Each season of the year has things that I like. I enjoy the snow in the winter, the newness of spring, and the “playtime” atmosphere of summer. But of the four seasons, I think I like fall the best. The intense heat of summer begins to fade into a relieving cool. I can turn off the AC, open the windows and let the fresh air into the house all day long and through the night. Fall is soccer season. I played through high school and college and have to admit that even after all these years, with the onset of September, I feel this mysterious urge to go running and kick the ball around. Autumn is also deer and elk season. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes from providing good, natural, organic food for my family all the while helping to steward animal populations by exercising proper conservation. I thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the trees as they change color, creating an “earthbound rainbow.”
Genesis 6-9 tells the story of the great, worldwide flood and its aftermath. At the end of Genesis 8, we find an interesting promise the Lord gives to Noah, and by default all the world through time immemorial. The promise is that the Lord would never again destroy all life as He had just done. He says in verse 22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.” When we get into chapter 9, we find the establishment of what I call the Rainbow Covenant. God promised that He would never allow the waters of the earth to flood the earth and end all life again. The proof and reminder of this covenant would be the rainbow; “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon 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.”
What a wonderful promise. The rainbow is an everlasting sign of God’s grace and mercy. Make no mistake about it, the people of Noah’s time were wicked and for that reason, God brought judgment. As we look to society at large today, can we not see the same kind of selfishness and wickedness? Yet, God’s promise remains.
As I reflect on this promise, I wonder how many people don’t know what the rainbow really means. Growing up in a Christian home, in a society that, by and large, is/was Christian as well, knowing the flood story and subsequent rainbow promise were a sort of given. I knew this story from childhood.
Now, with a larger worldview and understanding of geography, world religions, and politics, I can’t help wonder how many don’t know the promise that I have taken for granted. People around the world see the rainbow in the sky and not know the great promise of grace and mercy behind it. Here is the first part of what I am wrestling with – not knowing does not negate the promise. Those who don’t know aren’t disqualified for the ignorance. They enjoy the benefits of the Rainbow Covenant regardless of their awareness of its existence.
To return to my opening question, “What am I missing?” I want to deal with the second part of what I am wrestling with. There is no end to God. That’s part of what makes Him God. He is the embodiment of goodness, kindness, holiness, mercy, grace, righteousness, and the list goes on. What other promises, what other acts of mercy towards me has He made that I am completely unaware of? WHAT AM I MISSING? I don’t want to miss a thing He has for me. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to recognize and thank Him for His goodness to me. In the face of my own failures and shortcomings, He continues to love me and provide for me. My relationship with God through Jesus is just the beginning. His forgiveness extended through Jesus’ sacrifice is the starting point. I know He has done so much more for me. It’s time for me to do a little looking around and find those times and places where God has extended a promise, a hand of grace and mercy. No more “missing.”
Copyright © 2012 John P. King
Verses from the NASB