Genesis 9:12-13: “Then God said, ‘I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.’”

We know why we have a refrigerator. Food is subject to decay or spoilage.  That’s why we place perishables in the freezer.  Not unlike fruits and vegetables, life’s path is perishable. Unless we place ourselves into the Lord’s hands, our lives are subject to destruction and decay. In the book of Psalms we read (Psalm 1:6)

“For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”

If left to our own devices our lives will eventually disintegrate and fall apart.  And this is exactly what took place in Noah’s time.  As we read in the book of Genesis, the whole human civilization looked like a bunch of rotten apples (Genesis 6:5):

“The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.”

What do we do when we have a fruit platter with rotten apples that is covered with fruit flies?  We take out the trash after setting aside the few apples unaffected by their rotten neighbors. And that’s exactly what happened with Noah’s generation. Desperate times call for desperate actions, but even so, the Lord was heartbroken and grieving over His spoiled creation (Genesis 6:6-8):

“So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth.  It broke his heart.  And the Lord said, ‘I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth.  Yes, and I will destroy every living thing – all the people, the large animals, the small animals, and even the birds of the sky.  I am sorry I ever made them.’ But Noah found favor with the Lord.” 

Here was a single family – Noah’s wife and children with their respective spouses – whom the Lord separated from the bad apples around them. To give God’s creation another chance and to save land mammals from complete extinction, the world’s biggest life boat was constructed, aka Noah’s ark.

Even though a worldwide flood is a disastrous affair, let’s not forget that Noah’s story remains a story of hope, and here is why: When a world turned bad, God decided to reboot and start over instead of completely writing us off.  Even as the majority of the known world was moving into the wrong direction, God still saw a glimmer of hope in us, and found a reason to believe in us.

Today’s rainbow in the clouds is our beautiful reminder that God won’t repeat a worldwide flood – never mind that people essentially have not changed! It didn’t take very long until human business went on as usual: some of it good, some of it bad. Yet even if the world went to hell in a hand-basket, God would not flood the whole world again to save a chosen few.  He decided to send His Son Jesus instead; and Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

Our God is merciful; He never gives up. We have to trust Him on that.

“Somewhere over the rainbow blue birds fly and the dreams that you dream of, dreams really do come true!” (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”)

One thought on “Genesis 9:12-13: “Then God said, ‘I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.’”

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