The Rainbow Sign

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” – Genesis 9:13 NIV

The rainbow flag has become the defining symbol of pride month. It was chosen because it is both “natural and beautiful” and represents the diversity of people who join together under that banner. 

Rainbows used to be a cute decorating feature in a church nursery. With their cartoon animals on Noah’s Ark, they were a friendly way to introduce kids to the stories in the Bible.

But the first rainbow appeared to Noah and his family against a backdrop of evil and destruction. God destroyed all the other people on the earth in the flood to “blot out” their sin (Gen. 6:7). He did this because “intentions of man’s heart is evil” (Gen. 8:20-22).

After the flood, God renews his covenant with Noah, and the rainbow is his reminder of that (Gen. 9:1). While the intent of our hearts is still evil, God put a different plan in motion to blot out our sin. That plan was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross (Rev. 3:5).

Rainbows are indeed natural and beautiful. Seeing one appear in the sky is captivating and mysterious.

Rainbows are indeed natural and beautiful. Seeing one appear in the sky is captivating and mysterious. Rainbows are rare since they are visible only after a storm when a particular combination of factors in the physical world come together in precisely the right way.

But rainbows are an illusion of nature. You must stand with your back to the sun to see a rainbow, so you can never see the rainbow and its source together. And from a distance, rainbows look geometric and precise, but when you move closer they vanish into the mist.

Rainbows do not actually exist. We see an effect of the sun and water that is more determined by where we stand than where the rainbow appears. The more we chase a rainbow, the further we get from the light that made it possible.

The Rainbow Sign

That the Pride movement has chosen the rainbow as its symbol is both sad and ironic. They are returning to the corruption for which God judged the earth with the flood (Gen. 6:11). And they are doing it under the same banner that reminds us of God’s forbearance and grace (Rom. 2:4).

But the rainbow is still a sign of hope. Jesus has made a way for us to be saved. We must simply turn away from what seems right to us and look to the source of true light, the Son who is the radiance of the Father (Heb. 1:3).

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