12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (NIV)
This was the scene across from my home last Thursday. The picture does not really do it justice. It is not often that one sees the full rainbow. However, last week, I saw one not once, but twice. On Wednesday, the day before this picture was taken, I saw the most beautiful double rainbow I have ever seen in my life! I was traveling on the road and did not have my camera with me so was unable to get a picture. I can still see its beauty in my mind’s eye, though.
I was on my way to meet my brother and sister-in-law for dinner as it was my SIL’s birthday. The rainbows appeared just as I was leaving my home. As I turned off the two lane highway leading up to the four-lane highway I travel to reach the restaurant, I stopped at a stoplight and off to my left, the sun was an absolute ball of fire! I looked to my right, and I could see part of the double rainbow. As my daughter and I continued on our journey, we turned on to a major highway, and suddenly, the full arc of both rainbows was directly in front of us! Exquisite! I have never seen anything like it in my life! The colors were so brilliant that you could see every color of the rainbow. It stayed in front of us all the way to our destination. It looked as if we were going to drive right under it at any moment.
I have never seen a rainbow stay around for that long. Usually they are visible for a short time and then are gone. But this one stayed for at least 15 minutes. It was just beginning to disappear as we pulled into the parking lot at the restaurant.
I know I looked like a crazy person driving down the road scrunched down over the steering wheel trying to pay attention to where I was going while looking at the rainbow at the same time! I kept looking at all these people passing me seemingly oblivious to the glorious sight in front of them, and I wanted to shout, “What is the matter with you? Do you not see what God is doing here? How can you not be in awe of that?!”
Later, when I had some time alone and was able to reflect on what I had seen, I thought more about the meaning behind the rainbow and not just about its beauty.
The rainbow first came after the flood. The Bible says in Genesis 6 that God saw how great the wickedness of man had become and that every thought of man’s heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:6 specifically says that God was grieved that He had made mankind. And verse 7, “So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth…'”
In Chapter 9, we see that the rainbow came as a promise from God between he and Noah and every living creature that was and would forever come that He would never again destroy the earth by water as He had done with the flood.
Verse 16 of Chapter 9 says, “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.“
When I thought about what the rainbow represents, I could not help but wonder what God is thinking and seeing when He puts them in the sky. Is it just me, or does it seem like rainbows show up a lot more frequently these days? I do not remember seeing them much as a child. I remember them being quite rare.
While I certainly appreciate their beauty and never cease to be amazed when I see them, I think I will always wonder now as I stare at their magnificence if God is seeing how far our world has fallen and is reminding Himself not to destroy us.
However, I will also see it as a sign of hope, for that is what the rainbow really is. A reminder of God’s unfailing love for us. That His mercies are new each day, and that as long as we are still here on this earth, there is still time to fall to our knees in repentance and have Jesus come in and be the Lord of our lives.
May your next rainbow fill you with the hope of the God of all creation.