The call came at 4:30 in the morning: “Due to inclement weather, all schools will be closed.” Snow Day! For all the children in town (and their teachers like me), this was unexpected news, and a delight. Interestingly, there was a snow day here one year ago on this very same day. So, it seems both auspicious and appropriate to take some time to reflect on snow and what God tells us about himself through it. Snow is infrequently mentioned in scripture which probably comes as no surprise given the climate of the middle east is not very conducive to that type of weather. Nevertheless, snow does fall in Palestine, particularly in the highland areas and on mountain tops (you can go skiing on Mt. Hermon in Israel). Though the references are few, there are several ways in which God uses snow to remind us about himself.
The first of these is that God is a provider. Elihu, one of Job’s friends, extols the greatness of God and recognizes that He is the one who sends water down to the earth: “For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour…By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. He loads the thick cloud with moisture”. (Job 37:7,10-11) A chapter later in Job, when God is challenging the wisdom of Job and his friends he asks them, “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,” (Job 38:22) and asks them who it is who brings water to the desert which brings forth the grass.
Not only does God provide for physical needs, but he meets our spiritual needs as well through the scripture which is effective in accomplishing his purposes. He says to Isaiah, “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, 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)
In addition to reminding us of God’s provision, there are several passages of scripture in which snow is used to refer to God’s purity and holiness. In Daniel’s vision of heaven, he reports that, “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool.” (Daniel 7:9) The apostle gives a similar account of Jesus after his resurrection when, “His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.” (Matthew 28:3) Then again in John’s vision of heaven he sees Jesus, of whom he says, “The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.” (Revelation 1:14)
As one who is pure, and one who provides, God does not keep his holiness to himself. He has made it possible for those who call upon him to become holy as well. As King David came before God with a repentant heart after his great sin, he trusted that God is able to “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7) This is not just the hope for David, but it is the hope God provides for any who will turn toward him. “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 1:18).
So, before I go out and start shoveling all this snow, I will strive to recall what God wants me to remember about him in the snow: He is a provider who accomplishes his purposes. He is pure and desires to purify my soul.