"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all
living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16
Nature again smiles, and emerges from beneath her watery
covering. The promise of Him who cannot lie is given, that a second flood
shall no more destroy the earth. And what is to be the sign--the enduring
remembrance-token? "I will set My rainbow in the cloud." There it had been,
perhaps, before, encircling the heavens with its belt of golden hues, but
now it was destined to awaken new thoughts, and to inspire grateful emotions
in the heart of man--now, it was to testify of God's promise--to be a
lasting memorial of His covenant through all generations. Often, as the
stormy cloud should gather in the heavens, threatening to pour its pent-up
waters on a sinful world, when the "rainbow" appeared, it was to be as the
voice of God declaring, "the waters shall no more destroy all flesh." No, in
condescension to human weakness, the Almighty was henceforth to regard it as
a remembrancer to Himself of His gracious promise, "I will look upon it,
that I may remember the everlasting covenant."
"The rainbow in the cloud" was a pledge of temporal
blessings. But to the believer, it is also a striking type of
spiritual. Is there no rainbow of promise which gilds another sky--which
tells of wrath averted, of security insured? Yes; Jesus is the "rainbow in
the cloud" of heaven's wrath, assuring the believer, that a fiercer storm,
than any that ever devastated the world, has passed away. When, to the eye
of faith, He appears in the spiritual skies, every fear is dispelled--God
"will not return to destroy;" and, as the rainbow appears with blended
colors, all melting into each other with the most perfect harmony, so, in
Christ, justice and mercy, holiness and love, power and goodness, all
combine to form one glorious and resplendent arch.
The rainbow tells of the perpetuity of the covenant.
Four thousand years have passed, and still it spans the heavens. Christian!
you see in this, an emblem of the immutability of your God, in redemption.
He Himself regards it as such--"Thus says the Lord, If you can break my
covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not
be day and night in their season, then may also my covenant be broken with
David my servant"--that is, with Christ and His people, of whom David was
the type. Thus, the God of nature is alike unchangeable as a God of grace.
The rainbow is a token of God's covenant with His
people. "For this," says He, "is as the waters of Noah unto me; for, as
I have sworn, that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so
have I sworn that I would not be angry with you nor rebuke you. For the
mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not
depart from you; neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, says the
Lord, that has mercy on you." Here, and here alone, is the security of the
Christian, the unalterable purpose of a covenant God. He has given them also
a "rainbow in the cloud," to which, in every season of impending danger,
they may direct the eye of faith.
Reader! is yours a dark and cheerless day? Is your
horizon obscured by threatening clouds? Remember, there is the "rainbow in
the cloud," the token of the unalterable covenant of God. Like the mariner
in a stormy sea, you may be appalled at the indications of a coming tempest,
you may be listening with alarm to the roar of the angry waves and the
hoarse howling of the wind. Lift up the eye of faith--see, yonder opening in
the clouds--yonder faint ray of light--yonder splendid "rainbow in the
cloud." It is to you the covenant-token that relief is at hand, for "the
Lord will look upon it." It is His own promise. Your sorrowing eye, and the
eye of your Father in heaven, will meet in one spot--on Jesus Christ--and
then, as the Lord remembers His covenant, and thinks upon you for good, you
will be enabled to "trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon your God."
Yes, the darker the cloud, the more brilliant will be the reflection--the
heavier the trial, the sweeter the promise; for, amid God's most mysterious
dealings, you may discover marks of His power, His love, and His
There are views of Christ which can only be obtained
beneath a cloudy sky, and amid many showers of tears. Believer, strive, when
the darkness begins to gather around you, to look upwards, and soon reviving
faith will discover the "rainbow of promise;" the storm will be hushed, the
lowering portentous clouds will roll away, and you will take up the language
of the Psalmist--"Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens, and your
faithfulness reaches unto the clouds."
Think, too, of that glorious day, when there shall be a
serene and cloudless sky--a sky, which can no more become darkened and
obscured--when you will not need this emblem, for you will have the
reality of God's faithfulness and love.
Here, while on earth, you have no rainbow without a
cloud. But then shall rise that glorious Sun which shall never set, whose
radiant beams shall no more be broken by misty shadows. Soon, believer,
throughout eternity's calm brightness, you will gaze upon the rainbow of
your Redeemer's glory; and, as you gaze, you will shine, even as He shines.
For "we shall be like Him, when we shall see Him as He is."
"O God of all grace and mercy, who is able to supply
every loss, to heal every wound, to dry up every tear, and to dispel every
cloud--Grant that when my sorrows abound, my consolations may much more
abound. May I be still and know that You are God, acknowledging Your right
to do with me as You will, and confiding in the wisdom and goodness of Your
"The sun's bright rays are hidden,
The rains in floods descend–
The winds with angry murmurs,
The stoutest branches bend.
A gloom, the face of nature
As with a pall does shroud;
Its influence all are feeling,
But--look beyond the cloud!
"For, lo! at length appears
A little streak of light,
Increasing every moment
Until all again is bright.
So, however dark our prospects,
However by grief we're bowed,
It will not last forever--
We'll look beyond the cloud!"