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God’s Rainbow

Genesis 9:13: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

Rainbows are beautiful. But why do they happen?

Isaac Newton showed in his famous experiment that white light is a mixture of colors, which can be separated by refraction, or bending, using a prism. Light is similarly refracted by droplets of rainwater in the atmosphere, when the sunlight shines on them. The large bow-shaped spectrum of colors thus produced is what we see as a rainbow.

Yet there is a deeper reason for the existence of the rainbow. God has given it as a “sign of the covenant”. The rainbow is not the covenant – it is the sign of that covenant. God has promised to all humanity, that the seasons will continue, as long as the Earth does, and that He will never again send a Flood to deluge the whole world. God would be within His rights to send another Flood, but He does not do so, because of His mercy.

Other groups of people have wanted to commandeer the use of the rainbow, as a symbol for their own ideas, cultures and behaviors. Yet the Bible is clear what the appearance of the rainbow is meant to signify for us. God has given a clear message of mercy and hope, through the appearance of this remarkable and beautiful phenomenon.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord God, for Your rainbow in the clouds. And thank You that it speaks to us of Your love and mercy. Amen.

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