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One-a-Day...for the Heart: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember My covenant that is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh" (Genesis 9:12-15 ESV).

     That's why we have rainbows. They're like God's post-it notes on the sky to remind us of the promise He made between man and Himself to never destroy mankind with a flood like the devastating one that swallowed all flesh except eight people on an ark. The worldwide flood completely wiped out life as it existed from the day of creation.

     Men, women, children, animals, plants, and trees perished in the depths of the most catastrophic flood that has ever occurred. God could no longer tolerate the sin-soaked sea of humanity. Hence, His heavens poured forth a never-ending torrential rain until every living thing was soaked, saturated, and destroyed by the Lord's fierce judgment. How He grieved the tremendous loss of all that He'd created. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and although there are different kinds of death, such as the death of a relationship, a job, etc., this was the physical death of many, many souls.

     The Hebrew word for “rainbow” in the opening scripture is translated as “war bow.” It was a bow used in battle or for hunting. One use of a war bow brought death; the other yielded provision and life. When the heavens pounded the earth with violent rain for forty days and nights, the Lord's judgment fell on creation. Only Noah and his family escaped the wrath of God and survived in the ark. The Lord extended His mercy to a righteous man and his family who stood alone in integrity and the fear of God.

     To seal His covenant with Noah (the Noahic Covenant), God replaced the image of His great and terrible war bow with a spectacular rainbow of exquisite color and beauty. Rain and clouds that bring the rainbow symbolize the promise of provision and life. The rainbow is meant to comfort, not terrify. It assures us of God's gracious covenant with mankind. We are saved from eternal death and destruction through the finished work of God's Son, Jesus Christ.

     The skies hold a rainbow, and one also appears around God's throne. In Revelation 4:2-3 (ESV), the Apostle John says, "At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne. And He who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” Have you ever bought something you loved—a picture, piece of jewelry, or specialty item—and you bought a second one to give to a friend or family member to share in the beauty of it? God did that with His rainbow. He shares part of the décor around His throne with us whenever He places His bow in the heavens.

     We don't have to wonder what we'll find “somewhere over the rainbow.” Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases (Psalm 115:3 ESV). God is there, and part of what pleases Him is placing the rainbow in the sky to remind us of His mercy and grace. In Benson's Commentary, the author points out that rainbows appear when the clouds look almost ready to burst with rain when we have the most fear that a prevailing rain is imminent. It may rain, but never to the extent of the earth's destruction.

     The double rainbow in the picture above occurred recently near where I grew up. Although double rainbows are not mentioned in the Bible, there are two theories about their meaning. One thought is that the double rainbow represents the first and second coming of Jesus Christ. The second idea is that one rainbow represents the physical, seen world, and the other represents the spiritual, unseen world. Both are exciting, hopeful ideas to think about!

     The next time Father God places His bow in the heavens over your home, thank Him for His promise of mercy and grace. It's as beautiful as the bow.

© 2024, Chris Custer Werre


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