Today is Memorial Day and it would be real easy to write something along those lines, in fact, I believe that I am, however, not in the way you may have expected.
It was opening day of Trout Season in Montana. The early morning light revealed truck after truck parked along the shore of the lake. Certain areas of the lake were still protected against fishing because the trout were spawning in those areas. I should say they were protected against the fishing done by men…the bald eagles didn’t seem to care about which areas were protected or not. It is always exciting those first few casts into the waters of the lake teeming with trout. There is an electric type of anticipation within my heart, within my soul, and within my mind. My body is attuned to each ripple and bump on the line and my focus is razor like. Any splash in the water is accompanied by turning heads as all the fisherman strain for a glimpse of spot and color. The signals which race from fingers to mind and back again when the rod tip taps…happens in a blink, as a rainbow rises.
Many fish are admired for their attributes. Catfish for their surly disposition and whiskers. Large Mouth Bass for their tell-tale swirl and strike capability. Walleye’s for their sharp teeth and sweet flavor, but Rainbow Trout…are admired for their markings. Their blend of colors, spots, hues, and at times, racing stripes set them apart from other species of fish. Rainbows are beautiful, and many were observed on the shore of that Montana lake opening day.
I find it interesting that all the way back in Genesis 9:11-15, God chose a rainbow as a symbol of His promise. The passage says, “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
I’ve asked myself the question, “Why a rainbow? Why did God choose a rainbow as a symbol of His conventional promise to us?”
This is one of those questions that is easy to say “whatever”, or get caught up in the worldly debate about it. The question of…”Were their rainbows before the flood?”…is the wrong question about “Why” God chose. We can certainly say, “God’s ways are not my ways”…therefore, I don’t need to dig out the meaning behind the rainbow, I can just accept God’s choice. Listen, God is not relieved when we “just accept” His choice. His choices are not dependent on our acceptance, but His choices are for our benefit. So, it behooves us to understand “Why”…
In Revelation 4:3 and Revelation 10:1, rainbows are used as descriptive words to define “radiance” and “glory”. In Ezekiel 1:28 it says, “As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.”
When we break this verse down, we can catch a glimpse of “Why” God chose rainbows. Take the first phrase, “As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day”. Ask ourselves these questions:
- How do the skies look when it is raining?
- How does a rainbow look in comparison to those skies?
Yes…the appearance of the skies are grey and turbulent, almost angry. The light of the sun is muted and blotted out. The appearance of an illuminated multicolored rainbow against the backdrop of a grey sky is startling. It is always mentioned and pointed out to others, “Do you see the rainbow?” Psalm 19: 1-4 says, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun”
The verse in Ezekiel compares the contrast, of the illuminating appearance of a rainbow, to the muted dark skies…to the appearance of God’s glory and radiance against the back drop of anything else. What a symbol for the Lord to choose. There is nobody on this earth who does not see and recognize the beauty in a rainbow illuminated against the dark skies. God chose a symbol, which reveals His nature, to confirm His promise, which is apparent to all cultures, creeds, and languages. God’s radiant glory is in direct contrast to the storms of life and the dark skies of our world. I think it is no accident that the rainbow rises after the storm…that God is expressing His faithfulness to us, His sovereignty, His majesty…His promise.
The last part of the verse from Ezekiel is very telling, “And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking.”
Brothers…when we glimpse the glory of God, when we bask in radiance and our filled up with His presence…the only appropriate response is to fall on our faces and worship Him. The rainbow is a reminder of “Who” God is and “Why” He loves us. It is a “Memorial” to God’s promise. After the storm, the rainbow rises. God’s glory is returned to Him in praise, in thanksgiving, in song, in prayer…on our faces we worship.
“Thank you Father for Your divine presence through the storm. May our voices and devotion rise to the heavens in full color against the back drop of an angry and dark world. May our light, the light of Your Spirit, shine before men in such a way, that more voices and devotion are lifted up to heaven to GLORIFY YOUR NAME.”