Genesis 9:13 – I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (NIV)
The past summer was unusually rainy here, so I've seen more rainbows than usual. The rainbow is surely one of nature's most stunning splendours. Its spectrum of vibrant colours never fails to capture our wonder. Furthermore, of all the natural elements in the universe, God chose the rainbow to ratify a magnificent promise to all living creatures. The rainbow is God's banner in the sky. Let's look at the oath that God announced to Noah after the great flood:
Genesis 9:9-11 – I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you — the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you — every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. (NIV)
Did you catch the allusion to the creation story? God essentially promised to sustain the life that He created. It would happen through the ongoing cycle of life: birth, death, and procreation of the species, thus the animal pairs: "The animals going in [the ark] were male and female of every living thing." (Genesis 7:16a NIV)
The rainbow is an encouraging sign for our own day, with our own anxieties over life's continued existence. The rainbow reminds us that God is greater than all the forces that squelch the ongoing cycle of life. God is still the sustainer of all creaturely life. The rainbow reminds us that life triumphs over death; divine mercy triumphs over judgment — just as God promised. God is still in control; His mercy alone sustains a world in which the cycle of life can survive.
As long as this temporal created order remains, the rainbow will appear. We see it when light is refracted in water droplets, producing a continuous spectrum of colours — even beyond what the eye can see. These, I say, are the colours of promise.
Because of the rainbow's aesthetic appeal, it appears in all kinds of human creations: art, doodles, toys, political or social symbols, logos, and much more. However, nobody can claim the rainbow as their patent — except God. So, whenever we see the rainbow, whether in the natural world or in human replicas, and whatever their use, we can always worship the Creator of the rainbow — by affirming His promise to created life:
Genesis 9:16 – Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. (NIV)
Prayer: Creator God, thank You for giving us a visible sign in the sky which connects the natural order with the supernatural order, and which connects Your ancient promise with our future hope. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "At The Cross" (Lyrics)