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The Rainbow is a Sign

By John McCoury

Roan Mountain, Tennessee

 

Whenever I catch sight of a rainbow, I like to point it out and say to any people nearby, “God put that there. Sometimes that catches them off guard. Sometimes they even to appear a little jumpy. They look around as though God is going to appear. Then I say, “That the rainbow is the sign of a promise. According to Genesis 9, God will never again flood the earth.” I have found that to be a great way to start a conversation about Christ. We read in Gen 9:9-17a covenant is a binding agreement between two parties that establishes them in a mutually committed relationship. Consequences for breaking the terms of the covenant are spelled ahead of time. Throughout the Old Testament God covenants with a group of people through an individual representative—here Noah, and later Abraham, Moses, and David. In this instance, God vows to Noah and the rest of creation that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood, that the seasons will come and go for as long as the earth remains, and that a rainbow will be the sign of His promises. The token was a beautiful sight to Noah, and it is a beautiful display to behold even to this day. It is the token of the rainbow. The rainbow came because there had been a storm. Every rainbow has a cloud as its background. The rainbow is brightest when the clouds are the darkest, but we must always realize that the rainbow can be revealed only when there is a break in the clouds. That rainbow says that the sun has been shining even though there are clouds.

The rainbow is the symbol of God’s everlasting love. Read Isaiah 54:9. Sorrow is the dark background on which God paints His tokens of love. His grace can take the teardrops and storm clouds of our lives and turn them into arches of triumph and jewels of glorious luster. We do not know when the storm clouds will come, but we can always be sure that God will give a rainbow. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (I Corinthians 4:17). The rainbow on earth is only a half circle; but when we get to Heaven, it will be a complete circle. Revelation 4:3 states that John saw a “… rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” The rainbow will be a complete circle and it will be only green, the color representing praise and worship. On earth, the bow is bent toward Heaven, not toward earth. It points up to tell us God’s wrath was removed at Calvary. God made the rainbow a covenant sign. To help His people remember His covenants, God gave them visible signs. His covenant with Abraham was sealed with the sign of circumcision (17:11; Rom. 4:9- 12) and the Mosaic covenant at Sinai with the sign of the weekly Sabbath (Ex. 31:16,17). God’s covenant with Noah and the animal creation was sealed with the sign of the rainbow. Whenever people saw the rainbow, they would remember God’s promise that no future storm would ever become a worldwide flood that would destroy humanity The rainbow isn’t only for us to see, for the Lord said” I will look on it” (Gen. 9:16). God certainly doesn’t forget His covenants with His people, but this is just another way of assuring us that we don’t need to be afraid. When we look at the rainbow, we know that our Father is also looking at the rainbow, and therefore it becomes a bridge that brings us together.

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John McCoury is pastor of Evergreen Freewill Baptist Church in Roan Mountain, Tennessee and the chaplain at Roan Highlands Nursing Center

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