Summary: All of you have seen a rainbow at some time in your life, right? Well, rainbows are not just pretty, frivolous outcomes of a rain shower. They are visual signs that God has given us another chance.
RAINBOWS AND CROSSES
All of you have seen a rainbow at some time in your life, right? Well, rainbows are not just pretty, frivolous outcomes of a rain shower. They are visual signs that God has given us another chance.
The story of the rainbow in Genesis pictures Noah coming out of a time of catastrophe. The flood had covered the known world of Noah. It had drowned his acquaintances and his plans...but not his hope. Noah's hope was not in anything that could be covered by the water...his hope was in the Creator of the water.
I discovered something very interesting...the word rainbow in Genesis is the same word used for a warrior's bow. The symbolism of the rainbow is that God has hung up his bow in the clouds. It's as if God had said, "I'm not angry anymore. I'm through fighting. See, I'm hanging up my bow." This bow in the sky is a sign of hope.
Some of you have experienced enormous changes. You've seen a world war and many other conflicts. You've lived through the development of the atomic bomb. You lived through the turbulent 60's when it seemed that society was being torn apart. Many of you have had disruptive experiences in your own lives. You've faced death, pain, loss of jobs, financial strain, rebellious children....and on and on we could go.
That's why it is comforting to hear Noah speak of the dependability of God's creation. Yes, the flood has come...but now it is gone. Now is the time to take what we have and get back into rhythm. In any crisis, we can and should be sustained by our hope in the Lord...the same Lord who hangs his rainbow in the sky and says, "I care about you."
God's promise of his love and care sustains us even though we don't always deserve it. You don't read very far into Genesis before you see Noah getting drunk and making a fool of himself. God could have said, "If that's the way you're going to act, I'll withdraw my promise of care."
He could have done that, but He didn't. God always keeps His promises. And the fact of the matter is He intensified the promise. Many years after Noah, Jesus came along and brought a new and better covenant. It reaffirmed everything said to Noah...but it went deeper. This is a time for rainbows...but there is a responsibility that falls on us. Read John 13:31 35
I heard of a science fiction story about invaders from outer space that is a little out of the ordinary. Instead of shooting up the place with freeze rays or nuking half the planet, these invaders set up devices all over the globe that render all guns, bombs, tanks, planes and other implements of war inoperable, along with all electrical devices.
When the invaders place their demands, all they want is for the nations of the earth to stop fighting each other. From that point on, earth will have to be a community of love. Now, this is way too simple, of course. We won't solve the problems of our planet by waiting to be invaded by friendly aliens.
If we want to make this a community of love, we must do it ourselves. We have to reach down into our hearts and draw upon all the love that's there...and really start loving each other with the love of Christ. We can build the community of love if we try...can't we?
To tell you the truth, No! Actually, history is littered with our attempts to do just that. But we can't seem to sustain the effort to keep it going. And it's no surprise, really. Look at the episode that we read about in John. Jesus had been with these people for three years... teaching, doing miracles, showing them the inner nature of God in everything he did.
But Judas, one of Jesus' own chosen disciples, was so controlled by the forces of darkness that he betrayed Jesus to his enemies. He lived with the light of the world for 3 years...but was still overcome by evil. Peter, the strongest personality of them all, claims to be willing to lay down his life for Christ. If Jesus is going to die...then so will Peter.
But what happened? Peter lost his nerve and failed. And the rest of the disciples simply scattered. Not one of them spoke in his defense at His trial. And even after He was killed, not one of them even made an attempt to give him a proper burial. Think about that for a minute.
Jesus was the greatest teacher that ever lived. He poured himself into these men for 3 years of intensive study. He showed God and God's will more clearly than the world had ever seen it before. Yet this community of men began to dissolve even before Jesus died. No wonder we can't build the community of love on our own.