“I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth (Genesis 9:13).”
How many rainbows have you seen? In my case a minimum of 160, and probably many more. That’s based on seeing at least two a year.
When I was at school my physics teacher explained how they came to be formed and the colours that you would normally see in one, i.e., red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Sunlight passes through millions of rain droplets and it is split by refraction into its component colours. These are reflected and refracted back from the droplets to form the rainbow we see. If you are like me you are enthralled by the vision.
To check out the theory of refraction, my physics teacher involved me and my classmates in doing a practical experiment with prisms. We had to devise a way to direct a beam of sunlight through a prism. I can’t remember how we did it, but miraculously the light split into its component colours in the right order, as in a rainbow. These colours were refracted through the prism onto a piece of paper and to another that acted as a screen. To me it was pure magic and tremendously exciting.
God’s Covenant Sign
Even today when I see a rainbow I rehearse what I was taught at school, but much more than that, I remember what God told Noah. He said, “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth (Genesis 9: 13),” and, “I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth (vv 15, 16). This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth (v 17).”
Every person apart from Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives (Genesis 7:13) had been killed by God for their rebellion and disobedience to Him (Genesis 6:5-7). They all perished in the worldwide flood (Genesis 7), along with creatures that had not been taken aboard the ark (Genesis 7: 21). God was giving mankind another start, but they still inherited sin from Adam (Genesis 8:21). Amazingly from one of the ancestors of these people, the Saviour Jesus would be born, i.e., Mary the wife of Joseph (Luke 2:1-7). She was not without sin (Romans 3:23), but what mercy for the elect.
God’s Miracles of Mercy
The Bible speaks of miracles upon miracles: the miracle of the salvation of Noah and his offspring (Genesis 8), along with ‘kinds’ (Genesis 6:20) of all creatures that they may flourish and multiply (Genesis 9:1); the miracles of the plagues of Egypt (Exodus 7:14-12:30) and the salvation of God’s people from Egypt to the land of Canaan (Deuteronomy 33:29); the miracle of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:20, 21); the miracles of Jesus (Acts 2:22); the miracle of His resurrection (Mark 16:9; 1 Corinthians 15:6); the miracle of His ascension (Acts 1:9); the miracles of new birth through the Spirit (John 3:3-8), and of many more amazing miracles yet to come.
The Rainbow – The Sign of God’s Faithfulness and Mercy
God has been faithful in all of these things, and He will continue in His faithfulness (Deuteronomy 7:9). Whenever we see a rainbow we can be reminded of what He has done for us. We can be grateful for His great mercy (v 9) in sending His Son (John 3:17) to save us unto Himself (Matthew 1:21). The sign (Genesis 9:13) of the rainbow gives us hope for a bright future. We can trust Him and live by faith in His Son (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38).