Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
He makes peace in your borders;
he fills you with the finest of the wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word, and melts them;
he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and rules to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his rules.
Praise the Lord! Psalm 147:12-20 ESV
God thunders wondrously with his voice;
he does great things that we cannot comprehend.
For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
He seals up the hand of every man,
that all men whom he made may know it.
Then the beasts go into their lairs,
and remain in their dens.
From its chamber comes the whirlwind,
and cold from the scattering winds.
By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast.
He loads the thick cloud with moisture;
the clouds scatter his lightning.
They turn around and around by his guidance,
to accomplish all that he commands them
on the face of the habitable world.
Whether for correction or for his land
or for love, he causes it to happen. Job 37:5-13 ESV
Winter is the coldest season of the year. In some parts of the world winter brings snow and ice and storms. There are fewer hours of daylight and the darkness of night is long. Winter happens because the earth is tipped on its axis. The part of the world that is tipped away from the sun has winter, and the other part has summer at the same time. So, in Australia people have winter in July, and summer in January! During the winter, some animals like bears, ground squirrels, and hedgehogs hibernate. Their body temperatures drop and they sleep soundly. Plants stop growing and also sleep. Bulbs rest underground, trees have lost their leaves, and even evergreen trees rest from growing.
Psalm 147 talks about winter being under God’s control. He works even in times of cold and darkness and death. He gives the harvest so that people have food to eat during the winter. We can see God’s power and majesty in the ice and the storms and the wind. We see beauty in the snow and the ice crystals. Plants and animals rest and sleep during the winter, but God is still active and at work.
This psalm also talks about how God gave his law to his people Israel. They were blessed more than any other people to know his law. God sent his law into the darkness and death that sin had brought to the world. The law showed the people how to walk with God, but it also showed how they had turned away and had not followed his law. God’s word promised a Savior to the people of Israel and to the whole world. Jesus came into our world of death and sin and gave his life for us on the cross. Because of Jesus, we now live in the light and warmth of God’s love and forgiveness. We can know the love of God in the dark times of our lives, and be sure that we will live in his heavenly kingdom of light forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being our God even in the times of darkness and death, and for sending Jesus to give us new life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.