“It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (Genesis 9:14-15).
Peter writes about the importance of the promises God makes: “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:3-4). How can we be sure that God keeps these “great and precious promises”?
The opening verses above were spoken by God to Noah following the great flood that destroyed every living thing upon the earth except Noah and those who were with him in the ark (Genesis 9:13-15). Can you imagine what it must have been like for Noah and his family at that time?
Because the wickedness of man had become exceedingly great (Genesis 6:11-12), God had told Noah to build an ark because He was going to bring a flood upon the earth that would destroy all flesh (Genesis 13-14). It had not even rained on the earth at this time (cf. Genesis 2:4-6). Noah had to trust in God’s promise that the rain would come and to come in such an overwhelming extent that it would flood the entire earth. Furthermore, he had to trust that the ark, whose design God had instructed Noah on how to build (Genesis 6:14-16), would float and be able to withstand this flood.
Noah clung to these promises of God as he, his family, and the animals entered the ark. Moreover, can you imagine what it must have been like for Noah and his family while they were in the ark? The massive downpour of rain and the rising of the flood waters must have been scary to behold. In addition, as the ark rose and was tossed about by the great flood, thoughts of wondering how this would all end must have entered in the hearts and minds of Noah’s family. Yet, they all endured this great trial because they trusted in God’s promises that He would save them (cf. Genesis 6:17-18).
After spending more than a year in the ark (cf. Genesis 7:11; 8:13-14), Noah, his family, and the animals that were with them exit the ark. As he does so, what does Noah do? He acknowledges God by building an altar and worshipping God: “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20). Noah rejoiced that God had been faithful to keep all the promises He had made to him.
As God smells the aroma of the sacrifices which Noah had made upon the altar, He makes a promise that He will never again bring a flood to destroy all the earth (Genesis 8:21-22). Moreover, as the opening verses above indicate, He set His rainbow in the clouds so that all men may be forever reminded that God is faithful to keep His promises (Genesis 9:11-17).
Like Noah, we face trials in our lives. As we face these challenges, we must cling to God’s promises. Today, I rejoice because, by the rainbow in the sky, I am reminded that no matter how great the obstacles I have to overcome, I can trust in God because God is faithful to keep His promises.
“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:17-18).