Cheryl is a poet, freelance writer, author, and former newspaper columnist, with degrees in Psychology and Biblical Studies.
The sailor's warning
When I was a young girl I used to sit on my front porch in the evenings with my great grandmother whom everyone referred to as "Aunt Florence." One evening at dusk she said the following. "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." When I inquired she said that if the sky was red at night there would be smooth sailing ahead the next day. If, however, the heavens were red in the morning then there would be rough seas. As an adult, I once heard a preacher quote Matthew 16:2-3 2 in which Jesus said the following to His disciples. "When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering.” Jesus was using this saying for a spiritual purpose to teach a lesson to the Pharisees and Sadducees. They had been following Him, asking questions trying to trip him up. When they asked for a sign to prove He was the Christ, Jesus mentioned this specific sailor's proverb. He added that the religious leaders would receive no sign except the sign of Jonah. This was a reference to His being in the grave 3 days and nights just as the prophet was in the belly of the great fish. Once He said this He walked away and left His enemies standing there.
The science behind the proverb
Many people believe that this scripture in Matthew is the origin of the saying my great grandmother quoted.. For Jesus to use it as an analogy indicates that it was popular during his time on earth. Sailors have many sayings that meteorologists have looked into but found they have not been proven to be accurate. On the other hand, Meteorologists have studied this particular lk. for years, at our latitude along the Central Coast and their consensus is that this old adage is indeed true more often than it is not. There is a science behind this line of thinking and here is why it is accurate: At our latitude, the jet stream steers areas of high and low pressure from the west toward the east most of the time. High pressure often produces clear weather as the air sinks toward the surface, while low pressure usually produces weather that is stormy and unsettled. When an area of high pressure is to our west, it most often produces red sunsets. This is because of contaminants in the air such as smoke, salt, dust, and aerosols near the surface of the Earth. The sunlight shines through these particulates, which are scattering and greatly diminishing the shorter wavelengths that reflect the blue hue in the visible light spectrum. This leaves behind the longer wavelengths, such as the red color that can be seen by our eyes. When sailors observe a red sunrise, this usually means an area of high pressure is in the east, and that an area of low pressure is following close behind. This suggests that stormy weather is likely to be on the way. When a sailor sees a red sunset while at sea, it more than likely indicates that the area of high pressure is to the west and moving eastward, which means that clear and dry weather on the way.
In days gone by
During the time that Christ was living on the earth, there were no meteorologists so weather patterns came from personal experiences. A variation of the popular phrase is "Red sky at morning, shepherds take warning. Red sky at night shepherds delight." Whether you say shepherds or sailors the meaning is still the same. A red sky at sunset indicates that high pressure is moving in from the west. This is believed to promise that the following day will be one with no precipitation and be pleasant. When the sky is red in the morning this suggests that the high-pressure weather system has already moved east and that the good weather has passed, opening the door for a low-pressure system that is windy and wet. When Christ addressed the Pharisees and Sadducees he was chastising them for not knowing that time it is spiritually, They were always trying to trap Him and getting caught in their own snares.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Cheryl E Preston
OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on August 31, 2020:
Just watched the video, it is impressive, seeing how the country was in the 40s
Cheryl E Preston (author) from Roanoke on August 25, 2020:
My great-grandma sower by this. Thank you
OLUSEGUN from NIGERIA on August 25, 2020:
""Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." When I inquired she said that if the sky was red at night there would be smooth sailing ahead the next day." This is really informative. Learnt from this. There are many analogies our ancient fathers used, which some have been using that cannot be readily proved by neither scientists nor other researchers. This shows the depth of humans minds, this reveals that God has given man deeper insights that the systems of the world still find difficult to comprehend.
As we grow we know and learn more. Thanks for sharing, ""Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." When I inquired she said that if the sky was red at night there would be smooth sailing ahead the next day." We should always be ready for the D-Day.
Wishing you a wonderful day. Stay Safe under the shadow of Jesus Christ.