God's Weather Forecast
God's Thunderbolts and Hailstones.
Thunderbolts and lightning are indications of power and might. Not just any power and might, but GOD'S POWER AND MIGHT!!
"The Lord thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
He shot his arrows and scattered
the enemies, great BOLTS OF LIGHTNING
and routed them."
In our series we have seen God expressing himself in dew, clouds, rain, storms, stars and earthquakes. Now we turn our attention briefly to thunder and lightning.
In watching the evening news there is always a segment on the weather. Like we now bring you the weather forecast. Well, that is what we have in the Scriptures as we turn to Matthew 16:2,3 it is a weather forecast.:
After the Pharisees and Sadducees asked for a sign, Jesus said, "When evening comes, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red, and in the morning, 'Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times."
The weather forecast is also seen in Acts 27, where Paul explains to the captain of a ship regarding the weather conditions and perceives that the voyage will be dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. This was also believe to be the 10th day of the 7th month, the day of atonement, about October 1. This time of the year the Mediterranean was very tempestuous. To sail after this feast was proverbially dangerous among ancient Jews.
Not only is there the weather forecast, the weather has been affected by prayer.
Look at 1 Kings 18:41ff:
"And Elijah said to Ahab, 'Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.' So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 'Go and look toward the sea,' he said. Seven times Elijah said, 'Go back.' The seventh time the servant reported, 'A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea.' So Elijah said, 'Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.' Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezrel."
In James 5:17-18 the reference is:
"Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops."
However, at this time we are speaking regarding LIGHTNING, THUNDER and HAIL. These factors or elements were very much common in winter storms both in Syria and in Palestine. As Job expresses (37:1-4)
"At this my heart pounds and leaps from its place. Listen! Listen to the roar of his voice, to the rumbling that comes from his mouth. He unleashes his lightning beneath the whole heaven and sends it to the ends of the earth. After that comes the sound of his roar; he thunders with his majestic voice. When his voice resounds, he holds nothing back. God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding."
The results from lightning is a discharge between clouds or clouds and the earth. Job again (40:9)
>"Do you have an arm like God's and can your voice thunder like his?"
Often times when this discharge occurs there is that element known as HAIL, which we will look at further in a moment.
Job again (38:22)
"Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of THE HAIL?"
Job says that God has made a decree for the lightning and the thunder. David says
(2 Samuel 22:13,14,15)
"Out of the brightness of his presence BOLTS OF LIGHTNING blazed forth. The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He shot arrows and scattered the enemies, BOLTS OF LIGHTNING and routed them."
We can't deny the fact that (according to the Bible) God has sent thunderbolts and lightning as punishment.
I cite: Ex. 9:23
1 Sam. 7:10
We can't deny the fact that (according to the Bible) God has sent thunderbolts and Lightning as a sign.
1 Sam. 12:18
Rev. 4:5; 16:18
For the student "into" the subject of lightning there are other significant scriptures, i.e. Ex. 19:16; 20:18; 2 Sam. 22:15; Job 37:3; 8:35.and the words in Psalm 18:14; Nahum 2:4; Matt. 24:27; Rev. 4:5
In a study of God's thunderbolts, I have divided them into two parts.
1. In the Past
2. In the Future
1. In the Past
A The Terror Coming
Exodus 9:22-26; (seventh plague) vs. 27 there is finally a confession.
"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt - on men and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.' When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent THUNDER AND HAIL, AND LIGHTNING FLASHED down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; HAIL FELL AND LIGHTNING FLASHED BACK AND FORTH It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation."
B. The Law Coming
Exodus 19:16 (meeting with God) vs. 19 people stricken with terror. Notice the thunder, lightning, thick cloud and the long, loud trumpet:
"On the morning of the third day there was THUNDER AND LIGHTNING, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast."
C. THE VOICE COMING
"Then a voice came from heaven, 'I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." The crowd that was there and heard it said it had THUNDERED; others said an angel had spoken to him."
2. In the Future
A. The Second Coming
"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as LIGHTNING that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."
B. The Judgment Coming
Isaiah 29:6 - relates to the fate of Jerusalem
"Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord Almighty will come with THUNDER and earthquake and great noise, with windstorms and tempest and flames of a devouring fire."
1 Samuel 12:16-18 - relates to the people asking for a king.
Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes! Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call upon the Lord to send THUNDER and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the Lord when you asked for a king. Then Samuel called upon the Lord, and that same day the Lord sent THUNDER and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel
The mention of hail storms is found in Ex. 9:23; Josh. 10:11; Ps. 18:13; Isa. 28:2 and Ezek. 13:11 with Rev. 8:7.
We mentioned hail storms in the Bible, but for a review look at hail storms in somewhat modern history. It's weight? Would you believe 114 pounds? In fact the U.S. records that in 1928 there was hail measuring 17 inches across and weighing 1 1/2 pounds. In 1926, the place was Spain where there were hail stones weighing 4 1/2 pounds To go further back, in 1510 there fell 1,200 stones from 1 to 120 pounds near Padva, Italy.
On December 13, 1795 a 50 pound hailstone fell in Yorkshire. History records that in Verona in the year 1762 there were some weighing 200 pounds. That just freezes up my mind! April 26, 1803 several hailstones between 10 and 17 pounds fell in Normandy. Now what I have listed are some very damaging hail stones.
But ponder on these quotes regarding HAILSTONES
Central Plains Storm Produced Largest Hailstone in U.S. History
August 1, 2003 A raging thunderstorm that pounded south-central Nebraska last month ended up leaving a little something extra for residents–and the meteorological record books. The largest hailstone ever recovered in the United States fell in Aurora on June 22, with a record 7-inch diameter and a circumference of 18.75 inches.
"Were it not for the quick thinking of local residents, who found the hailstone and kept it from melting, we would have not known it existed," said Jay Lawrimore, who chairs the committee.
The old record for the largest hailstone had a diameter of 5.7 inches, a circumference of 17.5 inches and was found in Coffeyville, Kan., on September 3, 1970.
Lawrimore added that the Aurora hailstone didn't break the record for the heaviest hailstone. "It was hard for us to get an accurate weight for this stone because a chunk of it hit the gutter of a house and 40 percent of it was lost," he said. "We also think some of the stone's mass might have melted before it was preserved in freezing conditions."
Hail storms are also recorded not just in our modern day history books, but in the Bible - Exodus, chapter 9 There, HAIL did appear from God.
Then there are the words in Joshua 10:11
"As they fled before Israel,...the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites."
Now, to be fair in scriptural information regarding HAIL there are the hail stones of prophecy. In the Revelation hail is mentioned in the first trumpet, the seventh trumpet, seventh vial and in the Battle of Armageddon.
I must pose the question. Why not today? I mean can't God speaks today as He did in days gone past. Times when He, literally, in fact, SHOT His thunderbolts - lightning as we have read above. Then there are the words in Isa. 30:30,
"The Lord will cause men to hear
his majestic voice and will make
them see his arm coming down with
raging anger and consuming fire,
with cloudburst, thunderstorm
For example, is it unfair to make this statement? So there is this church sitting on the edge of a town. Building wise it is a monument to the architect. But all of a sudden lighting strikes the building. It is a church building. Other nearby building built similarly even with "steeple like construction" are not phased by the lightning bolts. The posed question is as we hear someone exclaim: "Oh, that was such a freak of nature" Freak of nature? Or another case synario. Lighting strikes a person in a field. One exclaims, "Oh that was just a coincidence".
Don't be dogmatic, but the fact is LET GOD SPEAK. He has used weather in the Bible to get attention or to get a message across. While certainly not the case always, don't rule God out of some. If you have been reading carefully so far, you have gone through a number of chapters where God has used weather for HIS purpose. Let God speak. He CAN use weather, because He still is God. So, the bottom line is that at all times we must ask the underlying question....we even sing, "Lord, speak to me".
Two strong words appearing in the paragraphs above: One, LAW, two, JUDGMENT. I feel that many Christians, it would seen, live as if this does not apply to them..
Lord, when we are in a storm - when there actually lightning and thunder and the heavens are making themselves known, may we realize and see the power in our Lord God. May it make us mindful of our frailty and being made of the dust - but in the image of the God of the universe. You are God. You are awesome in this place of the heavenly. And further you are worthy of our praise in and amid it all.