Last night it rained here in Savannah. I know because work to me out to a coal ship at midnight over at the power plant and I got a little moist.
It was a different kind of moist from what we’ve been dealing with lately with all the summer heat. But I didn’t mind so much because we need the rain.
I expected that it might be raining when I headed out. The thunder that was crashing all around when I laid down for a little sleep earlier in the evening gave me a heads up.
Being in the maritime industry I learned to pay attention to the weather early on in my career. The weather can affect most aspects of the industry because we spend so much time out in it. That’s doubly true if you are out on a ship.
In some respects you are at the mercy of the elements when you are out on the open ocean. Of course a good captain can read the signs, steer clear of the worst of the storms, and keep his ship, crew, and cargo safe.
Early on I learned a little saying that got me started in weather prognostication
Red sky in morning – sailor take warning.
Red sky at night – sailor’s delight.
Now I don’t really know what goes on in the sky to give it that reddish hue and why seeing red in the morning is a sign of dangerous weather while that same red in the evening is a comforting thing because smooth sailing is ahead. It doesn’t really matter to me because I do know the saying has proven true over the years.
But did you know that saying is found in the Bible?
Jesus said it as he was jacking up some religious folks who were asking him some stupid questions. Here’s what he said to them:
He replied, “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. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.
An interesting tidbit, don’t you think?
Jesus says that it is good to be able to interpret the sky to get a bead on the weather. But there is a skill that is even more useful – being able to interpret the signs of the times.
What are they?
Just look around. Start with some headlines. The world’s a mess.
And what’s that thing about the “sign of Johah”?
We all remember the story of Jonah and the wale. But do you know why he was in the belly of the wale in the first place?
God told him to do something he didn’t want to do. So Jonah ran as far in the opposite direction as could trying to out run God. A little foolish really. But how often do we do the same thing?
Anyway God got his attention and from the middle of that nasty unpleasantness, there in the slimy dark, Jonah agreed to do what God told him to do in the fist place.
As an aside this is where one of my favorite versus is in the whole Bible, “Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time:” He’s a God of second chances. And I need them often. And third chances. And fourth…
Anyway what was that sign that Jesus was talking about?
It was simply this: Jonah went to the city where God said to go and spoke these words God told him to say, â€œForty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.â€
That’s it. Just 8 simple words. The end is near. A sign of danger if there ever was one. And Jesus said the sign still applies.
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom however. If we are wise, then like the captain of a ship we can take some action to steer a course that will take us safely through the danger ahead.
But first we have to be able to interpret the signs of the times.
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