Today many Americans wait with bated breath for an event that has not happened in the United States in 38 years, and will not happen again in this country until 2024: a total eclipse of the sun. From Oregon to South Carolina, viewers will watch the moon pass before the sun completely in “the path of totality.” Some have driven hundreds of miles to see it, and stand ready with their special solar-eclipse glasses.
Part of the literary beauty of the Bible is how the writers used natural objects and events, like an eclipse, as metaphors to carry across and communicate spiritual truths. Whether it is Isaiah’s use of an ox’s familiarity with its master to draw a biting indictment to Israel’s lack of knowledge (Isaiah 1:3) or Jesus’s use of the mustard seed to explain the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:31–32), writers and commentators of Scripture also use God’s creation to impart an impactful truth.
John Owen’s glimpse into the total eclipse (in his remarkable work The Glory of Christ) is fitting for today, as well as two brief glimpses from Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon. When you look into the sky today, or scroll by pictures in social media, will you only see what everyone else sees? Or will you see more, with the eyes of faith?