“Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.”
After getting caught in a lightening storm while backpacking in the High Sierra, my brother started taking clouds very seriously. One glimpse of a distant puffy white apparition, and inevitably he would be packing up and heading down the mountain. His caution was certainly warranted and reminds me very much of how Noah’s family must have felt the first time they saw clouds gathering again after stepping forth onto a deluge devastated earth.
Prior to the flood, Earth’s water canopy had maintained a rather greenhouse-like atmosphere, likely void of stormy weather. Imagine the trauma when the floodgates opened and all that water came crashing down. Not to mention the visual manifestation of God’s wrath when those 8 survivors saw the world as they had known it, utterly changed by the seismic activity of the fountains of the deep bursting forth. It must have been with fear and trembling that they first stepped forth on that ruined, yet remade earth.
But God in His mercy, with great compassion, placed a bow in those ominous clouds; a bow not pointed at the earth in perpetual wrath, but hung up as it were, in a posture of peace. This was their reminder that when the fearful clouds came and the rain started falling again, that it would not be for the destruction of but for the nourishment of the earth. What a comfort the sight of that rainbow must have been for Noah’s family ever after!
Perhaps stormy weather has you, like the weeping prophet of Lamentations 3:12, feeling that God had “bent His bow and set me as a target for His arrows.” But the rainbow helps us all call to mind verses 21-23, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
And dear friend, the rainbow only tells half the story. Did you know that from a heavenly perspective a rainbow is actually a complete circle? Because of the angle of the light shining through the water droplets combined with the slope of the earth we only see half the circle, or a bow. But since the advent of flight people have been able to capture images like the one linked here, which has been God’s perspective all along! We see the promise. He sees the fulfillment of it in Christ. “For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
“As I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” —Isaiah 54:9,10
(After singing Great Is Thy Faithfulness, listen to Handel’s Messiah selections “There sound is gone out…”)
Click on the About link at the top of the page to find out how we use tiny objects like the one above to help remember each of the 25 people in the genealogy of Christ we will be reading about during the Advent season.