The Color Prism of Unbreakable Love

Every Time You See A Rainbow, God Does Too

Every rainbow you see from the point of view of earth looking heavenward is also seen by God looking down from heaven through the spectrum of colors to see what he has created. And as he peers through the manifold colors of the rainbow, he is reminded of his love, and his undying hope that what he created will love and honor him in return, and his unbreakable commitment to show mercy and offer grace until they do.

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 9:12-17

Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”

We usually think of the symbol of a covenant—a wedding ring, a marriage license, a Memo of Agreement, the Bread and the Cup of the Eucharist—as a personal reminder of what we hold dear and to that which we have committed to another our life, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. These symbols can be powerful tools to keep that which is of utmost importance in the front of our mind and of the highest priority.

Here in Genesis 9, as God confirms his covenant with Noah, and by extension, to all of life on Planet Earth, we find that God actually does the same as we do. Or more accurately, when we observe the symbol and remember, we are simply doing what our Creator does. God set a rainbow in the sky as a regular reminder of his covenant to never again destroy life on earth by a flood. Of course, when we see a rainbow, we should look up and rejoice, for God is yet again providing the most splendid refresher of his sacred honor. A rainbow is a forever reminder of commitment as seen through the most colorful and beautiful prism of God’s love.

But did you realize that the very rainbow you see from the point of view of earth looking heavenward is also seen by God looking down from heaven through the spectrum of colors to see what he has created. And as he peers through the manifold colors of the rainbow, he is reminded of his love, and his undying hope that what he created will love and honor him in return, and his unbreakable commitment to show mercy and offer grace until they do.

Thank God, every time a rainbow appears in the sky, God is looking at it too, from the other side, and remembering what he loves enough to have sacrificed his very own Son to attain.

Going Deeper: The next time you see a rainbow, stop—literally, whatever you are doing, stop—and offer up thanksgiving to God for his steadfast, patient and enduring love.

God’s Unseen But Unceasing Work On Your Behalf

He Won't Forget You

If you are feeling a little forgotten by God, thank God you’re wrong! The story of God remembering Noah’s family in the ark is an eternal reminder that God will remember you, too. And like Noah’s family, God will fulfill every single one of his promises to you at the proper time!

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 8:1, 20-21

“But God remembered Noah…Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and there he sacrificed…And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of Noah’s sacrifice.”

“But God remembered Noah…” And God remembers you, too! He never forgets his people. They are always before him, and his work on their behalf, while unseen, is unceasing.

I’m sure at times during Noah’s months of darkness and dankness in the Ark, he and his family wondered if God had shut them up in the ship and then shut them out of his memory as he got on to his many other duties of managing the universe. But God is faithful—he just can’t help himself. Fundamental to whom he is, God remembers the work of his hand, and he is faithful to finish the task at hand.

Isaiah 49:15-16 reminds us, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

God can’t forget!

If you are reading these words today and feeling a little forgotten by God, thank God you’re wrong! Genesis 8:1 is an eternal reminder that God will remember you, too, and will fulfill every single one of his promises to you at the proper time! Psalm 138:8 promises, “God will perfect everything that concerns you.”

So trust! And as an act of trust, do what Noah did (Genesis 8:20) in response: build an altar of remembrance to the faithfulness of God. Whatever that altar looks like for you, erect a reminder in your life of the unceasing work of the unseen God on your behalf.

And like he was with Noah, I am quite sure God will be pleased with your act of trust as well.

Going Deeper: What can you do as an act of remembrance of God’s unceasing work in your life? Adopt a symbol, write out a prayer and post it where you can see it every day, paint a picture—do something that reminds you that God never forgets!

A Brilliant Foreshadowing of Divine Mercy

God Is Always Making Redemptive Provision

In the Genesis account of Noah, God commanded that animals be brought into the ark that were approved for sacrifice. For what reason? The answer is simple, yet stunning: even at this point in redemptive history, God was already making provision for substitutionary atonement. He was making a way for guilty man to be absolved from his sin. That is still at the core of our gracious God’s heart, by the way he wants you and me to live in freedom from our sin.

Going Deep // Focus: Genesis 7:1-2,5

When everything was ready, the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the boat with all your family, for among all the people of the earth, I can see that you alone are righteous. Take with you seven pairs—male and female—of each animal I have approved for eating and for sacrifice…So Noah did everything as the Lord commanded him.

Righteousness-unrighteousness…obedience-disobedience…judgment-sacrifice. This is the storyline of Noah and the Great Flood that came upon the whole earth as punishment for the exceeding wickedness of humankind.

The earth had steadily devolved from the moral purity into which the first couple was created to absolute and resolute evil in the hearts of their ancestors by the time of Noah. So bad was it that God, to be a just and holy God, had to wipe out the human race and start over.

As I read this story, I wonder if I would have been one of the righteous that God found among the evil people who inhabited the earth. I fear that I would not! At the same time, my heart explodes with gratitude because even within this sad account we can find glimpses and foreshadowings of the mercy of God. We find that Noah, the only righteous and obedience human, was instructed to take animals into the ark that God had approved for sacrifice.

What is the point? Just that at this point in the story, and at this point in redemptive history, God was already making provision for substitutionary atonement. He was making a way for guilty man to be absolved from his sin.

Even though the system of sacrifice in Noah’s day was primitive, and the one to follow under Moses would be ineffective and temporary until Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice, God had still made a way for unrighteous man to live before his holy presence in a pardoned state.

Thank God for his mercy! I deserve punishment, I get pardon.

Going Deeper: Today might be a day to lift up a song of thanks to the Lord. How about Amazing Grace. Everybody knows it…so belt it out, even if it is the privacy of your inner room.

Grace — Ad Infinitum

Noah Found Grace And So Can You

Noah’s story is a powerful reminder that none of us would be walking the planet, breathing in oxygen, or pursuing the unlimited potential of beings created with the Imago Dei were it not for God’s undeserved kindness and everlasting mercy. Thank God his mercy overrules his righteous anger and he gives us a second, third, fourth, ad infinitum chance!

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 6:7-8

And the Lord said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.” But Noah found favor with the Lord.

Noah found grace (KJV) in the eyes of the Lord. Since I am named Noah, I will take that as a Divine promise to me! But if you, too, are walking with God, you can claim grace from the Almighty.  Thank God for grace—unmerited favor!

If you think about the original account of Noah, we would hope that this man whom God chose as both an instrument of world judgment and a conduit for a new genesis was a pretty likeable guy—worthy of Divine favor. And to be sure, Genesis 7:1 does tell us that by comparison to the rest of humanity at that time, Noah alone was righteous. Still, as John Chrysostom rightly noted, “Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.” At the end of the day, Noah’s righteousness, and our best righteousness, is as filthy rags before a holy God. (Isaiah 64:6)

So theologically, we must conclude that this story is not so much about Noah’s worthiness as it is about God’s undeserved, unearned mercy and kindness. No matter how good Noah might have been, man’s best goodness will never stack up to God’s holiness. And that is simply an impossible equation that dooms man to eternal judgment.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Noah’s story reminds us that none of us—neither you nor I—would be walking the planet, breathing in oxygen, or pursuing the unlimited potential of beings created with the Imago Dei were it not for God’s undeserved kindness and everlasting mercy.

Noah’s story reminds us that even in the midst of darkness so dark that God repents of creating mankind, his grace overrides his broken heart, his mercy overrules his righteous anger and he gives us a second, third, fourth chance—grace ad infinitum!

Thank God that we, too, can find grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Going Deeper: Today might be a day to lift up a song of thanks to the Lord. How about Amazing Grace. Everybody knows it…so belt it out, even if it is the privacy of your inner room.

The Imago Dei

The Spitting Image of My Father

You and I bear the likeness of our Heavenly Father. We are his spitting image! Though the Imago Dei might be tainted by sin, beneath the dents, scratches and rust is the very likeness of a loving, caring Father. Thank God, through Jesus, we have been, are being, and will be fully restored to the image of the One who created us to be like himself.

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 5:1,3

“When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself…When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who was just like him—in his very image.”

One of the greatest joys in life for me has been to have children that bear the likeness of my wife and me. Adding to that joy is having grandchildren who continue that likeness to generations beyond.

There is something deeply satisfying to know that, looking backward, I am connected to my father’s fathers, and looking forward, to know that I am living on in the generations to come. “In his likeness” is both an unstoppable force and a powerful gift of the Creator…the ability to procreate.

Most wonderful of all is to know that I bear the likeness of my Heavenly Father. I am his spitting image! So are you. Though the Imago Dei might be tainted by sin, beneath the dents, scratches and rust is the very likeness of a loving, caring Father.

Thank God, through Jesus, I have been, am being and will be fully restored to the image of the One who created me to be like himself. Really! That’s what John the Beloved said in his first epistle:

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And everyone that hath this hope in him puries himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3)

Thank God for his love, and for the divine image inextricably embedded in my DNA. Just as I can never stop loving my children and grandchild because they are a part of me, God can never stop loving me. I am a part of him and he is a part of me.

Going Deeper: You bear the family resemblance. You look like your Father. Now go live like it—especially in how you treat your fellow man!

I Am Response-Able

#NotAVictim

In an age of victimization, blame-shifting and irresponsibility, we cannot escape the fact that God created us as responsible beings. We are accountable for saying “no” to sin. To those who would surrender to the power of sin, God says, “you must subdue it and be its master.”

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 4:6-7

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

I am grateful that God has made me responsible, that is, response-able. In an age of victimization, blame-shifting and irresponsibility, we cannot escape the fact that God created us as responsible beings. We are accountable!

That is really good news, as disappointing as it might seem to some, because sin wants to have dominion over me—that has always been and will always be the case. And it will continually dominate me if I accept that I am simply sin’s hapless victim, unable to overcome it. But God wants me to subdue it, to master it. And I can. I can because God has commanded me to “subdue it and be its master.”

God has gifted me with freedom of choice…one of the most powerful forces in the universe. I can choose my response in any given set of circumstances. Sin doesn’t control me; I do. I am the one who gives sin power over my actions. Likewise, I can tap into divine power within me to subdue sin when I submit to God’s will.

Thank God for his grace, “that has appeared, offering salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:11-13)

I have within me the power of no—I can say no to sin when it comes knocking at my door! The Apostle Paul put it powerfully in Romans 6:

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace…But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness…And now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:14, 17-18, 22-23)

Thank God, I am not a slave to my sin! In fact, according to the God who created me, I can enslave it and be its master.

Going Deeper: What is your familiar sin? Have a talk with it today; serve notice. There’s a new sheriff in town. You have been commissioned by God to master it and empowered by the Holy Spirit to kick its hiney back into the sin-bin!

Not In Part But The Whole

God's Merciful Covering for Our Sinful Choices

God forgives us when he doesn’t have to, when we don’t deserve it, and with foreknowledge that he’ll have to freely pardon our sin again and again and again to get us into his heaven. If for no other reason today, you and I should be thankful for a merciful God who goes out of his way to forgive.

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 3:21

“And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.”

Adam and Eve sinnedand as the Bible tells us, “the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a) It was a stiff penalty, but if God was to be a just God, somebody had to die. And somebody did! In this case, as a remarkable foreshadowing of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for the sin of the world, an animal was slain and its hide used to cover the sin-exposed human couple. Thus we are introduced to a God who is not only just, but whose mercy saves us from his justice: “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)

How loving, merciful and full of grace the Creator was—and still is—not to completely do away with his prized creation, man, because of his willful sin, to begin again with a newly created man. If God dealt with our sin as we deserve, who of us would stand a chance? (see Psalm 130:3) Perhaps no other writer captured the lovingkindness that emanates from the core of the Creator’s character as poignantly as the prophet Jeremiah, who wrote in Lamentations 3:22-23,

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Rather than judging us as we deserve, God covers our sin through the promised Redeemer (v. 15) who bore the punishment of our sin with his life, a redemptive reality foreshadowed by the covering of the original couple with skins of a sacrificed animal (v. 21).

Thank God for his mercies, given by his grace afresh and anew each day. “My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!” (Horatio Spafford)

Going Deeper: God forgave you when he didn’t have to, when you didn’t deserve it, and with the full foreknowledge that he will have to do it again and again and again to get you into his heaven. If for no other reason today, you should thank God for his mercy—that he doesn’t give you what you really deserve. Me, too!