Drifting Away: A Sailing Story

A hot wind did blow

"At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.” (Jeremiah 4:11-12)

The Lord sends the wind. He is the God of this earth and nothing happens on it that He does not cause or allow. Not even a sparrow falls to its death without the permission of the LORD. (Matthew 10:29).

So, He sends the wind.

That was the literal part of my essay. The verses in Jeremiah above are metaphorical. What He had instructed Jeremiah to say is that He sends the wind for different purposes. Firstly, the wind accomplishes His will. "Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word" (Psalms 148:8 )

He sends a gentle wind for winnowing. He sends a fruitful wind for planting. He sends a wind for cleansing (Job 37:21). In the case of judgment He sends a hot wind that doesn't salve, but agitates. It is a hot wind, a damaging wind, a full wind that scorches and destroys. Barnes Notes explains:

"A dry wind - literally, A clear wind. The Samum is probably meant, a dry parching east wind blowing from the Arabian desert, before which vegetation withers, and human life becomes intolerable. Not to fan ... - The Syrian farmers make great use of the wind for separating the chaff from the grain: but when the Samum blows labor becomes impossible. It is not for use, but for destruction."

We can ignore the wind, but that won't work. We can rely on the wind for planting and winnowing. The wind purifies and cleanses.

But woe to those who ignore the wind.

We cannot outrun the wind. It will catch us. The wind blows where it will. "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8).

When the wind is destructive it means it is of the judgments of God:
  • "In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind." (Isaiah 27:8)
  • "Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire." (Isaiah 29:6)
  • "Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:16)

You can think of the wind as the breath of God.

When you read the bible, think on these metaphors. Yesterday I wrote of the light an the darkness. Today I write of the wind. The bible uses symbols for a reason. Symbols don't change. Words change, symbols do not. Planting is planting. Reaping is reaping, Lions prowl. Sheep follow.

As far as the wind goes, you should always let the wind of the Spirit move you as the wind moves a sail. The sail bows to the wind, letting the wind fill it, and gently guide and propel the sail to move the boat. It is all harmony, the wind and the sail and the boat and the water as one unit.

When you sail, and the wind is behind you, it is smooth and quiet sailing. Quite peaceful. If you try and sail into the wind it is called "beating". It really does feel like you're getting beaten. The wind is loud. The waves are choppy. The boat balks. The sails refuse to fill and you have to constantly adjust them. You're working against the wind in that case, sailing upwind as close as you can to the no-go zone. The boat heels over and the sails, mast, and people sailing it are stressed. The direction you go relative to the wind matters. The best thing to do when sailing into an upwind destination is to simply change your destination and thus go with the wind.

Pay attention to where the wind blows, and change your destination. If a person refuses to repent, all they will sow is a hot wind that destroys.

Much better to go with the gentle wind, allowing it to push us, purify us, cleanse us. Jesus is Lord, kind and good.