What do we make of the changing of seasons? What are the spiritual lessons we can learn from observing the transition of one season to another? There are so many ways to approach the topic of “seasons” from a biblical perspective, but a few passages and Creation analogies come to mind that you might use for Outdoor Ministry Curriculum.
1. SEASONS ARE A DISPLAY OF GOD’S POWER AND AUTHORITY
The seasons show us the unmatched power and authority of God, and this humbles us appropriately so we worship and revere him in the way he deserves: “Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?”(Job 38:32) (italics mine)
2. SEASONS ARE A COMPASS TO POINT US TO THE UNDENIABLE EXISTENCE OF A CREATOR-GOD
The seasons are like a compass or a signpost, they orient us toward God as our loving Creator. “He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down (Psalm 104:19).” Is there really any way all of these perfect systems we see in the world around us could be an accident? It surely takes more faith to believe that what is seen came into existence without the forethought and power of an Intelligent Designer.
3. SEASONS ARE A MIRROR SHOWING US THAT WITHOUT CHRIST, OUR SINFUL INSTINCT IS TO REBEL
Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD (Jeremiah 8:7) (italics mine).
The seasons point out our rebellion against God. Think about it: All of God’s creatures follow their God-given instincts. But we as the crown of creation have been given free will and subsequently because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, we all have a tendency toward rebellion and sin. Can anyone really refute that sin exists and damages relationships between man and God, between one person to another, between mankind and the creation itself? One would really have to have their head in the sand like an Ostrich to deny the existence of sin in the world.
So Jeremiah makes the point to his ancient audience that without faith, people’s sinful instinct is to rebel. He uses the analogy of seasons to point out Israel’s foolishness (and ours too)…. According to Jeremiah, a stork had more sense than Israel. Ouch. At least the bird knows its place and stays true to its calling to migrate during an appointed season. So when you see geese flying overhead this time of year, let it be a reminder to stay true to your design… to pattern your life after Jesus Christ by abiding in him, and him alone.
4. SEASONS ARE A SIGNPOST TO THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
Seasons show us a tangible expression of the sovereignty of God: “He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Daniel 2:21).”
5. SEASONS ARE A SPECTACLE OF GOD’S TESTIMONY THAT HE IS GOOD, LOVING, AND IN CONTROL
The seasons are part of God’s testimony that he is good, he is in control, and he is loving. As part of General Revelation, the seasons are part of God’s revelation of his character which leaves us without any excuse if we reject his loving pursuit of our soul. “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy (Acts 14:17) (italics mine).”
Ultimately the changing of seasons is meant to leave us in awe and reverence of God. After all, he deserves our humble reverence:
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. –Solomon (Ecclesiastes 3:14)
6. THE SEASONS SIGNAL GOD’S LOVE FOR THE LOST
The prophet Jeremiah writes:
The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved. Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.” (Jeremiah 8:20-21)
Oh how The Lord loves us! Here we see the heart of God being expressed in the analogy of seasonal change. Winter, Summer, Spring, and Fall crescendo in the season of harvest. Jesus talked about the “harvest” in spiritual terms—a harvest of souls through repentance and belief in Christ. Here in Jeremiah we see the mission-heart of God expressing an urgency that people must repent while they have time. Jeremiah’s vivid words express, with a great sigh of sadness, that it is as if God is saying: “Another season has passed, and still my people will not repent and turn to me… even though I have given them everything, I still see no harvest of righteousness in so many of my precious children who refuse to turn back to me in humility….” It grieves God to see the seasons come and go and people still shake their fist at him. We are reminded through the changing of seasons that our time is limited… God sees this and it grieves him as long as people resist him and let the seasons pass without bending their knee toward him.
- So as you spend some time outdoors this weekend, stop for a moment and be amazed at the consistency of seasonal change in our world. Let the amazing process of seasonal change move you to be in awe of our God who created each season to point us to his glory. And if you need some ideas for outdoor ministry curriculum, the topic of “seasons” is rich with possibilities for pointing people to Jesus by contemplating some of these suggested biblical passages and the principles they teach about why God created the seasons.
About the Author of this post: Residing in Fort Collins, CO, Dr. Ashley Denton is the author of Christian Outdoor Leadership: Theology, Theory, and Practice.