Our sermon last Sunday was on Genesis 9, in which God makes a covenant with Noah after the flood. Our pastor pointed out that the rainbow was not a sign for Noah to remember God’s promise. Rather, it was a sign for God to remember His promise: “When I bring the clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 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” (Genesis 9:14-15). It would do us no good to remember God’s promise if God Himself was not faithful to His promise. The rainbow reminds us that God will always remember His promise, and His remembering is powerful. Although we deserve another flood–our sin as individuals and as a human race is certainly deserving of God’s wrath–God has promised to not give us what we deserve, but rather to show us mercy by not destroying us with a flood.
Our pastor talked about one of my favorite hymns, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go.” In the third verse (my favorite), it says:
O joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.
He said that George Matheson, who wrote the words, originally wrote “I climb the rainbow through the rain,” but the words had been changed. He talked about how when we are in stormy waters in our life, we don’t need to simply glance up at the sky, see God’s rainbow and have happy feelings. (I’m paraphrasing here, hoping I’m accurately depicting his point.) When the waves rage around us, we need to climb out, grasping onto the sure promises of God. We can trust God’s mercy. He is faithful to keep all His promises. We can climb the rainbow in the rain and know the promise is not vain–tearless days are ahead in Heaven, if not in this life. We may still be in the rain, but His joy will not leave us when we are holding tight to Him.
Here is a link to “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” sung by one of my favorite groups, Indelible Grace, as well as the full lyrics by George Matheson:
1. O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
2. O light that followest all my way, I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
3. O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.
4. O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.