Pleiades and Orion
Dr. Jack Hyles
"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" Job 38:31.
I want to speak this morning on Pleiades and Orion. Now in order to understand completely we must understand the condition of Job. Job was the richest man in the East, and he was the best Christian in the entire world. Such a good Christian was he that God said to Satan, "Hast thou considered my servant Job? There's not a one like him in all the earth."
When calamity came to Job. He lost his wealth. He had ten children. Every child was taken in death. His health broke; he had the awful disease of elephantiasis, leaving him scraping himself with a piece of metal, sitting in the ash heap of the city dump. Job's wife failed him. She said, "Why don't you curse God and die?"
So here's Job, our hero. All of his health is gone; all of his wealth is gone; all of his children are gone; everyone in his household is gone; his wife's loyalty is gone; everything bad has happened. The Lord says to Job in this hour, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" I'll be quite frank. I could care less about Pleiades or Orion if I were in the condition in which Job found himself, but there is a spiritual teaching that God gave to Job that I want to leave with you in the message this morning.
Pleiades is a constellation of stars in the heavens. Greek mythology says, however, that actually these were the seven daughters of Atlas. The seven daughters of Atlas were pursued by the giant Orion, and Orion was a great giant of a fellow. They were pursued by the giant Orion, causing them to come to Zeus to appeal to the great god for protection. Zeus changed them into a constellation of stars, so no longer were they the daughters of Atlas. However, during the destruction of the city of Troy, one of these daughters could not stand to see the destruction of the city and was given a leave of absence from the constellation. That daughter has not been heard from since, so now there are only six daughters shining in the skies as stars forever and ever. These remaining six stars are supposedly not as bright as they used to be because they too were humiliated at the defeat of the city of Troy.
Now let's look toward Orion. Orion, in Greek mythology, was a great giant, the son of Neptune. He was a mighty hunter; and while out hunting one day, he noticed a beautiful girl. Her name was Diana. He wanted Diana and began to chase her. The day came when Diana's brother, Apollo, decided he was going to do something about this giant who was chasing his sister, Diana. Apollo took Diana down to the sea and found Orion swimming in the sea. All that could be seen was his black cap. "Now," said Apollo to Diane, "you're pretty good with a bow and arrow, but I bet you couldn't hit that black speck out there on the sea." It happened to be the head of Orion. She loved him, but she did not know that the black spot was his head showing above the water. She took her bow and arrow and shot him in the head. She killed him. (Don't cry about this; this is not a true story.) Orion was brought to shore with the tide, and the beautiful Diana came and saw that she had killed her pursuer. In so doing, she transformed him into a star and placed him in the heavens. From that day till this, Orion has been chasing the six daughters of the Pleiades.
What was God telling Job? The story of the Greek mythology was not even known in the days of Job. The honest truth is this: The Pleiades is a small cluster of stars that make themselves more visible in the springtime. When the Pleiades become more visible, it is obvious to the ones who know the stars and know the bright cluster of stars that springtime is coming soon. Orion is a constellation that announces the coming of winter.
So the Lord is saying, "Job, there is nothing you can do about the stopping of spring or the coming of summer. There is nothing you can do about preventing the snows of winter or the chill of the winter winds or the deadness of the autumn. Job, you're going to have to take the spring, the summer, the autumn, the winter. They're going to come. There's nothing you can do about them."
Job was in springtime. He had a wife. He had ten children. He was the richest man of all the East. He was the best Christian of all the earth. He was a picture of health. Springtime was there. When the deadening of autumn and the chill wind of winter begin blasting upon Job's soul, he finds himself in wintertime. The children are dead; the riches are gone; his health is gone; his wife has forsaken him. All of the spring is gone, and now Job is complaining about the conditions of wintertime. He is no longer enjoying the balmy breezes of summer that have been beckoned and announced by the coming of the spring. Now Job is shivering and suffering in the chill in the awful hardness of winter. Job complains. God says, "Stop it. You can take it. You can't stay in the springtime always. You can't prevent the autumn and winter from coming. The tough days are going to come." God is saying, "Job, canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades? Can you capture Pleiades, springtime, and keep it all the time? You're going to have to have some wintertime too, or you won't enjoy the springtime." God says, "Can you loose the bands of Orion? Can you stop Orion from coming? Can you thwart the chill of winter? You can't stay in springtime always. You've got to take it now. You've got to know that the sun doesn't shine all day; the darkness comes. You've got to know that the summertime doesn't last the entire year; wintertime must come. You've got to know that the flowers that bloom in the springtime must wilt in the fall You've got to know that the grass that is green in summer becomes brown in the fall. You've got to know that the life of the springtime becomes deadness in the fall. You've got to learn to enjoy the springtime and know that the fall must come. You've also got to learn that when winter does come, spring is going to come back again. Job, you take it now, whether it's the chill of winter or the warmth of summer. You learn to take it." That is what God is teaching to Job.
Now let me give you four lessons very quickly this morning.
I. You Will Face All Seasons.
You, like Job, will face all seasons. Young people, you're still in the springtime of life this morning, but the autumn is going to come. Nothing is wrong now; you have no problems. You have not spent much time beside the casket in the funeral home. You know not the name of an undertaker. You know nothing about the chill of winter yet, but winter will come; autumn will come; it won't always be springtime.
I say to those of you who are in wintertime, if the chill of winter is causing you to pull your wraps around your chest this morning, if you are lonesome, if wintertime is here, blessed be God, winter always precedes the spring! It won't be long till warmth will come. It won't be long till life will come again. It won't be long till spring and the warmth of summer shall come. If you are in the summer, fall is coming. If you are in the winter, spring is coming. That's what God is saying to Job. "You will face all the seasons.
I have been pastor of this church now for eleven years. Eleven years ago last night was one of the darkest nights, if not the darkest night of my life. Eleven years ago last night I got in my car and rode around the city of Garland, Texas. I had pastored there for a number of years. We had seen the church grow from 44 people to 4,000. Almost everyone there I had won to Christ myself. I knocked with these knuckles on every door in the city of Garland, a city then of about 35,000 people. Not a person had moved to our city in all those years I was pastor there but that I went by to see them, welcome them to the city, and try to win them to Christ.
Suddenly God said, "You've got to leave." The chill of Orion came and the warmth of Pleiades left. I found myself in the dark hour. I came here and the winter got colder and colder and colder and colder! Then it wasn't long and we saw a little ray of springtime and the Pleiades were coming. Orion was leaving, but just as sure as I am here, Orion is coming again sometime.
You know, as pastor now for eleven years, many of us have been through Orion and Pleiades time and time again, haven't we? I was thinking last night as I was rehashing the message and thinking about what I had prepared to preach this morning. I got to thinking about some families in the church. There are many families here with whom we have seen many victories. We have stood at the wedding altar together, and in a few months we have stood in the cemetery together. We have ordained your young people; we have prayed for your babies; we have sent them to college when they became teenagers. We have counselled with them. We have seen the sun shining in the springtime; we have felt the warmth of summer. As pastor and people we have also felt the deadness of the autumn and the chilling winds of wintertime. It is all a part of life. People have to take it.
We, at First Baptist Church, felt the warmth at the dedication service, but we will never forget when Orion came, that cold, cold day, spiritually, when we watched our building burn. God said, "Job, you have had it well; springtime was awhile ago, but Orion, wintertime, is here now. Job, don't despair because the chill of winter is discomforting now. Springtime will come again, but don't get too comfortable in springtime, for autumn is going to come.
So it is, you will face all seasons.
II. In the Springtime, Prepare for the Winter.
You know winter is coming. Right now, get some snowshoes. Get an overcoat. Before I came to Hammond, I thought cold was 50 degrees I had a nice coat that cost me $10.95 at J. C. Penney Company in Texas. I thought that it would take me through the winter. I was driving over the bridge on Columbia and I ran out of gas on the top of the bridge. I had to walk to the service station. It was -5 degrees. I was wearing that $10.95 coat, and before I got to that service station, I was crying. The tears were icicles by the time they got to my cheek. I was freezing to death. I said to the fellow at the service station, "I'm about to die." I was literally shaking.
He said, "You're having a chill."
I said "Having a chill, nothing! I'm having a freeze!"
I got some gasoline, put it in my car, came down here to the Minas store, walked in, and bought a topcoat. I had not gotten ready for winter. You have to get ready for the wintertime. Put anti-freeze in the car. Get some warm clothes. Get long flannels or insulated underwear, but get ready. You folks who came here from down South to teach in our school, let me warn you now, buy them today. We have worn our overcoats on the Fourth of July and built snowmen on Labor Day. Get ready! That's what the Lord is saying to Job. He is saying, "Job, okay, look. In the springtime, you should have gotten ready for the Orion to come. You can't have Pleiades all of the time."
The springtime is wonderful. Everybody loves it. You know, I have been here for eleven years, and now I would hate to live where there is no snow. I hate to say it, but I love the snow. You've got to prepare for wintertime.
Last Saturday night when Becky was married, people said to me, "I didn't know you could do it so well. You didn't cry but one time in the entire ceremony. We thought you would break down. How did you make it?" I had learned something in Twin Falls, Idaho, a few years ago to help me make it. I always said, "I couldn't marry one of my children." I always said, "I couldn't stand it. I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it." I was with Dr. John Rice in a Bible conference in Boise, Idaho, and Twin Falls, Idaho. We had two
conferences going at the same time. I'd preach one night in Boise and a doctor would fly me down in a private plane to Twin Falls the next night, and Dr. Rice and I would switch places. When the conferences were over, I flew from Boise to Twin Falls and Dr. Rice was there with his oldest daughter, Grace. At the airport I saw Dr. Rice say good-bye to Grace and Allen (his son-in-law) and their children. He got on the plane and wasn't crying. I asked, "Dr. Rice, how could you do that?"
He said, "What?"
I said, "You probably won't see her for a year or more and yet you weren't crying."
Dr. Rice looked at me and taught me a lesson I'll never forget. He said, "Brother Jack, 45 years ago I picked up that little bundle of flesh in my hands and realized the day would come when I'd give her away. I started preparing myself for that moment and for the good-bye at the airport awhile ago."
I learned something. I learned that in the summertime you have to prepare for winter. I learned that when the warmth of the Pleiades is shining upon you and the joy and warmth of the summer is yours, you must realize that Orion is on his way. There will be days of loneliness, days of heartache, days of sorrow, days of travail, days of suffering and days when the chill, cold, snow and ice of winter make you wonder if Pleiades will ever return. If you check the skies, you will find that Orion is still chasing those daughters. You will find that Orion is there and Orion will come, but you will also find that the Pleiades will return again. Springtime will come again. So I say, prepare yourself.
That's the reason why many parents come to the place in life where all is gone. They "place all their eggs in one basket" and before they know it, everything is gone. May I say to you, prepare yourself for the coming of winter. You have to learn to take it. Of course, you could take it back yonder when everything was well; your health was good, you were rich, your children were there at home, your wife was faithful. Job, you could take it then. Job, you have to learn to take Orion as well as Pleiades.
III. In Wintertime, Look for the Spring.
Do you know howl take these winters here? I look to the spring. I look to the summertime. When you're snowed in, you're about to freeze to death, your ears have frostbite and you wonder if you'll ever live through it, you need to realize that spring and summer are coming. Yes, just as sure as there be a God, the warm sunny days of summer are going to come.
God said to Job, "Job, I know you don't have much now. I know your health is gone. I see you there in the ash heap, in the ashes of the city dump. I see that potsherd which you are using to scrape your body. I see that, but Job, summer will be coming again."
One day summer did come. Job was restored to his health. He had ten children again. You know, I've always laughed about that. I think that's one of the funniest things. I think justice was meted out there. Job's wife got mad at him and said, "Curse God and die." When Job got rich again, she had to have ten kids. To me, that is funny! That's good enough for her. That's ninety months of eating watemelon for breakfast and cucumbers for lunch!
Summer came again. Job got twice as many camels, twice as many sheep, twice as many donkeys, twice as many oxen as he's had before, and as many children. It used to worry me. Why didn't Job have twice as many kids? He had twice as many asses, oxen, sheep and camels; why didn't he get twice as many children? Then one day it dawned on me that when camels die, they are dead; when sheep die, they are dead; when oxen die, they are dead; when asses die, they are dead; but when children die, they yet live! Job did have twenty children; he had ten on earth and ten in Heaven. Once again the Pleiades were back. Spring and summer were back. God said, "Job, while you are in Orion, don't forget, the Pleiades will come again."
IV. There 18 Joy in Winter.
There's the comfort of a cup of hot chocolate beside the hearth in the wintertime. There's the popping of the corn, the games on the floor, the warmth of the home in the wintertime. I don't know so much about winter that is so bad. I've lived a long time. I have preached a long time for a fellow who's 43. I have been preaching for almost 25 years. Twenty-three years ago this month I became a pastor for the first time.
I look back over my life. I can recall the sunshine. I can recall the Pleiades, the warmth, springtime, flowers, gaiety, laughter, fun, joy, frivolity, victory, success and mountain peaks. However, as I look back over my life I can also see Orion. I can recall the chill of the wintry blasts. I can recall the discomfort of the ice and snow. I can recall lonely hours and the times when it seemed like the Pleiades would never return. Yet I'm not so sure as I look back but that the hot chocolate of Orion was better for me than the sunshine of the Pleiades. So wherever you are this morning, if you're in the Pleiades, springtime, laughter, gaiety, success, victory, mountain peaks, sunshine and cloudless days, start gathering for the Orion. Winter is coming. Get your spiritual coat. Prepare yourself. Don't be knocked off by the coming of the chilly blasts of Orion.
Maybe this morning you are in Orion. Maybe there is no victory for you but defeat, no warmth for you but cold, no joy for you but sadness, no laughter for you but tears, and that is your lot in life this morning. May I encourage your heart? Orion has never come without the Pleiades being around the corner.
There is coming a place where there'll be no Orions, only Pleiades!
Oh, they tell me of a land far beyond
Oh, the land of cloudless day.
There is a place where we who are saved are going. There we will have no clouds, only sunshine; no chilly blasts, only spring warmth; no dying flowers, only blossoming blooms. There is coming a place where we will never grow old. We will never say goodbye to Mother, never feel the pain of a heart attack, never feel the eating away of the cancer, never feel the tear on the cheek of a sad good-bye. There the shoulders shall never stoop, brows shall never furrow and the skin shall never wrinkle. Oh, they tell me of a land far away!
I hope this morning that you are prepared for death. I hope that Heaven is yours because you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.