12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:12-16
Have we forgotten God’s promises? Have we let events in our culture turn our hearts from His Word? One might think so by observing our reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision regarding homosexual marriage.
There’s no doubt that the Court’s decision is troubling to those of us who value God’s Word and are concerned over the spiritual well-being of our nation. But our concern should not lead us to despair. This decision and the circumstances that have preceded and will follow this ruling are not the end of the Christian Faith in America. Instead they are tremendous opportunities for the Gospel.
But we will lose these opportunities if we do not remember God’s promises and set our hearts on His Word.
One place we can turn our present circumstances into opportunities to witness of Christ is how our culture is currently using the rainbow as a symbol.
We should remember that the rainbow is a sign of God’s mercy – after all, He created it as a way of remembering. Was the world before the Flood better or worse than the world now? Wasn’t it so filled with horrible sins – even disgusting sexual sins – that the Lord regretted even creating mankind?
The waters of the Flood were filled with God’s wrath … and with His Grace. After it had cleansed the Earth, God set the rainbow in the sky with His promise to the few whom He had delivered through its waters that He would never again destroy the Earth with a flood because of sin – no matter how bad that sin became.
Every time a rainbow appears in the sky we are reminded of God’s mercy and grace. Shouldn’t we be able to use the rainbows appearing elsewhere for other purposes to speak God’s Word to those who are perishing in their sins?
We can voice our outrage and disgust at buildings, bridges, and landmarks – including publicly-owned properties like the White House – being bathed in rainbow colors. But our rants only further separate and disenfranchise us from those who are celebrating the public sanction of their sins. Wouldn’t it be better to make use of these rainbows to speak of the God who created the rainbow to display His mercy and now provides a Flood to wash away the sin that destroys?
Things are bad. Things are likely to get worse. Whenever sin is condoned, sanctioned, and celebrated in a culture, ruin and destruction are certain to follow. But even more certainly, the Church endures and remains – and often prospers – in the midst of the ravages of sin when God’s people remember His promises and hold fast to His Word.
Rise up, O Church. Answer the call to proclaim the One who has washed us in the flood of Baptism, set His promises over us, and has placed us in this place and time to bear witness of His love, mercy, and grace to sinners – and to speak of rainbows.
Questions to consider:
- How has my reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision improved or damaged my witness of Christ to those who support it?
- In what ways can I use the rainbow image to share the Word of God with people who don’t know what the rainbow really means?
- What might I expect as a response to sharing God’s promises connected to the rainbow? How can I answer any objections?
- From which promises of God would I benefit by knowing them better and remembering them in light of the changes taking place in our culture?