Genesis 9:8-17 (ESV)
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 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. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
You can only see a rainbow when it’s not raining where you are. You have to be looking at rain far away, with the sun behind you. The (oversimplified) physics is that you are looking at sunlight reflecting off raindrops.
The rainbow is the perfect symbol for this covenant because you normally see a rainbow after a storm has passed. The sky has to be clear around you to let the sunlight through so it can reflect off the raindrops. A rainbow is a sign that the storm is over.
And what a majestic sign it is, which fits this one-way covenant to a T. God makes a promise and demands nothing in return. The rainbow is entirely God’s doing.
Man can’t contribute anything – except to gaze at it in awe.
This is a beautiful example of grace. God bestows a blessing. God displays His power and His majesty. We watch and are humbled. It’s His show.
Part of serving Christ as Lord is understanding that He is Lord of everything – the clouds, the laws of physics, the heavens, and the earth. Nothing happens outside of His will.
This is the foundation of grace. God is not out of His depth. While He is grieved by our sin, He’s not challenged by it. He can handle it. He has the ability to deliver grace.
This is in stark contrast to our inability to forgive. We are weak. We haven’t mastered the situation, so it controls us.
Let’s ask for His grace to teach us to give grace ourselves. We can’t gain this from trying harder.
Only by the supernatural action of the Holy Spirit can we rise above our pain.
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