exactly where he wills it, is so much for us to comprehend all at once. We can only stand in amazement at the power of God expressed in a storm. “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” (Job 37:11-12).

God causes the water to evaporate and rise up from the earth and form fluffy, white clouds in the sky. He combines these vapors to form rain drops which then fall down upon the earth again, splashing into the cement, off umbrellas, and onto our windshields. “For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof; Which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly” (Job 37:27-28). God waters the plants so they grow and bear fruit which we can gather and eat. He replenishes the rivers, making them full and giving of life. “For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance”  (Job 37:31).

Those who experience a winter season, we must remember in all our complaints about the weather, God gave us this weather with purpose. It is part of His will to give us a winter. Look at the snow and the beautiful designs of the frost and see God’s beauty and handiwork. It is God who designed each snowflake and formed the pattern of that frost which runs across the window and covers the ground. “For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength. He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work….Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north. By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened” (Job 37:6-7, 9-10). When there is a big storm we close our schools. If road conditions are exceptionally bad, our work places may close. We are forced to pause from our busy routines of life and take a look around us. We hear God saying to us “…stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14).

Kate Doezema

Signs of the Times

We have seen lately what a huge role weather forecasting plays in our lives. There have been deadly tornadoes in parts of the Midwest and especially in the South. Relaying all of the information connected with these storms is an immense task that meteorologists face. Even when the weather isn’t as dire as that, we still depend on forecasts to plan our days so that we know what we should wear, whether we will be able to exercise or do work outside, or just so we know whether or not we will have a pleasant day. As vital as this service may seem to us, it is even more important that we know what the signs of the times are and how we should live in these last, evil days. “And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment” (1 Chronicles 12:32). David had men in his army and also among the government officials of that time who analyzed current events and knew how the children of Israel should react to them and what was the proper perspective to have of what went on within the nation of Israel as well as the surrounding kingdoms such as the Philistines and Edomites. In the New Testament Jesus showed the Pharisees that their priorities were wrong in this regard when they asked Him for a sign from heaven. “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 lowring. 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). Jesus was not condemning their weather forecasting skills. We have a similar proverb today “Red sky at night/ sailor’s delight, red sky at morning/ sailor’s sure warning.” His issue, rather, was the fact that the Pharisees were more interested in and focused on what the weather was going to do than what the word of God commanded them regarding how they should live, or what they should look out for in this world as far as wickedness is concerned. As we look at the spiritual weather forecast, the picture is very dark indeed. It looks very stormy and seems to be ready to explode soon. Matthew 24 talks about persecution, war, and the increase in frequency and severity of natural disasters, as well as the breakdown of the family and society in general. We see this in regard to the acceptance of abortion and homosexuality, the power of the labor unions, the recent takeover of Crimea by Russia, and many other events that make us deeply nervous about the way this world is heading. There are signs in the church such as women serving as ministers and officebearers that also tend to put us as Christians on edge. But not everything is as dark and despairing as it would seem to be. Another one of the signs Jesus lists in Matthew 24 is that the gospel is being preached throughout the whole world(verse 14). God is gathering His church through all of this, small in number though it may be. There certainly will be increasing persecution in this world, both by the wicked and by the false church as well. But if we, by God’s grace and Holy Spirit watch for these signs, and like David’s men, analyze them from a Biblical perspective, we will have the comfort, joy and, peace that seek in this life. “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
Kevin Rau