Vol. 5, No. 4
~ Page 11 ~
According to Richmond's local newspaper, we have had twelve days in which measurable snow has fallen on our ground this winter. For the uninformed, that is well above average. We have seen many snowfalls since moving to the Old Dominion, including two meteorologists dubbed "blizzards," and to this point I have refrained from even writing on the subject. Today, that changes.
Did you know that the Bible references the word "snow" at least twenty-one times (24 in the KJV)? The considerable majority of these occurrences are in the Old Testament. Several interesting attributes, both literal and figurative, about it are used by the Holy Spirit to teach spiritual lessons.
The Bible takes note of the COLOR of snow. It is difficult to imagine snow without thinking of its color. Often implied and occasionally stated outright, the brightness and whiteness of snow is used to depict leprosy (cf. Exodus 4:6) and also the white, clean appearance of the soul brought on by forgiveness (Psalm 51:7; cf. Isaiah 1:18; Daniel 7:9; Matthew 28:3; Mark 9:3; Revelation 1:14).
The Bible takes note of the CHALLENGE of snow (2 Samuel 23:20). Try walking, much less running, in deep snow. Having been nearly stranded in a recent winter storm, I regained appreciation for how difficult it is to travel in the white stuff. It was in a snowy pit that Benaiah, one of David's mighty men, was able to kill a lion. How often has this short story been used, rightly, to illustrate how the faithful can rise to the challenge of personal adversity and be victorious?
The Bible takes note of the CLEANNESS of snow (Job 9:30; Lamentations 4:7). Acid rain and environmental pollutions of today notwithstanding, in the days of ancient Job the snow fell unfiltered by smoke stacks and industrial waste cleanly to the ground. Modern versions' translation of "soap" notwithstanding, Clarke, Harris, Archer and Waltke, the B-D-B-G Hebrew lexicon, among others, hold to the traditional translation of "snow" suggested elsewhere in the Old Testament by the Hebrew word. Snow was thought to be a purifying agent, purer than ordinary water. "Mr. Good supposes that there is an allusion here to the ancient rite of washing the hands in token of innocence (cf. Ps. 26:6)" (Adam Clarke).
The Bible takes note of the CREATOR of snow (Job 37:6). Elihu points to the snow as proof of intelligent design. The orchestrated turn of events that causes snow to fall in season (see below) enhances awe for the Divine. Isaiah notes the "snow from heaven" (55:10).
The Bible takes note of the COLLECTION of snow (Job 37:6; 38:22ff). One of the key words for which we listen in forecasts is "snowfall accumulations." We want to know, how much is it going to snow? You have missed work or school due to snow (especially this year and especially here in the south where even snow flurries brings everything to a standstill). It is a mystery of God's power how snow collects as it does.
The Bible takes note of the COLD of snow (Proverbs 25:13). The time it takes to realize how cold the snow is varies -- it takes adults no time and children forever! Solomon speaks of kindness being as refreshing as a cold snow in the ordinarily warm or even hot climate of harvest time.
The Bible takes note of the CLIMATE of snow (Proverbs 26:1). Snow should not fall in the summer. I remember being on a mountain in Colorado in September and one in Vermont in May and seeing snow, but not July. While snow has fallen in the coldest climates of earth twelve months out of the year, that is a global anomaly. Untimely snow is used figuratively to speak of things that make no sense.
The Bible takes note of the CONCERN of snow (Proverbs 31:21). That is, snow creates concern. The virtuous woman is not afraid of its potential damage, but the unprepared have been devastated by it. In every major snowstorm, including those of this winter, we expect to hear of a certain number of fatalities. Like many of God's natural wonders, there are dangers attached.
God teaches lessons to us through the simplest, most ordinary things. As the snow falls today and you growl and grit your teeth, stop and praise God for this marvel. Just don't let anybody hear you sing, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."
I believe the headlines say it all; "How to Have the Most Romantic Night Ever," "Tonight Will Last Forever," "Sex -- It's Your Call." These are the messages being marketed to teens regarding the age-old high school tradition called the Prom. These are the headlines of such magazines as Seventeen, Young & Modern and Modern Bride which all published special issues promoting the prom. I believe that these popular teen magazines are sending our young people some rather disturbing messages about priorities as well as sexuality. Ultimately, it is the place of the parents to decide if their children should attend the prom. This article is intended to bring to light some things parents as well as young people ought to have considered.
First of all, there is the issue of dancing that must be considered. Is dancing wrong? Not necessarily. There is no sin in moving one's feet to the rhythm of music. Not all dancing involves indecent dress, unchaste contact or illicit movement. In fact, the Bible records instances when righteous men danced as an expression of their joy (1 Chronicles 15:25-29). However, dancing that calls for close bodily contact between unmarried males and females is wrong. Dancing that involves indecent and suggestive bodily movements is wrong. And dancing that involves impure handling of a dance partner is wrong. The kind of dancing that God's Word condemns is the kind of dancing that stirs one to have impure thoughts, and act in impure ways.
But now, that's where we have a problem. The appeal of most dancing that takes place today is sex. I've flipped the channels this past week and saw first hand the kind of dancing that took place at one of our local proms. What I saw was more than innocent fun. Now again, there is nothing wrong with sexual attraction. In fact, it is quite natural and God created. However, that attraction must be kept within proper bounds. It should not be tantalized or it will very likely get out of hand. Unmarried people who have no legitimate means to fulfill their sexual desires need to be extremely careful to avoid any situation that could feed or flame such desires. While it is true that the Bible does not say, "Thou shalt not dance," it does say that those who practice "reveling" and "licentiousness" shall not enter the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Dancing is included in all the definitions of "reveling" that I have consulted. Let your decision in this matter reflect the Lordship of Christ in your life.
Second, there is an issue of modesty. Many of the dresses that are worn at the prom are "short at both ends." I've been in the presence of young girls who were bragging about how low-cut their dresses were. We need to remember Paul's admonition concerning modesty in 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Clothing that exposes and/or emphasizes those parts of the body that produce lust in the hearts of men and women is certainly inappropriate. What is the message of the clothing worn to the prom? Does it profess your sexuality, tease and entice, or does it profess godliness? Now, I know that not all the dresses worn to the prom are immodest, but I also know that many are. Let your decision in this matter reflect the Lordship of Christ in your life.
Third, there is an issue of priority. Is being at the "in" place, and having the approval and acceptance of your peers more important than your commitment to Christ? Is your desire for peer acceptance stronger than your desire for God's acceptance? I've heard parents speak and act as though their children will be scarred for life if they don't attend the prom. Friends, the prom is only one night out of an entire lifetime of events -- and there is life without the prom. One of the things in particular that disturbs me about the prom is that young Christians will go to dance, spend all night with their date at the after prom, come home the next morning (which happens to the be Lord's day), and find themselves too exhausted, because of their carousing, to go to worship or truly worship in spirit the one who shed his blood for their redemption. Do we really think such actions will be excused simply because "It's the Prom?"
The intent of this article has not been to make a decision for you. I haven't the desire nor the power to do this. The decision must be yours. God has given you an intellect and the power of discernment. But I will make this recommendation. Young people, keep the commitment that you made to the Lord. Guard your heart and mind from "fleshly lusts that war against your soul" (1 Peter 2:11). And to parents, help your son or daughter in making decisions that may affect their eternal destiny. Sometimes, because of the tremendous peer pressure they are under, you need you to say "no" for them. Help them to make Christ-focused decisions that will bring honor to God.