READINGS SEPTEMBER 17-23, 2017
Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.” (Gen. 9:11b-16 NIV)
How will God deal with a world filled with violence? Overwhelmed with corruption? Teeming with injustice? Sagging under the weight of suffering?
Never again will he deal with it in the severe way of the flood.
The flood was a restart. A wiping of the slate. A frightening elimination of nearly all life in order that some life might begin anew.
Never again, however, will God deal with our prodigal hearts in this way. It’d be raining constantly if he did. There’d be a flood every year if he did. The new seeds of life are barely planted and quickly the weeds of selfishness and sin begin to grow.
Never again will God destroy life in order to save life. Instead, in the cross, he will surrender his own life in order to save ours.
As a sign of this compassionate commitment, God points to the rainbow. A symbol of many-colored love. A pledge of his glorious grace. Each rainbow we see is a painting of God’s passion for us, his desire to stick with us, to stay the course, no matter what, even at the cost of his own son.
Every rainbow is a reminder of a God who would say to you “Never again” so that he could also say “Always and forever.”
Father, thank you for your commitment to stick with us, with me, through our waywardness, through our unfaithfulness, and to love us and preserve us and to draw us to you until the very end. Help me remember your commitment to us, to me, each time I see a rainbow.
There may be someone in your life who needs a similar level of unconditional commitment from you. Someone who requires a rainbow level of relationship. Identify that person. Do something this week that communicates to him/ her that you will be with him/ her for the long haul, no matter what.
Chris is a spiritual director, the author of seven books, a father to Jordan and Jacob, a husband to Kendra, and has preached for the Highland Church of Christ in Memphis, Tennessee since 1998.