First Friday in Advent

First Friday in Advent          COVENANT RAINBOW   6

Scripture: Genesis 9:1-17

Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it.

“And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person’s life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in his own image. Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth.”

Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”

12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”

Some thoughts:

     In today’s passage, much like the initial account of creation, we find this blessing from God. His words were, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth” (Gen 1:28). After all, the world was starting over! We see in this part of the account of the Flood that some basic things have changed. Whereas previously man was to reign peacefully over the animals, now animals are to live in fear of man. Why? Man has been given permission by God to increase his diet to include meat. Again, harkening back to the original creation we see the great significance in the sanctity of life in man’s being made in the “image of God” (Gen 1:26).

     We look further into the covenant God made with Noah and all creation. “Covenant” means a “bond.” Despite human beings’ continued unfaithfulness, our faithful God made a covenant promise to Noah and all creation that such a flood would never happen again as a judgment on the world. In God’s graciousness, he gave Noah a visible seal of this covenant, a sign we still see today, the rainbow. Not only is it the signature on God’s promise not to destroy the earth with a flood, but God’s rainbow also is a reminder that rebellion toward God and ungodly immoral living brings the certainty of divine judgment. It is also a reminder that righteous living in God’s sight brings salvation. Such is the true purpose of the rainbow, God’s invention. It’s a tragedy that a secular society has embraced the rainbow as its symbol espousing a totally corrupt and opposite purpose and message from godliness. Judgment will come.

     The next time you see a rainbow, realize God is still speaking. There is this little phrase we read that puts a qualifier on the Covenant, “as long as the earth remains.” In Revelation we read of the final judgment by fire not water and a reference to a “rainbow of color” (Rev 4:3). It’s God’s rainbow. Have you noticed how all Scripture points to the consummation of history where Christ assumes his royal throne and establishes his eternal Kingdom? Every beautiful rainbow in the sky points to that glorious end, which as C.S. Lewis writes at the conclusion of The Last Battle, “now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” (p.184)

Music: “Joy to the World” John Rutter and Cambridge Choir


Lord Jesus, until the day comes when all of your creation sees you coming on the clouds with the hosts of heaven to bring to an end this world, when you will right all wrongs, heal every disease,  solve all the mess we’ve made of ourselves and your creation and separate the sheep and the goats, we have your rainbow to remind us of that coming day and your promise to us in the meantime. In these Advent days of anticipation, help us to watch and wait with expectancy of your glorious return. It’s good for us to try to imagine what it will be like to be in your very presence in our resurrection bodies and seeing you face to face, not dimly nor through a mirror for then we will see rainbow colors like we have never seen! Lord Jesus, make me more aware this day of that certain reality. You are my faithful God who will certainly bring it all to pass. I love you Lord and eagerly await that day, either during this lifetime or when I depart for the next better chapter to be with you. In my wonderful Savior’s name. Amen.              ―Daniel Sharp

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