Recently my wife and I were able to enjoy a getaway at a beach for a few days. One morning as I was sitting on our small balcony taking in the ocean view, a rainbow suddenly appeared over the water. One end of the colorful spectacle seemed to protrude right out of the sea. It was a beautiful sight which I was able to capture with the camera on my phone before it began to fade and disappear a few minutes later. That unexpected phenomenon also became the focus of some of my quiet moments of morning contemplation.
Rainbows can be wonderful reminders for us. As a matter of fact, the Bible informs us that God created those wonders of nature for this very purpose. It’s unfortunate that some groups have taken something good and adopted it as symbol for celebrating relationships which run contrary to God’s intentions and teachings. I’m afraid this alternative connection has caused some of us to shy away from the legitimate meaning of rainbows. In the process of our being hesitant to use this God-given symbol, we have lost a reminder of some significant and helpful truths.
The rainbow was given after a time of judgment – the flood during Noah’s time. It was intended to be a sign of the covenant God made with Noah, specifically pointing to God’s promise to never destroy the earth again by means of a flood. Some of us believe we may be experiencing a time of judgment today. So what does the rainbow have to say to us in times like these?
For one thing, it reminds us that God hasn’t forsaken His people. While God severely judged the world for its wickedness in Noah’s day, He still took care of those who were faithful to Him. He spared Noah and his family from the destruction of the flood and brought them through to the other side. Let’s be assured that God hasn’t forsaken His faithful followers today either. Even as judgment falls, He’s with His people and is taking care of them. This doesn’t mean believers won’t have to suffer some consequences of what’s taking place in our world today. We may not only be forced to endure the hardships everyone else experiences, but we may also have to face suffering and some degree of persecution because of our faith. However, through it all God knows those who belong to Him. To use a biblical picture of that concept, He has put His mark on our foreheads. He sees us, He’s with us, and He’ll be our help through whatever comes our way.
The rainbow also reminds us that God is still here to show mercy to a lost world. Many may not believe in Him, may ignore Him, or may even defy His Word, but He’s still here lovingly offering grace to any who will turn to Him. God may send the flood of judgment, but He also still holds forth the rainbow of forgiveness, love, and mercy.
This colorful symbol also serves as a reminder that God will fulfill His promises. He has done what He promised Noah those many, many centuries ago, as well as having been faithful to do everything else He has ever said. As we go through tough times today, we can rest on the assurances of God’s Word. We can be confident that He will continue to fulfill His promises in the days ahead. Our world may change. The future may look uncertain. However, we can depend on a covenant-keeping God.
So let’s reclaim the rainbow as a rich symbol of God’s faithfulness in time of judgment. As much as ever, we need to be reminded of the truths it represents.