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. Genesis 9:16 (NRSV)
As many of you know, the story of Noah and the ark is a favorite of mine and has been since I first heard it. In my office I have two framed pictures of Noah and the ark, a primitive set of Noah and some of the animals, a Noah’s ark snow globe, a Noah’s Ark music box, and even a Noah’s ark candle. I also have a number of Noah’s Ark Christmas tree decorations as well. I love this Bible story!
From the days of my earliest childhood I also admit to having been fascinated with rainbows! I have been fortunate enough to see double rainbows on several occasions. I have seen them in my hometown, elsewhere in the states in which I have lived or traveled, and on vacations here and abroad. Whenever I see one, I just have to stop and gaze at it. I enjoy seeing a rainbow that is an arc that ascends from the earth’s surface up into the clouds with no more of it to be seen. I marvel at a rainbow that is a full 180’ … stretching from one side to the other, as far as one can see. I delight in seeing a rainbow when the colors are especially vivid, after a rainstorm before all of the dark clouds have disappeared. Even a faint rainbow against a brilliant sky grabs my attention as I wait to see if it will intensify or slowly disappear. On two occasions I have seen what I can only describe as “rainbow orbs” in white clouds on a winter’s day when the sun is dazzling. Yes, I love rainbows!
I never see a rainbow without thinking of the Biblical story of Noah and the ark! I see rainbows as objects of beauty … as grace moments of our days. I pause and reflect on God’s grace and glory as I survey this work of creation that came into being long after God finished creating the sun, moon and stars.
While I am certain that God recognizes the beauty of all the rainbows that we see, God sees a visual reminder of a promise God made to … a covenant God made with … every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. That sign calls to God’s memory the everlasting covenant God made to never again allow the waters to become a flood to destroy all flesh. Long ago people used to tie a string around a finger to remind them of this or that. God set a bow in the clouds henceforward to remind Him of this eternal covenant … made between God and all flesh. Every time God sees the rainbow in the clouds, God remembers this promise. We may be certain that we, like the people of Noah’s day, have tested and tried the patience of God by all we have said and done that is not pleasing in His sight. Just when God might be ready to wash His hands of us, a rainbow appears. God remembers His promise and God is faithful to keep it. A rainbow … a reminder of God’s mercy and grace!
God of the rainbow, thank You for this beautiful grace moment we see now and then. Thank You for this sign that reminds You of Your promise and teaches us about Your faithfulness, which may help us, be more faithful in keeping our promises. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.