“I have set My rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant…never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”
Over and over, God repeats this to Noah: “Never again…never again…never again” will He destroy the entire earth with the waters of a flood. From the New Testament we know that when God finally does bring down the curtain on this world, it will not be by water, but by fire.
To His promise God puts His own signature – the rainbow.
Some have thought that the rainbow itself was not a new thing, but that God now attaches a special significance to its presence in the sky. On the other hand, if the hydrologic or atmospheric system of the pre-flood world was far different than what we know now, then the rainbow may indeed have been something never before seen.
Everyone loves a rainbow. We see one and call others out to the porch to look at it – as though we had never seen one before.
People sing songs about rainbows – from Dorothy’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in The Wizard Of Oz, to Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection” in one of those Muppet movies. Old fairy tales talk of leprechauns hiding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Tragically, God’s rainbow signature has been corrupted and co-opted (stolen!) in recent years as a banner for the LGBTQ movement. But they do not own it, nor should we forget who does.
Only if we listen to God’s own word on the rainbow do we see the rainbow as God’s own signature to His precious promises.
Certainly, scientists would tell us that a rainbow involves the interplay of sunlight, water and air. But the Bible repeatedly shows us how God uses so-called “natural” things to teach spiritual truths – the water in Jacob’s well to teach a woman about the “Living Water” that can satisfy her thirsty soul – the little boy’s lunch to feed thousands and launch Christ’s sermon on the Bread of Life. Whenever God attaches His word to something, it becomes something it was not before, something better – as when God attaches His word to the water of Baptism to make it a washing of rebirth, or to the bread and wine of Holy Communion and it “is” the body and blood of our Savior.
In the rainbow is God’s unshakeable promise that He still controls the world in which we live, that wind, wave and disaster, life and death are still held firmly in His hand, that all of history will meet at the feet of the God who so loved the world, so loved us, that He gave His only-begotten Son.
God says in the 54th chapter of Isaiah: “To Me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor My covenant of peace be removed.”
After the storm comes the rainbow. After Good Friday comes Easter.
After this life comes life eternal – around the rainbow-circled throne portrayed on the pages of Revelation. You can learn a lot from a rainbow.