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The Rainbow

line The Rainbow

Pause and Consider



The Rainbow


We have been considering (from Genesis 9) the blessings that God gave to mankind following the Flood.  Last week we looked at the first four.  First, procreation—the multiplication of life.  “Be fruitful and multiply” the LORD said twice, repeating what He had told Adam and Eve.  Second, protection—the sustaining of life.  God put the fear of man into every beast.  Man is made in the image of God while animals are not.  Third, prominence—man is put in charge over the animal kingdom.  And fourth, provision—man is now allowed to be a carnivore.  This once again emphasizes the wide gap between Man and animals.

We now give thought to the last two blessings.  Fifth is a second level of protection.  And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.  (6)  Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God he made man. (5, 6)

God had put the fear of man into animals; now He must put the fear of God into man.  An animal that killed a man was to be killed.  A man that murdered a man was to be executed, because God required the highest penalty for murdering one made in His image.

‘Shall be shed’ is in the imperative.  Capital punishment is a protection for life because it is a strong deterrent to murder.  God is placing the sword in the hand of man; giving man His own judicial power; thus the establishment of government, man over man.

Government was established by God because man is evil.  One of our Founding Fathers wisely said, “If men were angels, there would be no need for government.”  The fear of punishment helps to restrain would-be lawbreakers.  This law was not changed in the New Testament. (Romans 13:4).

The sixth and last blessing is a promise—the enjoyment of life (7-17).  The only rain that Noah knew was rain that destroyed the earth and sent him into the ark for a year.  God’s promise assured Noah that when rain came now it was not to destroy the whole earth, but rather to water the earth.  God mentions three times in the text that never again will there be a world-destroying flood.

There are four wonderful qualities to God’s promise.  First, it is unilateral.  “I myself…”  It was dependent only upon God, not man.  Second, it is unconditional.  “…which God established…”  There is nothing for man to do.  Third, it is universal.  “…between me and all flesh” and even with the earth.  Fourth, it is everlasting, an “…everlasting covenant.

God even gave a sign of this promise—the rainbow.  “I set my bow in the sky.”  There was no rain before the flood so there were no rainbows.  The rainbow required small water droplets in the air, and would not have been able to form in the pre-flood world when the high vapor canopy precluded rain.  While the ‘bow’ is a weapon used to kill, God hangs His bow in the sky for all to see.  The rainbow is beautiful and universal.  It is given by a gracious God even though He knows that “the intent of man’s heart is only evil continually.”  It is picture of God’s manifold, or multi-colored grace.

God wants us to use the life He has given us to serve His purpose and bring Him glory.  God wants us to be ready for His coming.  He wants us to enjoy the blessings both of natural life and spiritual life.  Through Christ alone He is able to give us ‘all things richly to enjoy.’ (1 Tim 6:17)

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