THE RAINBOW IN THE CLOUDS
"I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come about, 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; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth." And God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth." Genesis 9:13-17.
We have all stood in awe when a rainbow appears in our view. William Wordsworth described it this way:
My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!…
Niagara Falls is truly one of the most scenic places in the world. One of the things that make up its rapturous beauty is the rainbow that frequently appears in its spray and mist. Our guide told us that any day with sunshine a rainbow can be seen. Indeed, you cannot have a rainbow without the rays of the sun for that is its very source.
The light of God’s wonderful grace shining through the dark clouds in our life produces a spiritual rainbow that will gladden our heart. Let’s consider some of these spiritual rainbows.
I. The Rainbow in the Cloud of Adversity:
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 NASB.
The Apostle James clearly states that the Christian will experience trials in this life when he used the phrase “when you encounter”; not “if you encounter”. The believer who expects life to “a bed of roses” needs to become better acquainted with the Scriptures. Paul was even more emphatic when he wrote to Timothy “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). Needless to say, persecution is one of the worse kinds of adversity.
Paul tells us that the rainbow in the cloud of adversity is our Lord Himself. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort that we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NASB. To which we must add Romans 8:28.
II. The Rainbow in the Cloud of Death:
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4.
"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Isaiah 43:2-3 NASB.
III. The Rainbow in the Cloud of Judgment:
1. Judgment awaits all men: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." Hebrews 9:27.
2. We shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, which will be a judgment to determine our eternal reward…, not our eternal destiny. "For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." 2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB.
3. The rainbow in the cloud of judgment is the assurance that the believer is eternally free from condemnation. We will never have to stand in judgment to determine our eternal destiny! Praise God that was eternally settled at Calvary. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1.
IV. Seeing The Rainbow From God’s Side
Some years ago it was my privilege to be one of the speakers in a state-wide Bible Conference held in Dallas, Texas. Inasmuch as I was conducting a revival meeting in Houston that same week, it was necessary for me to fly to and from the Dallas appointment.
My oldest daughter Nancy, at that time just four years old, had been visiting her aunt in Dallas and was quite anxious to fly back to Houston with her father.
Flying back we encountered a severe thunder storm over the town of Bryan. The pilot announced that he was going to take the plane to a higher altitude in order that the plane might fly above the storm. Soon we beheld the black clouds and darting lightening in the clouds beneath. Above us the sun was shining in all its glory, though quite hidden from the people in the city below us.
Soon we beheld a wondrous sight. A glorious rainbow stretching from horizon to horizon. It certainly was a spectacle to behold! Nancy was thrilled with what she saw. Her enthusiasm couldn’t be restrained any longer as she cried: “Daddy, daddy, look, it’s a rainbow, and we’re seeing it from the same side that God sees it from!”
I think everyone in that crowded airliner was struck with the realization that out of the mouth of a child had come forth wisdom. Then I thought, how very true! To the people below all they could vision was storm clouds…but we were flying above the clouds… in the glory of the sunshine and in perfect position to see the rainbow that God had put in the sky. And, as Nancy had exclaimed, we were seeing it from the same side that God sees it from.
So it is in life. When the storm clouds come, try to rise above them by faith. By faith reach for the sunshine of God’s grace. When you do, it will not be long before you see a rainbow. . . “from the same side that God sees it from.”
I have seen several rainbows while flying above thunderstorms. Looking down upon the storm, the rainbow appears as a perfect circle. Seeing our spiritual rainbow “from God’s side” enables us to see not half of the picture, but the whole picture. Paul reinforced this truth in Romans 8:28. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”