Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Theology of Snow...

Working the dumb end of a snow shovel gives you time to think, and think and think some more because of the amazing and record amount of snow we got here in Maryland. It snowed for roughly 29 hours straight and the results are incredible. The news people were urging people to be careful saying this is a heartattack making snow storm - meaning the weight of it and the exertion of shoveling it could send you into cardiac arrest. I have to admit, I was extremely frustrated because I used to have the equipment to deal with such a storm when I was a pastor in New England - a ginormous snowblower that would cut through the worst New England blizzards had to offer like a hot knife through butter. I gave it to my lost neighbor and witnessed to him once again when we were moving to Houston. The more I shoveled by hand, the more frustrated I became because I felt like I was using a soup spoon to empty the ocean of snow blanketing my driveway.

  I was also frustrated in that this is the second weekend in a row our weekend church activities had to be postponed, rescheduled or cancelled completely because of the snow. I talked to the Lord alot about it wondering why the business world doesn't get interrupted during the week day but church does with snow on the weekend. After all, the Lord can control when this happens and I know He's not oblivous to the fact His people assemble on Sunday. Well a couple of thoughts came to mind that I thought I'd share today since we're not going anywhere soon and we aren't in church.

  First, I thought the Lord is serious about the 10 commandments, even in the 21st century. The 4th commandment is "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it Holy" (Ex.20:8). The thought occured to me that the vast majority of people in our community and nation for that matter have no regard for the Lord's Day whatsoever. The Lord helped me see how He could orchestrate it to where people had no choice but to stay home on the Lord's Day by sending enough snow to where they couldn't go anywhere - no mall, no shopping, nothing. Stay home and watch my power. Whether humans remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy or not, God still does.

  Secondly, I researched what the Bible has to say about snow and found some interesting things. Only twice in Scripture is actual snowfall recorded and these both refer to the same incident. 2nd Samuel 23:20 says "Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day." (See also 1st Chron. 11:22). This warrior was one of David's mighty men of valor. This made me thankful for our men and women of valor who work in emergency services and serve the public even in the middle of a storm. I saw police officers on patrol in my neighborhood, a fire truck drove in on a call also, not to mention the city workers plowing, and nurses & doctors caring for people at the hospital. I heard a news account of a national guard soldier who had to rescue a stranded motorist in a humvee and said it was scary driving even in a humvee. I'm sure David was thankful for Benaiah and I hope you're thankful for these modern "Benaiah's". I prayed for those firemen and policemen I saw while I was holding the dumb end of my shovel.
When the Lord was helping old Job see the reality of His might and power by asking Job if he knew of the inner workings of the universe, He said in Job 38:22-23 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or have you seen the storehouses of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?" In other words, the Lord is reminding me "there's more where this came from and I have my purposes in it." As I was shoveling with my little shovel, working for hours and barely making a dent, I bowed in my heart and mind and told the Lord I was in awe of His might, His power and His majesty. I told Him I fear Him and acknowledged how small I am and how great He is and continues to be. I thanked him for His grace and mercy in the middle of the storm and His provision for us. I guess you could say I was worshipping the Lord on the end of that shovel.
Thirdly, as I write this, the brightness of the sun and snow is overwhelming to my already squinty eyes. It's hard for me to gaze very long at it as my eyes cannot handle the brightness. It simply a reminder that our God is pure and Holy, the Scriptures describe Him this way:
Daniel 7:9 "I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire;"
Mark 9:3 "His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them." This is referring to when Jesus was transfigured in the presence of His disciples to show them a glimpes of His glory.
Revelation 1:14 "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;" This is how Jesus appeared to John the Revelator who saw Jesus in all His glory in eternity future. All of these demonstrate the purity and holiness of God.
Finally, the Scriptures share with us God's desire that we too be holy, clean and pure, like God Himself. In Psalm 51:7, after David's great sin with Bathsheeba and his murder of Uriah, He said "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Isn't that an awesome description of the cleansing power of God and the forgiveness He offers? In Isaiah 1:18 the Prophet said "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool." There is no sin you've ever committed or will commit that God cannot forgive and cleanse. (Yes - I know of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit - that's a different discussion for a different day.) 
The story is told years ago of a woman in Wales who was walking with her infant baby she had wrapped in a blanket. Sadly, an awful blizzard swept in before she could get home safely. The next day, searchers found her frozen body partially buried in the snow. They did not understand why she had no clothes on when they found her but as they lifted her frozen body, they found a blanket and to their shock, they found that infant child, wrapped snuggly in his mother's clothes and blanket alive and well. She used her own clothing and body warmth to shield and protect that child so that he might live. In the midst of the tragedy of a white out blizzard, life was found because of the sacrifice and amazing love of a dedicated mother. That's how our sins can be made white as snow, because Jesus laid down His life, shed His blood and covered us so that we might be saved. There's great theology to be found in snow. Theology is simply the study of God, so while we're snowed think about the lessons you can learn in studying God via the teaching tool of snow. Something to think about, from my snowed in corner of the world to yours....

  Pastor Ralph Green
Senior Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church

Posted via email from Pastor Ralph

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