Summer is often seen as a time of rest, relaxation, and recreation. The warm weather and long days invite us to spend more time outdoors enjoying God’s creation. But what does the Bible actually say about this season? In this post, we’ll explore the biblical themes and passages related to summer.
The Bible doesn’t directly mention summer as one of the four seasons. However, there are still insights to be gleaned about how God views this sunny time of year. Here are the key takeaways:
- Summer is a time of abundance and provision. Several biblical passages highlight the harvest and fruitfulness of summer.
- Rest and renewal are biblical themes during summer. God designed a season for enjoying his creation.
- Spiritual lessons can be drawn from nature in summer. Trees, flowers, and birds all reflect spiritual truths.
- Summer weather conditions were realities of biblical life. Heat, drought, and desert wind shaped reality.
- Biblical history often occurred during summer. Major battles and events happened during these months.
- Overall, summer is a gift from God to enjoy. But it still requires wisdom and vigilance.
With this overview in mind, let’s now look at specific biblical passages that shed light on how we can view and approach summer.
Summer as a Time of Abundance and Provision
One of the key themes that emerges about summer in the Bible is that it is a time of abundance and provision. The long days and warm weather are perfectly suited for growing a bountiful harvest.
In the Old Testament law, God established several feasts and celebrations that were to take place in the summer around the harvest. For example, Exodus 34:22 discusses the Feast of Weeks: “And you shall observe the Feast of Weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the year’s end.” These were joyful times to celebrate God’s goodness and provision.
The book of Proverbs also paints summer as a time when the hard work of planting yields its reward: “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense” (Proverbs 12:11). And Proverbs 10:5 says, “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” Here the contrasts between diligence and laziness during summer are made clear.
In Jeremiah 8:20, the prophet grieves over sinful Judah and says, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” He points to the missed spiritual opportunities that went unheeded during the time of abundance.
And in the New Testament, Jesus himself used harvest imagery when speaking of the spiritual fruitfulness of those who sow and reap according to God’s Word: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest’” (Matthew 9:37-38).
So from beginning to end, Scripture identifies summer as a time uniquely marked by God’s provision and intended for gratitude, celebration, diligence, and spiritual fruitfulness.
Summer as a Time for Rest and Renewal
In addition to abundance, summer is also portrayed in the Bible as a time of rest and renewal. Even in the perfection of Eden, God established the pattern of working and keeping the garden for six days, followed by a Sabbath rest (Genesis 2:15). While the exact seasonal timing is not specified, this foundational template encourages periods of labor and periods of refreshment.
Later, in the books of Exodus and Leviticus, God again commanded Sabbath rest for the people, slaves, animals, and even the land. For example, Exodus 23:10-11 institutes a Sabbath year for the land: “For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat.” While these Sabbath years occurred every seventh year rather than annually, they demonstrate God’s desire for regular seasons of renewal.
Likewise, summer provided a welcome respite from labor during the hot months in biblical times. As an agrarian society, it offered the opportunity for refreshment before the fall harvest and the subsequent planting in winter. We see this, for example, in the summer fruity delicacies that Amnon requested from his sister Tamar in 2 Samuel 13. While Amnon sinisterly took advantage of this time, it does indicate that summer was accepted in that culture as a time to enjoy the good gifts God had provided.
Even the imagery of shade and shelter from the heat are used in the Psalms and Prophets to convey the rest and refuge God offers: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord…For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:1-2,10). “And the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy” (Isaiah 4:5).
This rest is meant to restore our bodies and focus our hearts back on the goodness of God. We work hard, then we enjoy God’s provision, then we work hard again. This honors the natural rhythms God has woven into His creation.
Lessons from Nature in Summer
In addition to the themes of abundance and rest, summer also offers spiritual lessons through nature. As all creation reflects God’s glory in some way, we can observe truths and insights manifest in the sights and sounds of summer.
The change of seasons itself speaks of God’s steadfastness and care as the Earth tilts towards and away from the sun each year. The constancy of the stars which can be clearly viewed in summer’s long twilights powerfully attest to God’s majesty. As Psalm 19:1 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
Farming lessons fill the book of Proverbs, with analogies of sowing and reaping applied to righteous living. Likewise, Jesus frequently drew metaphors from nature to teach spiritual realities.
Consider the birds of the air, highlighted in the teachings of Christ:
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26)
Or reflect on the impressive flowers and lilies described in the Sermon on the Mount:
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30)
Such references remind us of God’s care and provision for all He has made. Summer offers a vivid and bountiful landscape to contemplate these truths.
We also see warnings not to lazily drift through life with no purpose or direction. Proverbs compares this to a vineyard overrun with thorns:
I went by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 24:30-34)
The vivid descriptions of summer in Scripture remind us to live diligently and wisely at all times, using each season for its intended purpose in God’s plan.
Summer Weather Conditions in the Bible
In additional to the symbolic lessons, we also find literal summer weather conditions mentioned that shaped the lives and activities of people in Bible times.
The heat and drought of summer are frequently depicted. Rain was rare from May to September, leaving the land hot and dry. Jeremiah describes the misery of drought:
Judah mourns, and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up. Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty (Jeremiah 14:2-3).
The still air also brought sweltering heat. Psalm 121:6 describes the penetrating power of the sun: “The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.” And in 2 Samuel 4:5, Israelites are said to take their noonday rest just to escape the worst heat.
Strong desert winds could also arrive in summer. Ezekiel uses the imagery of an approaching summer storm to depict God’s impending judgment:
A stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually…And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. (Ezekiel 10:3-4; 11:23)
While rain could fall in early May or late September, the heart of summer stayed dry. But this was still viewed positively as a window of time for hard work before the more uncertain weather arrived.
Major Biblical Events in Summer
Beyond just the weather, the Bible records many major historical events transpiring during summer months. While exact dates are often unclear, many pivotal moments aligned with summer as we know it today.
- The Israelites crossed the Jordan River into Promised Land during the summer harvest season (Joshua 3:15).
- Several military battles took place during summer campaigns, taking advantage of dry roads and available manpower after crops were sowed. The Israelites often had the advantage, as seen in Judges 4 against the Canaanites and in 2 Samuel 11 against the Ammonites.
- Both the first and second temples began construction in the summer “Ziv” month (1 Kings 6:1, 37).
- Ezra and Nehemiah both implemented key reforms among the Israelites during summer months after the exile (Nehemiah 8:13-18, Ezra 7:8-9).
- The Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost in late May or early June, marking the birth of the church at the height of summer.
- In the modern calendar, Jesus’ earthly ministry unfolded between summer AD 26 and summer AD 30. Major events like his baptism, transfiguration, triumphal entry, death, and resurrection all likely occurred during summer.
Clearly God chose strategic times in the seasonal calendar to unfold his purposes. As Ecclesiastes 3:1 declares, “For everything there is a season.” Even the natural cycles of summer played a part in hosting pivotal moments in biblical history.
Conclusion: Enjoy God’s Gift with Wisdom
In reviewing the biblical material related to summer, we find this season viewed positively overall as a time to enjoy God’s good gifts. The abundance and rest of summer provide rhythms of refreshment built into creation.
However, biblical authors also warn against laziness, indulgence, or apathy during the more leisurely pace of these months. The book of Proverbs particularly emphasizes seeking wisdom and pursuing righteous living in all times and seasons.
As Christians today, we can follow these biblical principles as we approach summer. We should take advantage of the slower schedule to rest, restore, and focus on relationships. But we must do so in moderation, not drifting into laziness. And we should continue cultivating spiritual disciplines while also getting outside to enjoy God’s natural revelation.
Most of all, summer remains a gift from our Creator, who “made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Let’s receive summer ultimately as an invitation to delight in who God is and what He has done. The sights and smells can lift our hearts to praise. The warmth and joy can direct our thoughts to the Giver of all good things. And the rest and provision can remind us of God’s faithful care and mercy from season to season.