“The word rainbow isn’t there, it’s just the word “bow”. God says, ‘I have set my bow in the clouds (Genesis 9:13)’. I have set my bow down. And that word bow is the word, not for rainbow, but for a weapon…What God is saying is “I will lay my bow, my wrath down. And this is my promise that I will never again pour out my wrath like I have on this day.” –Pastor Joe Coffey
In last Sunday’s message, Pastor Joe discussed the story of Noah’s ark. It’s the kind of story we grew up hearing and we read to our children. But, when we really take time to reflect on it, it is a devastating story about wrath. And the concept of God’s wrath can make for some uncomfortable questions and conversations.
Pastor Joe highlights two conversations he had with people in his life in regard to the wrath of God. Both conversations ended with very different questions. The first was, “How can you believe in a God who would rain down such wrath on people?” And the second was, “How can you believe in a God who doesn’t?”
Both discussions brought up very real and very vulnerable perspectives on wrath. And both are deeply relatable and worth talking about. Because, even here, in a story steeped in wrath, we find the saving grace of Christ, our sign of hope in the sky after the storms of this life threaten to destroy us.
Pastor Joe then takes us through the three main themes of this story and the overarching theme of the whole Bible: the storm, the rescue, and the promise.
The flood, or the storm, is a response to the injustice that came into the world. Because we serve a God who is both good and just, he cannot turn his back on evil. And our ability to understand the need for justice may differ depending on the kind of evil we have heard about or witnessed ourselves. And just as evil breaks our hearts, it breaks God’s heart too.
This is where the ark comes in. The sin of the world grieved God to his heart (Genesis 6:6). As Pastor Joe so beautifully puts it, God loves us so much that he voluntarily knit his heart to ours. He voluntarily decided to suffer when we hurt. He wasn’t ready to give up on mankind, and he gave Noah the blueprints for a rescue plan.
And Noah needed to believe. He needed to step out in faith every day and build the ark, which was God’s chosen way of rescue, much like we need to step out in faith every day and build with Christ as our foundation, God’s ultimate way of rescue.
This leads us to the rainbow, a covenant promise to mankind. The rainbow that would point to God’s faithfulness and his promise. Just as the ark represented rescue for Noah, Jesus is our rescue. He is the one to shield us from the wrath that we deserved so that we might experience the love and forgiveness of God instead.
The storms of life are scary. And we know that the grey clouds of life remind us of what we’ve done and what has been done to us. But, let’s remember what Pastor Joe said:
“Every time you see a rainbow, be reminded that there is a God in heaven whose heart is knit to yours in such a degree that he would send his son to take the beating for you so that you wouldn’t have to, so that you could experience the joy and love of being united to God.”
The storms will never overcome the rescue we are guaranteed through Christ. He always keeps His promises, and His faithfulness is the rainbow in the midst of every cloudy day we face this side of heaven.