Read: Genesis 9:11-17; Luke 17:26-27
I like acrostics. Those first letter helps that make memorizing easier. Am I the only person who remembers that " a rat in the house might eat the ice cream" is a helpful way to remember how to spell arithmetic? Or, what about the easy way to remember the colors of the rainbow through the acrostic Roy G. Biv? Those are, of course: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. What a simple way to recall the order of the colors displayed on God's beautiful billboard that highlights His faithfulness. I love that He wants to tell the world each time we see His beautiful bow that He will never again bring a worldwide flood, Genesis 9:11-17. If we find this lovely reminder encouraging, how much more meaningful this promise must have been to Noah and his family?
I can't even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Noah and his wife, as well as his three sons and their wives that day when they finally stepped onto land after having been on the ark for more than a year. They didn't, of course, land in the same place they were that day when God shut the ark's door, Genesis 7:16. In addition to that fact, the whole world had been violently affected by the upheaval of the waters both those above and those underneath the earth, Genesis 7:11-12. Surely, much of even what might have been familiar to Noah if he were looking at it was totally changed. That was only the beginning of what was so different for Noah and his family. There were no people to greet them as they disembarked, and only the creatures who left the ark were part of their new world. How glad they must have been to see the Lord's rainbow when they once again experienced rain. How precious was His promise to them. God didn't want them to be fearful. They could begin again with the knowledge that they would never experience another flood like the one that the Lord had brought them through. They had the kind of hope God gives; the hope based on truth. He even gave them a tangible reminder, the rainbow. They could count on His faithfulness and could be reminded whenever they saw His bow.
Can you imagine the story Noah and his family had to share with the children who were born into his family after the flood? How God had commissioned Noah to build an ark of safety and how they longed that others around who encountered this building project would also enter the ark when it was time. Yet, no other people believed what Noah said. They merely wanted to live their lives just as Jesus affirmed, Luke 17:26-27.
The result? Noah and his family were not able to convince even one person who was alive when God shut the ark's door that the time of God's patience had reached an end. Can you imagine Noah's sorrow as he spoke to his grandchildren and great grandchildren concerning God's pain because of the destruction he would have to bring upon His world due to the pervasive wickedness of its inhabitants, Genesis 6:6-7? Yet, how his eyes must have brightened as he told the story concerning how God had kept the ark afloat, sustaining them even as God's judgment was poured out on to the whole earth. Can you picture grandpa Noah taking little ones by the hand and pointing to the beautiful rainbow as He told them all about God? Both His holiness and His tender care for His children. What a picture of God's promised faithfulness the rainbow is. His reminder that He has and will keep every promise that He has ever made, Numbers 23:19.
We who belong to Jesus have a story, and it is no less amazing than Noah's. No, we haven't experienced a global flood or watched as God brought the animals into an ark two by two. Oh, wouldn't that have been wondrous to see? Yet, like Noah, we have experienced God's grace, Genesis 6:8; Ephesians 2:8-9. Had God not brought us safely into Jesus, we would still be dead in sin, Ephesians 2:1-3. No, we haven't spent months on top of the waters experiencing God's amazing sustaining power. Even so, how many times has Jesus made a way for us? How many circumstances seemed so insurmountable, and how many times did it feel as if we might be drowning? Yet, each time, He helped. Not in one way, but in such a variety of ways. Even some that I don't even know about. His sustaining grace has been as vast as what He did for Noah.
What about rainbows for us. Not the colorful kind, but tangible hope that God has provided along the way. Oh, the variety of ways, He has placed a rainbow there for us, a reminder that we have His hope. Often it was a scripture or a help given by a friend. The colors of the "rainbows" that God has provided for us are diverse and beautiful because they have been ordered by a God Who has limitless resources. They are reminders of God's faithfulness that are no less beautiful and meaningful than the rainbow God gave Noah. The same God Who saved and sustained Noah and his family has given us a story too. Enabled by His Spirit, may we humbly and boldly tell it, 1 Peter 3:15-16.