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Red Sky in Morning
Christians take warning

Steven P. Wickstrom

all Scriptures quoted from the NASB

Matthew 16:2-3
But He [Jesus] replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”

That title got your attention didn't it? The old saying is actually red sky in morning, sailors take warning, but there was an application I wanted to make, so I changed the saying. First off, let's talk about the old saying, red sky in morning; sailors take warning (it continues with: red sky at night; sailors delight). Variations of this old saying can be traced back through history for thousands of years. Why? It is simply because it is true. Having spent a lot of time out at sea, I can testify to the truth of the old saying. When the clouds glow red in the pre-sunrise (instead of orange or yellow), we know that rain is on the way.

In order for me to get to the point of my life lesson, I need to explain what causes the colors we see in the sky. Therefore, I am going to give you a mini science lesson in light. Stay with me now, this is important for you to understand. The sun in our solar system produces ultraviolet light. It appears white to us, but it actually consists of every wavelength of color that exists. The wavelength of each color is different. Violet and blue have short wavelengths while orange and red have long wavelengths.


During the middle of the day when the sun is highest, the sky looks blue. Since the light is coming almost straight down, it is coming to us at a relatively short angle. In other words this is when your position on earth is closest to the sun, as opposed to sunrise or sunset, when you are a long angle, or farther away from the sun. The shorter angle of the midday sun allows the longer red, orange and yellow wavelengths to pass through the atmosphere, unhindered. Meanwhile, the shorter blue and violet wavelengths are being absorbed by gasses and particles in the atmosphere, which scatters their light. When you look up at the midday sky, what you are actually seeing is the scattered blue and violet light. It is being reflected everywhere which is why you can see it so plainly, what you are seeing is the color wavelength that did not reach the surface of the earth.

At sunrise and sunset, the light is coming from a relatively long angle, and takes a much longer path to reach you. The longer angle of the rising and setting sun allows the shorter violet, blue and green wavelengths to pass through the atmosphere, unhindered. At the same time, the longer red and orange wavelengths are being absorbed by gasses in the atmosphere, which scatters their light. When you look up at the sky during sunrise or sunset, what you are actually seeing is the scattered red and orange light.

So what is it that causes a red sky in the morning? Several things need to happen for this phenomenon to occur. First, at sunrise the sun must be below the cloud deck. In other words, the clouds cannot be blocking the sunrise. Second, there must be a lot of moisture in the atmosphere to absorb and scatter the red wavelength. In its gaseous state, water molecules form as invisible vapor. It is this vapor that both absorbs and scatters the red wavelength. When these two conditions occur, the clouds become red at sunrise. A storm is on its way. But the problem is this: you must be awake to see the red sky at dawn. If you are not paying attention, you will not see the red sky, you will completely miss it.

Just in case you are interested, clouds are formed through the process of the movement of water molecules joining with dust particles. Very small particles, so tiny that they are all but invisible, such as dust, provide surfaces that the water molecules can condense into water droplets. The tiny invisible droplets of water are attracted to each other and slowly form into visible clouds.

Now for my title, red sky in morning, Christians take warning. God has provided warning signs to let us know when a storm is approaching in our life.

Warning sign number one: you have moved away from God. As you move away from God, his light no longer shines straight down you. The angle of his light becomes long, just as the suns angle is long during a sunrise.

Warning sign number two: your sky is becoming covered with clouds. The clouds in your life are caused by many things. Sometimes the devil brings a storm into your life because he wants to drown you. Sometimes God brings rain into your life because he wants you to grow. Sometimes the clouds are a result of the sin in your life condensing with consequences.

Warning sign number three: there is a lot of moisture in your atmosphere. This moisture absorbs and reflects God's light so that it cannot come directly to you. Moisture in your atmosphere can be anything that gets in between you and God. These things can people, activities such as sports, your job, things, possessions, money, or anything that consumes your passion for God.

So what should you do if you see the warning signs of a storm approaching in your life? The first thing to do is to check your life for sin that you have not confessed to God or have not repented of. Get rid of the things in your life that come between you and God. Then make up your mind to follow God with all your heart. Zechariah 1:3 says Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Return to Me,” declares the LORD of hosts, “that I may return to you,” says the LORD of hosts. You will still go through the storm, but you won't go through it alone. God will be right there with you. Storms that come from God are intended to make you grow, so pray for God's grace to spiritually grow as you go through the storm.

God never tells people who have failed Him to undo all their wrongs and then to return to Him. He does not put people on probation before He will have anything to do with them. The formula for restoration is simple: Turn back to God. Do your best to watch for the signs of an impending storm. Remember that some storms, the ones of your own making, can be prevented, but only if you stop deliberately sinning. I understand that as humans, we will contend with sin all of our life, just don't embrace sin. For any storm that comes through your life, God's grace is sufficient to see you through. Prayer is also the best way to keep sin out of your life. One of the best ways to prevent yourself from spiritually falling down; is to already be on your knees in prayer. May God richly bless you and cause you to see the storms before they arrive. May the storms of life cause you to grow closer to God.

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