And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 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.”
So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
- Genesis 9:12-17
We recently went to Nebraska for our grandson’s high school graduation. He graduated with honors. I will write more about him, and the honors, tomorrow.
On our way to Nebraska, we drove across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa on I-80, a lot of tolls. On the way, we stopped for the night in Leclaire, Iowa at a hotel that claimed to be ‘river front.’ Indeed, it was. The Mississippi River level was highly elevated, and the hotel was only 2-3 feet above the water level. The water level was even with the shoulder of the road just below the hotel parking lot, any higher and we would have had no way to leave the hotel the next morning – and it was raining when we got there. I was so tired that it didn’t matter at that point.
It reminded me of a similar trip over a year ago. A year ago, many areas in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio were flooded when we returned from a business trip to Birmingham, possibly my last business trip. The floods at that point were early in the year so that there was hope in crops being planted later, but the floods in the northern mid-West this year were very devastating.
We stayed in Bellevue, NE, south of Omaha and home to what once was SAC headquarters. Our son and his family live south of there, on the other side of the Platte River.
If you travel the highway from Bellevue, across the Platte River, you will notice a lot of work being done in the river to the west. The railroad bridge across the river was washed away by this year’s flood, all except the foundation pillars – possibly damaged. They had to first build islands for the construction equipment before they could start building upon the existing foundations of the old bridge – making sure the foundations were still strong enough. Their progress is far from finished, making that rail line unusable.
If you look to the east, at the southern end of the bridge, you will notice an RV Park on an island. Okay, it used to be an RV Park. The sign is still there and maybe a restroom; all other structures are gone. Between the permanent residents and the people who left their vacation RVs parked there, all that remains are a few cinderblocks where mobile homes once stood. A couple of the mobile homes were in an inlet of the overflow waters from the river about a quarter of a mile away – what was left of them, smashed and half submerged in the water.
The RV Park is on the outskirts of Plattsmouth, NE. Some of the land that is normally dry land in Plattsmouth is still under water, months after the flood. The Missouri River is swollen, because there is nowhere for the water to go. The Mississippi River, downstream, is also flooded, as mentioned above.
In the hotels, there are many displaced people, homeless from the flood. Low interest government loans are available to pay for accommodations while being displaced, but when the farmer’s fields are not dry enough to start plowing and planting, or still under water, where is the money coming from to pay the loan payments?
Yet, we have the rainbow to remind God to not flood everything again. Most people get that backwards. It is not a reminder to us that God will not flood the earth, but a reminder to God not to flood everything. The rainbow is introduced in Genesis 9:16, but this verse is at the end of God’s declaration that begins in verse 12, the Scripture above.
We could discuss whether it is God doing the flooding or not in another post. I’m just going with the Scripture above. To some people it is an important distinction, to others it is simply a matter of semantics.
The point is that with more northern ice melted, the moisture in the atmosphere is higher. Floods may be just as common as in past years, but the floods will be more intense. Notice that God never promises that floods will not happen. Floods do happen, but God promises to not destroy ‘all life.’
That is an important pair of words, ‘all life.’ The presence of floods does not mean that God does not exist or He does not have control over the weather. The presence of the rainbow is a reminder to God to not destroy ‘all life.’
Some may ask about the end times. Will there not be a total destruction of ‘all life’ at that point? No. The overcomers will survive. The people who are written in the Book of Life will live on with Jesus forever.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.