By: Sandy Mittelsteadt, Valley Ag Voice
In researching last month’s topic on “Can We Believe the Bible?” I read a statement that every word in the Bible is relevant, and every word has significance. The Bible is so deep that we humans can’t get to the depth of it with our physical minds and intelligence. So, I thought I would put this to the test; instead of looking for the profound, the unexplainable, or the miracles, I would search for something simple and not spiritual in the Bible. I thought: what would a farmer be interestedin? My first consideration was the sun and then the rain. But those topics might be too easy, so I selected the unassuming concept of “wind,” and decided to explore how much meaning this word used in the Bible could have. To my surprise, I found that the word “wind” has great meaning and depth.
First of all, I actually discovered that the Bible really talks about the wind. It not only discusses the types of winds, but also the directions of the wind and whether the wind is positive or negative. The East Wind is most often mentioned of all the winds. In fact, it is referenced seventeen to twenty-one times in the Bible (depending on the authority). For example, Palms 78:26 reads as:
“He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.”
Another example is in Genesis, Chapter 41, Verses 6, 23, and 27, which mention that the seven good ears of grain in Pharaoh’s dream were eaten by the seven withered ears blasted by the East Wind.
The East Wind is viewed as “bad” by the prophets. First, the geography of Israel promotes the concept of a “bad East Wind” since the winds normally blow from the West to the East (just as they do in Kern County). This West Wind has the positive effect of bringing cool humid air to the Land of Israel. However, when the winds blow from the Arabian desert in the direction of East to the West, the result is a hot, dry, wind that deposits dust everywhere over Israel. This dust can kill crops and make breathing difficult. (Compare this to our Santa Ana Winds that promote fires here in California.)
Examples of East Wind judgements are:
In Ezekiel 19:10-12, the prophet Ezekiel laments the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah by Babylon by comparing it to a vineyard attacked by the East Wind. Ezekiel states that the East Wind dried up the vineyard and stripped off its fruit, and the stem was burnt by fire. Babylon is located in the desert to the east of Israel, so this is a “bad East Wind.”
The plague of locusts upon Egypt (Exodus 10:13)
The separation of the Red Sea that brought death to the Egyptians and deliverance to the Jews (Exodus 14:21)
The anger of Jonah in which “God prepared a vehement east wind, and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die…” (Jonah 1:8)
Another prophet, Isaiah, in Isaiah 32:1-2 associates the just rule of a king to a shelter that provides cover from the wind and the tempest. This verse alludes to the fact that there are two aspects of wind. The first wind is the natural or physical wind and the second aspect of wind is its spiritual characteristics. According to George Kirkpatrick, who wrote God’s Judgment Written in the Wind, the spiritual aspects of the winds are that:
The East Wind
is the wind of judgment.
The West Wind
restores all things;
The North Wind
The South Wind
comforts and refreshes.
With our new understanding, let’s reread Psalms 78:26 to discover that after God sends the East Windof judgement in this verse, He will bring a South Wind to quiet, to refresh, and to comfort.
Paul had an encounter with both the East Wind and the South Wind in Acts 27 as he was sailing from Caesarea (Israel) to Rome (Italy). In verse 13, Paul and his shipmates encounter a South Wind and “supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.” However, in Verse 14 & 15, they face an East Wind: “But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.” The Euroclydon is literally a north-east typhoon that blows in the Mediterranean Sea. In Jonah 1:4, it is described as a great wind and violent storm. We know understand that an Euroclydon is a North Wind or powerful wind and an East Wind of judgement.
With our new understanding of the meaning of the different winds, let’s now read Exodus 10:12to 10:19 and decipher:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, “Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind up the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field through all the land of Egypt.. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your god, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat the LORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only. And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the LORD. And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.”
In all the times I have read these verses I thought I understood everything, but after studying the simple concept of “wind” I now read these verses with new eyes. The word “wind” has new significance to me.
The wind witnesses to the greatness of God and to the depth of the Bible!