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Monday, 1 August 2016

Rainbows!

As I look out of my study window, here in the Dordogne area of SW France, the last thing I expect to see is a rainbow!  All that I am able to see are some fluffy clouds, floating lazily across an otherwise blue, blue sky.  However, David Robertson (St Peter's, Dundee) has published one of his own blogs, that commences: "I don't often like writing about  my own congregation, St Peters.    But yesterday was such an encouraging day that I thought I would make an exception. As we drove home from the church, I saw this double rainbow in a perfect arch over St Peters -  it was a beautiful symbol, not of man's rebellion against God, but of God's grace towards humanity."

In my own devotions, this morning, I was reading in Genesis 9 in which it is recorded, some may recall, that Almighty God made the rainbow to be His covenant sign that He would never again flood the whole of planet Earth.  David mentioned that the rainbow is a symbol "... of God's grace towards humanity."  If that is true - and I agree with David that it is - then those of us who are disciples of Jesus must surely ask ourselves why we so often fret and worry.  God hasn't promised that we will never experience storms - but He has promised that they won't destroy us!  "When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." (Isa 43:2).

Warren Wiersbe makes an interesting point about the shape of the rainbow!  He points out that the bow is normally thought of as a weapon; an instrument of war.  However, God has transformed it into a picture of His grace.  He writes: "God could certainly turn the bow of judgment upon us, because we've broken His law and deserve judgment.  But He has turned the bow toward heaven and taken the punishment for us, Himself!   When Jesus died on the cross, it was the Just One suffering for the unjust (I Peter 3:18) and bearing the suffering that rightfully belonged to us." (Be Basic; p.121. Emphasis in original).

Rainbows are also universal.  They may be seen all over the world.  This, surely, is a reminder that God's grace is offered to, and sufficient for, everyone - regardless of age, gender, nationality, skin colour, education, social position, or whatever.  That, in turn, means that it is available to, and sufficient for, you!  "For God so loved [YOU] that He gave His only Son, that [if YOU] believe in Him [YOU shall] not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16; slightly edited!).

Of course, in Genesis 9, I was reminded that God said: "When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." (Gen 9:16; emphasis added).   The rainbow is not only a reminder to us of God's unfailing grace; it is also an assurance that He sees it, and will not ignore His covenant.  

I find it rather sad that such a beautiful symbol has, like a certain beautiful word, been "hijacked" by those who wish to legalise - and even encourage!- the practice of sexual deviancy.  However, we who know Him may rejoice that He is the One Who does not change (Mal.3:6); that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." (Heb 13:8).  Hallelujah!  Glory to His Name.

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