Genesis 8:21 (NIV) The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”
In Genesis chapter 8 verse 21 God gave a promise. “”The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: ‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” Then, in the next chapter he reiterated that promise to all humanity and attached a sign or symbol to it for as long as this earth endures. He promised, “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 earth.” Rainbows have appeared in songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” or “The Rainbow Connection”. It has also been part of a long standing myth that promises that at the end of the rainbow there is a what? Yes, a pot of gold. If only you could find the elusive end of any rainbow you see you could have that pot of gold. But for us as followers of the Lord and trusting in his word, the rainbow has far greater and real significance. It is God’s promise of peace for a fallen world deserving only of total destruction. So today we turn to God’s word I shared with you from Genesis and this awesome truth: THE LORD’S “POT OF PEACE PROMISES” AT THE END OF HIS RAINBOW. I. Not a myth - God’s solid truth. II. Not elusive - found in God’s promises kept.
What led up to this promise? A world-wide flood sent by God. Ever since the fall into sin in Eden God saw a progression of sin in all humanity to the point he had to say, “Every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” Adam and Eve passed down their sinfulness to their children, their children to theirs and it just kept getting worse and worse. To the point where God threatened to destroy all his once perfect creation. But in his great grace he still gave all time to repent, be sorry for their rebellion against God and turn to him for forgiveness. In fact, he gave all 120 years to do so as they observed Noah building an ark that God promised would save him and his family from the death throes of the flood. It was not that Noah and his family were without sin. No, we are told they found favor, grace in the eyes of the Lord. But all others were so far spiritually gone that God’s righteous judgement came upon them and caused death and destruction. This was the result of sinners’ enmity against the holy God.
So the rains came down and depths surged up for 150 days while Noah and his family and two of every kind of animal remained in the ark. Then Noah sent out a raven which never returned, possibly signifying there was plenty of dead meat in the water for it to eat. He next sent out a dove which did return indicating the waters had not yet totally retreated. He sent it out again and this time it returned with an olive leaf in its mouth. So God had all the occupants of the ark come out on to dry land. And the first thing Noah did was to build an altar and sacrifice clean animals and birds as a grand thank you to God for saving them from the flood and giving them safety and peace again. That is the pleasing aroma we heard of in verse twenty-one of chapter 8 of Genesis. Then followed the awesome promise we also heard that God would never again destroy all creation even though sinfulness and sin remained in and among all people. This was just one peace promise to lost sinners in his pot of peace promises at the end of his rainbow. For he set as a symbol of that promise the rainbow to assure all creatures he would remember his promise forever.
Here we could and should surely say as we often do after the Scripture readings here in worship, “This is the word of the Lord.” This is no myth or legend of which movies are made. This promise stands forever. We have God’s word on it. Remember it and be at peace when you next see a rainbow in the sky. But remember even more a somewhat similar promise, only far greater. It was promise of rescue also, but not from the death waters of a flood. It was a promise of peace between our holy God and us sinners. It was a promise that the Prince of peace would take on himself on a cross the punishment that brought us peace. Not only never again will the world be destroyed by a flood, but in our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed in the fires of hell forever. His death won eternal peace for us, and his resurrection sealed that peace forever. Live in that peace even when your insides are churning over illness, sorrow, worry, heartache. Die in that peace because what God promises are not myth or mere wishful thinking, but his solid truth. He has a pot of peace promises at the end of his rainbow.
Even if the myth of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow were true, it still would do us no good, because the end of the rainbow is elusive, you can never find its end. Not so with the pot of peace promises at the end of God’s rainbow. They are not at all elusive, but found in promises kept.
I was riding up the elevator at Fairview hospital some time ago with several strangers. It had been raining for several days. Someone said, “I wonder if it’s ever going to stop raining.” Another person quipped, “I don’t know. I just saw pairs of all kinds of animals getting on a big boat.” All of us grinned and giggled. It was kind of a peaceful filling to even know that someone knew his Bible that well. Even better to be able to think to myself, oh no, God promised never again a universal flood. He sure has kept that promise and we know when God promises, unlike human promises, it is a done deal. We can be at total peace with this promise of God as well as with all his other promises in his pot of peace promises at the end of his rainbow.
All and only because in Christ all God’s promise are “yes”. He sent the Prince of peace into the world born in a lowly manger. And what did the angels announce that night to the world? Peace on earth. And for the same reason that he saved Noah from the flood, God’s favor and grace in Christ. When the risen Savior appeared to his disciples on Easter afternoon, what was the first word he spoke to them? “Peace be to you.” God keeps his promises and none greater than peace in Jesus and all he did to save us from sin and death.
So let’s pretend. We have reached the end of God’s rainbow and found his pot of peace promises. Let’s pretend the pail in which the children throw their offerings to Jesus is the pot and the coins are God’s peace promises. The peace promise God told Aaron to speak on his Old Testament people and is now spoken on us, “The Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.” Promise kept. The peace promise Jesus gave his disciples when they were scared and worried about his leaving them. “Peace I give you...not as the world gives…Do not let your hearts be troubled.” The Holy Spirit gives the fruits of the Spirit, “joy, peace, patience...” Promise kept. Paul assured in Christ, “we have peace with God.” Promise kept. But we don’t have to pretend when it comes to the peace promises of God. They are not in a pot of offerings to God, but in his offering for us and to us in Christ. Promise kept. Note the symbol of peace for the world, the rainbow carved into the center of the altar with the dove another long standing symbol of peace, the olive branch in the dove’s mouth and enjoy another peace promise kept, Christ’s body and blood given for you for the forgiveness of sins. Then truly depart in peace as you leave the altar area to go back into daily living that often deals us anything but peace, and even into the day of your death knowing in Christ all of the peace promises of God’s pot of peace are and absolutely will be kept.
And enjoy every rainbow God sets in the sky for you to see and remember. Amen.