Posted by: 2thdocbob | 7 April 2015

The East Wind

I wrote this earlier this year. This represents thoughts and study that I have engaged in for the past year, after another late-season Santa Ana episode. I am not sure that this is coincidental. This was first published on another blog of mine: http://brother-bob-speaks.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-east-wind.html The announcements about mandatory water reductions lead me to share it here as well, with a small revision.

I have been hesitant to publish this one, because it reflects my own musings and thoughts, and may not be entirely doctrinal. However, I have been prompted to share it. Please note that in publishing this, I am not condemning anyone, and I do not speak for my church or anyone else. The opinions are my own, and I take full responsibility for them.

It is “winter” in Southern California. Although our winters tend to be milder than in many parts of the country, it is ordinarily cooler than the rest of the year. Sometimes we even see some rain, even though “it never rains in Southern California.”[1] This week we have endured a particularly long, powerful Santa Ana episode. Where I live, below the Cajon Pass, we have had gusts up to 56 MPH, and sustained winds above 30 MPH this weekend.

These winds generally blow from the north (down through the pass), but frequently they come from the east. This brought to mind the scriptural references to the east wind, which is frequently associated with destruction. Israel is at the same latitude as Southern California, and their climates are very similar. In Israel, the east wind blows off the desert and it is very dry. It tends to blow violently, and can be destructive both to vegetation and to structures. Just like it is in California. And try walking when a 50 MPH gust hits: it can be a challenge!

The first Biblical mention of this phenomenon is found in Genesis 41, in Pharaoh’s dream. In it, the ears of corn “blasted by the east wind” represented seven years of famine. The east wind is known to bring clouds of locusts with it. This can certainly be considered destructive.

In Deuteronomy we read Moses’ final warnings to the Children of Israel. In chapter 28, while the prophesied curse does not specifically mention the east wind, it does allude to it: “The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.”[2] This sounds like the Santa Ana’s we know.

Jeremiah referred to Israel being scattered “as with an east wind before the enemy.”[3] Ezekiel lamented for Israel: “But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.”[4] In Southern California, serious fires are often driven by our east wind, consuming not only vegetation, but homes and sometimes lives. And the Santa Ana winds scatter trash furiously; but we have noted that the gathering tends to occur in our yard.

Hosea prophesied against Ephraim: “Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the Lord shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.”[5] Do you notice that these references refer to the land (and the people) becoming dry and unfruitful? When the Santa Ana’s blow, not only does it not rain, but it tends to carry away the moisture from the last two or three rains.

Then in the Book of Jonah, the Lord prepared a gourd for Jonah. “And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.”[6] I don’t blame Jonah one bit. I don’t like being out in those hot, dry winds myself.

However, the passage that really called my attention to this topic is from The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In Mosiah, chapter 7, King Limhi reviews the recent history of his people, who were punished by the Lord for their sins, including the killing of a prophet of God. Limhi declares to his people: “For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them. … And again he saith: If my people shall sow filthiness they shall reap the east wind, which bringeth immediate destruction.”[7] This is a powerful statement to me.

And then a promise from the Old Testament: “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”[8]
We have seen significant destruction from our Santa Ana winds. Fences blow down, large tree limbs (or sometimes large trees) fall, big rigs are overturned on freeways, roofs are damaged, and the list goes on. And of course many of our most serious Southern California fires, e.g. the Panorama fire of 1980, the Grand Prix, New, and Cedar Fires of 2003, and others, were wind-driven.
There is also strong evidence that the prolonged drought in California is affecting food prices throughout the country. And why shouldn’t it? California produces an astonishing percentage of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, nuts and dairy products.[9] What affects our agriculture impacts the nation.[10]

In light of many events in California, most recently the decision that judges are barred from serving in the Boy Scouts of America because BSA is a discriminatory organization (a discriminatory organization in the eyes of the state is one that has standards of moral conduct, especially if the state disagrees with those standards), I’m wondering if there is a connection here. How long will it be before the state excludes judges from their places of worship for the same reason?

Maybe climate change is real. Maybe it isn’t due to carbon dioxide, but to the wickedness of the people. Maybe we need to stand up and pay attention. Maybe this is a call to righteous living: perhaps even to repentance. Maybe this makes you feel uncomfortable, but if it does, don’t condemn me for sharing my thoughts: I am not condemning you. Although, hit pigeons flutter.

So is it climate change, or God’s judgment, both or neither? You decide. And act accordingly.

[1] Hammond, Albert and Hazlewood, Mike. It Never Rains in Southern California. © 1972 EMI Music Publishing.

[2] KJV, Deuteronomy 28:24.

[3] KJV, Jeremiah 18:17.

[4] KJV, Ezekiel 19:12.

[5] KJV, Hosea 13:15.

[6] KJV, Jonah 4:8.

[7] Book of Mormon, Mosiah 7:29, 31.

[8] KJV, 2 Chronicles 7:13-14.

[9] California Farm Facts http://www.seecalifornia.com/farms/california-farm-facts.html

[10] Official statistics: http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/statistics/ . Note also the Crop Year Reports in the right sidebar.

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