Noah and his family stepped out of the ark into a new world.
After Noah worshipped God at the altar, God responded.
“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth.
I establish My covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’” ~Genesis 9:8-11
Don’t gloss over this monumental moment in the history of the world:
God established a covenant with all living beings on earth that He would never again, no matter what, ever flood the whole earth again.
This was no pinky swear.
In the ancient world, you couldn’t back out of a covenant without tremendous consequences to your honor, family name, and future — and they cared much more about those things than we do today.
To them, breaking a covenant brought lasting shame. To us, at least in the western world, covenants, contracts, vows, etc. are “made to be broken.”
In ancient times they had only one chance of getting out of a covenant, besides death. If the covenant was “conditional,” they were released from keeping their end of the agreement if the other party failed to keep theirs.
This was not that kind of covenant.
God made this covenant with Himself. It was not conditioned on man, but on Himself, and He never breaks His covenants.
This covenant couldn’t fail.
Think back on the experience Noah and his family had just endured, and you’ll understand why this covenant was so comforting.
When you hear rain softly pitter patter on your roof, what sort of reaction does it create in you?
I feel a sense of serenity. Ah, a gentle cleansing shower watering my garden.
Noah and his family wouldn’t have felt serenity — maybe insanity, but not serenity. They’d have been tempted to run, screaming, back onto the ark.
They no doubt greatly appreciated knowing that God absolutely would never ever, under any circumstance, ever send them on another yearlong cruise.
Now, think back on why God sent the flood to begin with, and you’ll see why this covenant was so astounding.
Before the flood, the world had become evil to the point that every intention of every heart was evil.
Through this covenant, God wasn’t telling Noah that the world would never again become so evil that He wouldn’t need to destroy it again.
He was saying that despite the fact that the world would again become that evil, He wouldn’t send another world-wide flood. Instead, He’d extend grace.
“I’ll never again curse the ground on account of man even though the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth, I’ll never again destroy every living thing.” ~ Genesis 8:21
With this background, we’re now ready for the Red Thread Clue.
“I have set My bow in the cloud . . .” ~ Genesis 9:13a
God sent Jesus Christ, who established a new covenant of grace, taking the full judgment of the world’s sin upon Himself.
When do we normally see a rainbow?
After it rains.
Rainbows don’t pop up out of the sun, but you’ve got to have sun to see a rainbow.
Rain and sun. Judgment and grace.
I’m not saying that rain is a biblical type of judgment, but rather that, to Noah and his family, rain would forever remind them of the wrath of God poured out on the sin of the world. The sun would remind them of the passing of that wrath.
We need both to see a rainbow.
“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 9:13-15 (ESV)
The first time I encountered the phrase uttered by God in the Bible, “I will remember…” I was confused.
God has to be reminded of things? How can that be?
Fortunately it doesn’t mean that it would actually slip God’s mind, and that if it weren’t for the rainbow, God would accidentally flood the earth again.
God will never see a rainbow and gasp, “Whew! That was a close one! I almost sent another flood.”
God doesn’t need to be reminded of anything. We do.
This phrase is meant to encourage us. Whenever we see a rainbow, we can know with confidence that God will never forget His covenant of grace towards all living flesh – man, woman, child, beast and bug.
We can rest with confidence that our covenant-keeping God is always faithful. When He has promised grace, He never revokes it.
Through the sign of the rainbow, we are reminded of His extravagant grace never to destroy the world by flood again — no matter how evil our world becomes.
Just as sure is God’s promise that He will never revoke His grace to all who believe in and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.
Once saved, always saved is an old, but faithful saying, because the promises of God are faithful and true.
UPDATE: Since writing this post, I discovered a post by Anne Graham Lotz, which she wrote while 120,000 or more of us joined her in praying for our nation in the month of July 2014. A woman who was prayer-walking around our nation’s capital took an astounding photograph of a double rainbow over the capital building in Washington, DC. Click this link to see the photo: After 7 7 7: Heaven’s Answer? A Double Rainbow
Did you ever imagine the story of the ark was so rich in clues of Jesus?
Click to read the next post in this series: The Red Thread in Noah’s Ark: The Cloud
If you’re new to this series, click on this link to see the previous posts: The Red Thread in Noah’s Ark series
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