Our changing seasons
By the Rev. Kathy Brumbaugh, Special Writer
Background text: Genesis 8:22
Devotional text: Acts 14:17
We all know what seasons are and how they change throughout the year. Whether you live in a place where the seasons present themselves in marked weather change or where the climate makes no grand declaration between one season and the next, we refer to the seasons as being four: spring, summer, fall and winter.
Today, we are looking at seasons from two perspectives. One is from the perspective of changing seasons on the earth. The other has to do with the changing seasons of our lives. Both are found in the Bible; both bring to us the word of God as it speaks to us today.
Going back to Genesis, we read in the first chapters about the creation of earth and sky, about the separation of land and sea, and then all that lives and grows upon it. From Genesis 1:14 we read, “And God said, ‘Let there be light in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years’.”
Later, in Genesis 8, following the flood, scripture tells us that God said these words to Noah: “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
We find many Old Testament scriptures that remind us of God’s creation. This next one comes from Psalm 74:16-17. It was not written by David, but is believed to have been written by Asaph or one of his descendants. Asaph, like David, was a talented poet and singer. He was one of the choir leaders in the tabernacle. In this psalm, he is writing on behalf of the people, asking God for help.
Psalm 74:16-17 reads: “The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and the moon. It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”
The psalmist, in recognizing the work of God, was writing to praise God for creation and his salvation brought to the earth. He was asking God for help and was reminding him of how the people whose faith had not wavered were still praising his name.
Another psalm that particularly speaks of the joy of the people for God’s great creation is written by an anonymous author. This is Psalm 104, a psalm that praises God for all that he has done for the world and the humans who populate it.
In speaking of seasons, he says in verse 19, “The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.”
This is one of those psalms that reminds us of who God is. It begins and ends with the same words: “Praise the Lord, O my soul.”
Probably the most well-known book of the Bible concerning the subject of seasons is titled “Ecclesiastes.” It was written by King Solomon about 935 B.C., toward the end of his life. He had lived and accomplished many things. During his reign, he oversaw the building of God’s temple in Jerusalem.
In Ecclesiastes, his words spoke to the people of his time, just as they speak to us today. In this book, he focused on everything in life being meaningless except to follow and worship God.
In the very first verse in chapter three of this book, we find these words: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
Down through the first eight verses, Solomon lists some of those activities: “a time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to uproot; a time to kill, a time to heal; a time to tear down, a time to build; a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance;” and so on.
Then, in verse 11, we read these words as he spoke of God: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet, no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
His words ring true for us because no one can truly understand the ways of God. Yet, throughout the Bible, we read of our importance to God. King Solomon used the word seasons to indicate various times in the life of human beings.
Going onto verses 12 and 13, we find comfort in these words of Solomon: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in their work; this is the gift of God.”
In Solomon’s final words, he puts everything together. He tells us we should enjoy life and do good toward one another. God has given us many blessings in life, and we need to recognize this. He tells us in the end, the only thing that really matters is knowing God and following him.
In these scriptures about the seasons on earth, we find the necessity of planting and harvesting at the proper times. The seasonal changes are marked by changes in the weather, in temperatures and in the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year.
In Ecclesiastes, we find the use of various seasons to be more attuned to the changing seasons of our lives. For as human beings, we too go through seasonal changes, from birth, to growing into maturity, from joining the work-a-day world, to retirement and to a time when we start to slow down in the activities of life and look back on our memories.
These are the cycles of life. Like the changing of the seasons, we find scriptures that speak of our life’s seasons.
Next week, we will continue by focusing on some of the scriptures that focus more on the seasons of human life.