Is winter ever mentioned in the bible? This question came to me. So I looked up the word winter in my Bible. In the New International Version, it occurs only seventeen times. God promised Noah, after the flood, that as long as the earth endured, he’d be certain to send humanity seedtime and harvest. He’d give us times of cold and heat, the seasons of summer and winter. Even day and night would never stop happening. (See Genesis 8:22.) Isn’t wonderful that we can count on the seasons to turn every year? It’s a sign of the Lord’s commitment to us.
The ancient poet who wrote Psalm 74 also considered how God watches over humanity:
It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.
Psalm 74:17 (NIV)
The psalmist praised God’s creativity, especially as it related to the seasons. The Lord made summer and winter.
And this is one reason I live in the northeastern United States. I love my seasons! One of my daughters has lived in Arizona for most of her adult life, and I love to visit her any time of year. But I’d rather live where frequently in winter the snow falls and the winds blow cold. (I know Arizona gets snow sometimes, but not often enough for me.)
With the ancient poet, I rejoice in God’s creativity.
When God was angry with Israel for its sinfulness, the seasons figured into the background. Through the prophet Amos the Almighty said:
I will tear down the winter house
along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
and the mansions will be demolished,”
declares the Lord.
Amos 3:15 (NIV)
Owning a summer and a winter house was a sign of the luxury in which many Israelites lived, but when they forgot God, they’d have to surrender their summer and winter luxuries—a warning about the season of wrath and judgment. Even Jesus used winter as a warning of impending disaster. Speaking about the end times, the Savior said, “Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath” (Mt. 24:20, NIV).
I have no idea where these thoughts are leading, except to say that winter is a gauge for human spiritual vitality, just as much as it’s a sign that changes come. In winter, one day may be dreary or rainy, snowy or sunny. The only sure thing is that tomorrow will be different. Winter weather is difficult to predict. And so is life…and judgment…and much more.
Winter teaches me to trust God better, and to be prepared for the day of judgment by the goodness of my life now.