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Harbinger of Hope

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Genesis 9:13-16 (Note this is a repeat)

I have set my rainbow in the clouds and it will be the sign of the covenant between Me and earth.”(Genesis 9:13).

A brief study of rainbows reveals they can double-arc over a falls, or very rarely they might spring from the same origin. Googling ‘rainbows’, I discovered that from an aircraft or other vantage point of height, occasionally a full-circled rainbow can be seen. Science explains fogbows and moon bows in a fascinating study. Have you ever seen a Sun Dog? Like slivers of rainbow they lend an aura of mystery to the sky, seen around the globe under the right meteorological conditions. Amazing the handiwork of God!

Early in the history of earth God used the rainbow to signal a covenant which He initiated. It is interesting to note it is not reliant on anything to do with man or his behaviour, but rather is a covenant between God and the earth He has created, and sustains. Coming on the heels of a world-wide flood, the promise is all about God. “I have set My rainbow in the clouds” (Genesis 9:13). He takes ownership for this sign. It is quite probable that this was the first rainbow, due perhaps to changes in atmosphere and cloud conditions following the flood. God, who created all things, has perfect timing and capability to make changes in His creation.

Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds” God promises that He will remember the covenant He has made with Noah and every living creature (Genesis 9:14-16). We have sometimes got it wrong, thinking that the rainbow was a sign for man to remember what God had promised. Instead it’s a sign that God will not forget His promise; a sign of faithfulness to His covenant! What a marvellous hope!

That hope consists of the reality that a world-wide flood will never occur again. As bad as it gets when we see pictures on the news of terrible flooding in many countries around the world, there has never again been a world-wide flood. God has been true to His promise throughout human history since the time of Noah. It went like this: “Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Genesis 9:15).

When we see a rainbow we recognize immediately that God is in control. I remember a very long drive through the hinterland of Guyana. Trails petered out through trackless savannah. In places we had to choose whether to drive down a steep embankment to cross a stream or to rebuild a rickety bridge. As the day wore on we were getting nervous that the sun would suddenly set as it does in the tropics, before we reached our destination. Pacing beside our vehicles as the men repaired the bridge, I was absolutely thrilled by the sight of a rainbow in the sky. There had been no rain where we were, but there it was! A marvellous sign that God had not forgotten us!

God referred to His everlasting covenant on the occasion of the first recorded rainbow. He has made another everlasting covenant. Hebrews 13:20 refers to the fulfillment of God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 17. “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant” (KJV), or perhaps the Living Bible states it more clearly “Now may the God of peace–who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood….” Salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord! What glorious hope we have in the faithfulness of our great God! And with that benediction God’s purpose is revealed “[He will] equip you with everything good for doing His will”!

Reflection:

What did the rainbow mean to Noah and is family?

Has God kept His covenant with Noah?

When you see a rainbow now, what do you think God will be saying to you personally?

Consider how much our world stands in need of a harbinger of Hope.

by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)

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