My rainbow . . . will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13
On a hike in the mountains, Adrian found himself above some low-lying clouds. With the sun behind him, Adrian looked down and saw not only his shadow but also a brilliant display known as a Brocken spectre. This phenomenon resembles a rainbow halo, encircling the shadow of the person. It occurs when the sunlight reflects back off the clouds below. Adrian described it as a “magical” moment, one that delighted him immensely.
We can imagine how similarly stunning seeing the first rainbow must have been for Noah. More than just a delight to his eyes, the refracted light and resulting colors came with a promise from God. After a devastating flood, God assured Noah, and all the “living creatures” who’ve lived since, that “never again [would] the waters become a flood to destroy all life” (Genesis 9:15).
Our earth still experiences floods and other frightening weather that results in tragic loss, but the rainbow is a promise that God will never judge the earth again with a worldwide flood. This promise of His faithfulness can remind us that though we individually will experience personal losses and physical death on this earth—whether by disease, natural disaster, wrongdoing, or advancing age—God bolsters us with His love and presence throughout the difficulties we face. Sunlight reflecting colors through water is a reminder of His faithfulness to fill the earth with those who bear His image and reflect His glory to others.
How does God’s promise reassure you in the midst of weather-related catastrophes? Who in your life needs your reflection of God’s glory?
Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness to protect and provide for me by sustaining the natural laws of Your creation. Help me to reflect Your glory to those around me.
The word covenant (Genesis 9:12–17) is a translation of the Hebrew word ber-eeth’. This widely used word in the Old Testament (close to 280 times) conveys ideas such as a pact, an agreement, or a bond between two or more persons. Entrance into the covenant bound the participant(s) to the stipulated terms. Treaties could be unilateral, where one party subscribed to self-generated commitments. While in other arrangements, multiple parties agreed to specific terms. The covenant God made with Noah was unilateral. Four elements were essential: parties, conditions, results, and security. In the Noahic covenant, the parties were God, Noah and his descendants, and the earth (vv. 12, 13, 16); the conditions were that mankind would be fruitful and fill the earth (vv. 1, 7); the result was God’s preservation of the earth and mankind (vv. 11, 15); and the security was the rainbow (vv. 12–17).