An evening spent at Rainbow Bible Ranch is an evening well-spent. We picked Anna up from camp yesterday evening, and I was filled with so many fond remembrances of my summers at Rainbow, and the blessings I enjoyed through Larry and Robin Reinhold and their wonderful family. After the rodeo and dinner, we had a little rain and were blessed by the appearance of a rainbow. It got me to thinking.
Genesis 6 records the beginning of Noah’s story, and how God came to destroy the earth with a Flood. The earth had become wicked, and the people had turned away from God and were totally corrupt.
Genesis 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.
God was good enough and merciful enough to bless Noah and his family, and to preserve them as the seed by which God would re-populate the earth. After the Flood, God gave this promise to Noah and his family, the only people on the earth that were righteous in God’s sight:
Genesis 9:7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, teem on the earth and multiply in it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
God has gifted us with this sign, a sign and covenant that still remains, and a sign that we all – Christian and atheist alike – still marvel at. A beautiful rainbow stretching from horizon to horizon, a prism in the clouds, prompting ancient Greeks and Romans to associate it with the steps of a beautiful goddess, for others to associate it with a pot of gold and wishes granted. But in truth, it is a beautifully haunting and comforting reminder that there is a God in the heavens, still powerful over this world and triumphant over evil. When God makes a covenant, it lasts for all time.
It is fitting to remember that this is the true meaning of the rainbow. Whatever other meaning other groups may attempt to assign to the rainbow, we cannot escape the fact that the God of the Universe, the Creator of the rainbow, gifted this sign as a symbol of judgement and preservation. The rainbow represents God’s love for mankind, fulfilled in his son, Jesus Christ. The rainbow represents God’s justice, his righteous, wrathful justice, which we can escape through belief in Christ and his redemptive sacrifice upon the cross. The rainbow represents by extension, then, God choosing to adopt as his children those of a sinful, fallen race who have given their lives to Christ. The rainbow represents God’s mercy, in preserving a righteous family through which to re-populate the reborn world. The rainbow represents a promise to preserve a remnant.
According to His Word and to His covenant, God will not again destroy the earth by flood. But He will come, His Son will come again, not as a suffering servant but as a triumphant king, to judge all the world. Are you ready for His return?