Rev. John Farmer’s ‘Reflections’

by Rev. John H. Farmer
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What can we do about the weather?

Nothing; there is nothing we can do about the weather.

A few weeks ago, after a full Santa term, our family Christmas, an IBC youth-team outing to Tennessee, our annual church meeting and so forth, we made plans to escape the February weather by taking a short jaunt to Florida.

So, this past week we hopped aboard a southbound plane to the sunny south, leaving winter here at home.

You guessed it; the weather was better here than in Florida.

Let’s nibble the book about the weather. What does the Bible say about snow?

In Exodus 4:6 it’s used to describe the dread disease leprosy. The verse states: “Furthermore the Lord said to him, ‘Now put your hand in your bosom.’ And he put his hand in his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, like snow.” What is the name of the man who was afflicted with leprosy for an ever-so-brief period of time on his hand?

Moses, and this is the first mention of leprosy in the Bible. Exodus 4 tells of the Lord instructing a reluctant Moses to go to Egypt and appeal to the Pharaoh and seek the release of the Israelites from their bondage. According to scripture, Moses was reluctant to embark on the assignment for fear the Israelites in Egypt would not believe that he had been instructed by the Lord to seek their liberation. Moses was in Midian at the time, the land he fled to after he killed an unnamed Egyptian, as per Exodus 2:1-11.

Many who hate snow might relish the comparison to leprosy.

What about the wind?

The 19th chapter of First Kings states that the Lord commanded Elijah (Old Testament prophet of God) to stand on a mountain while a devastating windstorm that “tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces” took place. As if this wasn’t enough; the windstorm was followed by an earthquake and the earthquake followed by fire. Finally, after all this, Elijah heard a “still small voice.” All this took place after his spectacular victory over 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and the end of an extended drought (18th chapter of 1 Kings). The 19th chapter begins by telling of Elijah fleeing from Jezebel and ending up “a day’s journey in the wilderness.” After the windstorm, the earthquake, the fire and the “still small voice,” Elijah received various instructions from the Lord, including one to contact Elisha, the son of Shaphat.

In John 3:8, we have this quote from Jesus: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” To whom did Jesus make the statement?

He made the statement to Nicodemus after he talked with him at night, in the third chapter of John. In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus he must be born again and Nicodemus asks in verse 4, “how can a man be born when he is old?” and “how can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb?”

In John 3:5-8, Jesus continues: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Jesus goes on to make his eternal declaration in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” That declaration is foundation of the evangelical Christian movement.

Floods abound throughout the normally arid American west lately.

God sent Noah a rainbow as a promise of no more flooding in Genesis 9:13. That was the first recorded rainbow in the Bible. God not only sent Noah this promise, but he also sent it to the rest of the land to show that he would not destroy the Earth with rains anymore. The story of Noah and the flood began in the sixth chapter of Genesis.

I once read that famed British preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892) “was walking through the English countryside with a friend. As they strolled along, the evangelist noticed a barn with a weather vane on its roof. At the top of the vane were these words: God is love. Spurgeon remarked to his companion that he thought this was a rather inappropriate place for such a message. “Weather vanes are changeable,” he said, “but God’s love is constant.”

“I don’t agree with you about those words, Charles,” replied his friend. “You misunderstood the meaning. That sign is indicating a truth: Regardless of which way the wind blows, God is love.”

Whether or not we like or agree about the weather, God’s still in charge, especially when we don’t understand.