Down Nature's Paths



ABOUT four thousand years ago five men, sitting on a mound outside a north Arabian village, watched a summer thunderstorm gathering over the plains of Uz. One man was talking earnestly, and he wove into his words the details of the grandeur before his eyes. Here is the picture of God's majesty in storms, separated from Elihu's other words:

"Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.... Behold, God ... maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof: which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly [there was rain off on the horizon]. Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds [the clouds advance across the sky], or the noise of His tabernacle [distant thunder]? Behold, He spreadeth His light upon it [mounting thunder­heads reflect sunlight], and covereth the bottom of the sea. [The gathering clouds changed the appearance of an expanse of water within sight, perhaps the Persian Gulf, so that it looked dull and muddy.] . . . With clouds He covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt. . . . At this also my heart trem­bleth, and leapeth out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of His voice, and the muttering that goeth out of His mouth [the thunder comes nearer and a sudden brilliant flash of lightning crosses the sky]. He directeth it under the whole heaven, and His lightning unto the ends of the earth [the horizon]. After it a voice roareth: He thundereth with the voice of His excellency.... God thun­dereth marvelously with His voice. . . .

"He saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain and to the great rain of His strength. [A sudden icy blast seems to turn the desert heat into snow, as a mist of fine rain is followed by enormous stinging drops.] . ... Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places. Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north [the wind veers fitfully around. the compass; the thermometer is dropping]. Yea, He ladeth the thick cloud with moisture: He scattereth His bright cloud: and it turneth itself round about. [The heavy clouds come lower and are driven wildly about by the varying winds.] . . . Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, ... how thy garments are warm, when He quieteth the earth by the south wind? [The uproar of nature dies down, and a warm breeze for a moment lifts the icy chill spreading in from the north; but the storm clouds by now fill the whole sky.] Hast thou with Him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass? . . . We cannot order our speech by reason of darkness. . . . And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them. [The churning masses of broken clouds spread completely over the sky; they have the weird greenish­yellow light of the approaching tornado. Then they close off the sunlight completely so that even the lightning is screened out, until the bursting whirlwind again tears the clouds apart.]

"Fair weather cometh out of the north [a golden light where the clouds break]: with God is terrible majesty. . . . Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind. . . . Then job an­swered the Lord, . . . I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 35-42, with margins.)

Though a storm we watch may not end in an actual vision of God, yet we may see His wondrous working in the weather and be led to repentance.