What Does a Rainbow Really Stand For? What Does God Promise Us?
Have you ever had someone promise you something and then back out on that promise? I remember when I was eight or nine years old my family was taking a summer holiday to the States. There were the six of us (I have two sisters and a brother) stuck traveling in a car for hours. My father was getting fed up with the noise, so he promised that if we would be very quiet, he would buy us one of those all-day suckers when we arrived at our destination. We four children sat as still as church mice for hours. When we arrived, everyone was so busy unloading suitcases and taking in the beautiful scenery, that the all-day suckers were forgotten. Now my father was a good father in many ways, but this time, he forgot to do what he promised.
We call God our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we seem to compare how God treats us to how our fathers treated us. The problem with this is that our fathers are human and can mess up sometimes. God, however, is “not a man, that He should tell or act a lie neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction (for what He has promised). Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)
In the Old Testament, God spoke of making a covenant with man. Now a covenant is more than just a promise. It is a binding agreement that cannot be broken. In our day and age, we don’t really know much about covenants, but in other parts of the world and in times gone by, people used covenants. They even sealed covenants with blood to show how serious they were. Some of these covenants were made between tribes who would promise to come to each other’s aid if danger arose. They took these covenants very seriously. Today we sometimes see people making promises lightly and breaking these promises easily. That is not what God does.
So if God cannot lie and would never break His covenant with us, what are some of the promises He has made to us? In the Old Testament, there were many covenant promises. One was found in Genesis 9:11-13. “I will establish My covenant or pledge with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood; neither shall there ever again be a flood to destroy the earth and make it corrupt. And God said, This is the token of the covenant (solemn pledge) which I am am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you for all future generations. I set My bow (rainbow) in the cloud, and it shall be a token or sign of a covenant or solemn pledge between Me and the earth.”
What does a rainbow actually stand for? God’s covenant promise to us that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood.
Another covenant promise is found in Genesis 12:2-3. “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you (with abundant increase of favors) and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing (dispensing good to others). And I will bless those who bless you and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed.”
God was talking to Abraham here, but the wonderful thing is that anyone who has asked Jesus into his or her heart and is living to serve Him, can claim these promises for themselves.
Another covenant promise is found in Exodus 19:5. “Now therefore, if you will obey My voice in truth and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own peculiar possession and treasure from among and above all peoples; for all the earth is Mine.”
I want to be God’s treasure!
Another covenant promise is found in II Samuel 7:16. “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before you; your throne shall be established forever.”
Here God is telling David about Jesus, who is to come after him from David’s line. This is the most important promise God ever gave us in the form of His Son!
Another covenant promise is found in Jeremiah 31: 31, 33-34. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law within them, and on their hearts will I write it; and I will be their God and they will be My people And they will no more teach each man his neighbour and each man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they will all know Me (recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Me), from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and I will (seriously) remember their sin no more.”
Here God is promising a new, better covenant that He is giving to His people. We find this new covenant in the New Testament. Now we no longer have to go to the man of God or the priest or the pastor to find out what God is saying to us. We can go boldly into the very throne room of God to speak with our Heavenly Father ourselves. Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy (for our failures) and find grace to help in good time for every need (appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it).”
In another blog, I will outline some New Covenant promises to us. We can take the Old Covenant promises and combine them with the New and be encouraged by all God has said He will do for us. God is for you. He loves you. He helps you. He comforts and encourages you. He leads and guides you. He wants good for you. He is continually trying to get good to you. He has a plan for you, and it’s a good plan, a perfect plan for your life. As you live your life with Him, He reveals more and more of all He has for you. I encourage you to read your Bible and spend time talking with God. It is in these times that He can speak to you and guide you to become all He wants you to be.
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