Our opportunity to observe a true snow day in the Deep South is a rare occasion, so naturally when the land is covered in a nice blanket of frozen precipitation, it occupies a great deal of our thought and attention.
One might be surprised to look through the landscape of the Bible and find snow. It actually does snow in Israel as it did in ancient Judea, the land of the Bible. Jerusalem had a major snowstorm (albeit rare) last January. And just as anywhere, the higher peaks are capped with snow (take for example, the Hermon range). The beauty of snow certainly captured the minds of the inspired writers of Scripture. Below are a few places in Scripture where snow is found and some implications of those texts.
We are to enjoy Creation.
There is perhaps no more joyful sight or sound on the day of a new and good snow than children giggling and playing in the powdery playground.
Barring a few curmudgeons, many become like children when it snows. This is good. God created His creation good (Genesis 1:31), reveals Himself through his creation (Romans 1:20, Psalm 19), and will redeem His creation (Romans 8:20-21).
The goodness of Creation is meant to lead us to its good Creator. It’s impossible to look at creation and not perceive something about the One who created it. Anything short of that is idolatry.
God is in charge.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. – Job 37:6
7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! – Psalm 148:7-8
The individual with a biblically-informed faith does not believe in a “Mother Nature.” There is only a Sovereign and good Creator Father God Who not only spoke the universe in to being but governs its laws.
It snows on the just and the unjust.
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. – Matthew 5:44-45
Though this passage does not explicitly mention snow, the truth remains the same. In this passage found in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds us that the weather is something that is common to all. Good weather or bad weather is not necessarily a sign of God’s judgment (though it may be). The reminder is to pray for our enemies, even those who are persecuting us, because we share with them the common experience of life. The hope is that we would all become Sons of God. Prayer and good or inclement weather certainly are ingredients that may lead many to faith.
For our enemies, they may perceive one thing or the other about the weather, but the faithful are to be mindful to be prepared for weather and not shocked in to disillusionment. We are instead to be like the righteous woman found in Proverbs 31(a passage that does mention snow):
She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. – Proverbs 31:21
The forgiveness of God is all-covering.
“Come now, 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 become like wool. – Isaiah 1:8
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. – Psalm 51:7
These are, perhaps, some of the most beautiful passages in scripture. Think of how appropriate it is for snow to represent the grace of God in His forgiveness of a sinful mankind. The first passage is a statement from The Lord through Isaiah the prophet reminding His people, if they trust Him, he will remove the red stain of sin (impossible to get out) and make us as pure as snow.
The second is from the pen of David as he repents of his sins with Bathsheba. It is very similar to the Isaiah passage. Though there is no mention of “crimson” there may very well be an implicit reference to blood and the removal of sins. We can look back to the Passover in Exodus 12 and find it was a branch of hyssop the Israelites were to use to paint the blood of the lamb over the doorframe of their homes to keep their family safe from harm. We can look forward to John 19:29 when sour wine is placed on a hyssop branch to be raised to the mouth of the dying Lamb, that John’s gospel reminds us “takes away the sins of the world (1:29).”
The depth of the grace of God and the shedding of the blood of the Lamb has removed our sins and washed us as white, as pure, as clean as new fallen snow.
There’s no doubt the hymn writer James Nicholson had this in mind in 1872 when he penned:
The blessing by faith, I receive from above;
O glory! my soul is made perfect in love;
My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know,
The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow.
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Even the winds … obey Him
And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?” – Matthew 8:27
In this passage the disciples are astonished as a sleeping Jesus rises to quiet the winds and the waves that had been threatening their fishing boat as well as their lives. The answer to this question is simply: this is no mere man, but instead this man is one with the God Who created everything. He is the Sovereign Lord of the Universe that John 1:3 tells us “all things were made through Him.”
That is why in his perfect life, his atoning and substitutionary death, and Resurrection He becomes both the just and the justifier (Romans 3:26). It is why His blazing purity in judgment can be seen in the Apostle John’s description in Revelation 1:14 (mirroring the Judge of Daniel 7:9 – 10):
The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire – Revelation 1:14
His Word will accomplish its purpose.
10 “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,
11 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. – Isaiah 55:10-11
Many recall the last portion of verse 11, little remembering the illustration set forth in verse 10.
As the snow melts and waters the earth, we can be reminded that God’s word will settle and melt in to our consciences and bring back to Him the results for which He has sent it.
However, unlike the snow, the earth, and everything in it, His word will never melt and pass away. All the snow in Georgia (except a few peaks) will be gone by Monday, but God’s word, and His promises remain.
That is why the hymn writer John Newton wrote the original last stanza to the hymn we call ‘Amazing Grace’:
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forebear to shine,
But God Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.