Facets of Faith: Snow finds place in Scripture

While in the middle of the Deep Freeze 2014, my husband was reading his nightly Psalms passage when he started laughing.

Reading from the English Standard Version, one of his Psalms for the night was Psalm 147.

Verses 16-18 say:

“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.”

Hymn lyric

Psalm 51 has a well-know reference to snow because of its use in the hymn “Whiter Than Snow.” Visit cyberhymnal.org , click on the W, then scroll to the title to hear the tune and read the lyrics.

Verses 7-12 say:

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

“Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

“Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

Symbolic of purity

While ice and frost are used in Scripture only for the literal frozen stuff, snow was used for the precipitation and as a description and as a symbol for purity.

Several verses described people in the advanced stages of leprosy as “leprous like snow.”

Lametations 4:7 uses it to represent purity: “Her princes were purer than snow, whiter than milk.”

Daniel 7:9 As the Ancient of Days takes to his throne, “his clothing was white as snow,” a description echoed in Matthew 28:3 to describe the resurrected Jesus: “His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.”

Reading Psalms, Proverbs

At this point, many people who resolved in 2014 to read the Bible through have already failed on that.

One way to get into the habitat of reading Scripture is to follow a plan my husband has used since childhood: Read Psalms and Proverbs through in a month. There are 150 Psalms, so this comes out to five Psalms a day.

A convenient way to do this: Read the number of the date and keep adding 30. So on Jan. 1, you read Psalms 1, 31, 61, 91 and 121. On Jan. 2, you read Psalms 2, 32, 62, 92 and 122. And so forth. Since Psalm 119 is so long (the longest chapter of the Bible), on months with 31 days, it’s often easier to skip it on the 29th, its normal day, and read it on the 31st.

Proverbs is 31 chapters long, so read a chapter a day. In February, you’ll have to double three days, but that’s it.

This smaller goal may help you get started.