I think we take rainbows for granted. Most of us will probably take a moment to look at one when it appears, but how often do we think of them as anything more than a pretty after-effect of rain? Yet when He set that first rainbow in the sky, God gave it so much more meaning than that.
The day He gifted the rainbow to us, God made a promise. Never again would He destroy life by the waters of a flood. But this promise goes far beyond simply not destroying life. As Peter points out, “…this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also…” Water, which brought death in the flood, now brings us life through baptism in Jesus. Why is this made possible? Because in the death of His Son, God accepted the punishment of the flood for us. Where we deserve death by it, what we receive instead is the merciful cleansing of its water.
The rainbow is a promise of this mercy…a promise that is as much alive today as the day it was made. God said, “Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember My covenant between Me and you and living creatures of every kind.” Whenever one appears. Not for the first couple of rainbows, not for the occasional rainbow, but for every one. Every rainbow we have seen and will see is included in that.
So when was the last time you looked at a rainbow and thought of that promise? When was the last time you pondered the fact that you are part of that promise, a promise that was made thousands of years ago, a promise that is actively being kept today? When was the last time you looked at a rainbow and thought of it as God’s way of reminding you of His merciful love?