The Rainbow Reminder (Advent 4, 2020)

I can’t begin to imagine how frightening it must have been to be in the ark when the rain came down, and a world full of people cried in anguish as they watched loved ones die by drowning before succumbing to it themselves.  I hope the ark was soundproof or animal noises within made the noises outside inaudible.  But then the silence.  The horrendous, awful silence proclaiming how alone they truly were.  There was no one else left.  What would have been the conversation among family members as the rain pounded on the wood surrounding them? 

The rain stops.  The ground dries.  Everyone emerges to vegetation anew and the animals get released to start all over.

If there ever was holy fear of God in its most intense form,
this would probably be it.  God wants us to fear Him but not to be afraid of Him. 
He loves us. 
So He makes a promise—a Divine Intervention—to calm their frightened hearts.

“Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you– the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you– every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 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 9:8-17)

Questions for thought:

  • What do you think about the story of Noah’s ark?  Do you find it unbelievable?  Why or why not?
  • How often since that day has God reminded Himself of His covenant when His regret over humanity’s actions has risen to the point of total genuine disgust and a grotesque anathema?  
  • What do you think of God’s giving Himself a reminder not to destroy us by a flood?

Lord God, Father Almighty, oh how our actions must grieve You. Lord, I know that we minimize sin, and we treat it as though it’s really nothing when in reality sin is a huge obstacle. To our having faith, to having a relationship with you, to our bringing glory to You because everything we do and everything we bring is greatly polluted by sin. Your holiness cannot tolerate it. Neither should we.

Lord, I thank You for this covenant that You have made… this rainbow in the sky as a reminder that You will never again flood the earth. Lord, we are amazed that instead of a flood You came Yourself in the Person of Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life and died for our sins upon the Cross at Easter time. What amazing grace that we might find forgiveness and mercy and be able to come before Your throne in our time of need. Your goodness to us is beyond imagining, beyond anything that we could ask or deserve!

Lord, everything we have done in our sin nature grieves You. I don’t know how You look beyond it to see the face of Jesus in those who are redeemed by faith. But I praise You! Lord, may we use the privilege of Image-bearing rightly… to bring glory to You. May we come before You in repentance–in genuine sad repentance–over who we are and what we have become as individuals, as a nation, and as a world.

Lord, we ask that You would select those in whom You find favor and elevate them to leadership roles in our churches, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our government. Father, it’s such an incredibly sad moment in American life where no one trusts anyone else and everyone believes the other is cheating. Lord, we know that You know all things. You see all things. You are everywhere at all times, and You know the truth of everything that has gone on in our past, present, and what will happen in the future. There is no hiding from You. There’s no getting around You–no standing there making excuses before You–because You know our hearts.

Forgive us, Lord, for all the ways we have pained You. Guide us, Lord, by Your grace and love and lead us to Your mercy. Without Jesus we would be without hope, so we thank You, Lord, for Your Son who came to this earth–Divine Intervention in a little baby born all those years ago in Bethlehem! We praise You for the way He showed us the true perfection of the Image of God, and we offer these prayers in Jesus’ holy Name. Amen.

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Advent 2020 began Sunday, November 29th and continues to Thursday, December 24th as we celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to His Second Coming.  “Divine Intervention” is this year’s devotional study. By signing up on the sidebar of my Home Page you can receive these daily devotionals. Or they will be reposted on SeminaryGal’s Facebook page as well.

Together we will see how God has been actively involved all along as Divine Intervention for a hurting world and nations in tumult– Intervention for you and for me when our status as sinners required nothing short of a miracle.

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Acknowledging inquiries about an entire season’s devotionals for your study group’s planning purposes, Seminary Gal’s prior seasons’ Advent devotionals can be accessed via the archives to the right and are as follows: 

  • Last year’s Advent Devotional Series God’s Christmas list explored what might be on God’s Christmas list, learning what He wants from us. It began December 1, 2019.
  • Storyteller began December 2, 2018 and entered into the Christmas story through its telling.
  • The 2017 series Still Christmas, began December 3, 2017 and was the Advent complement to the Lenten series, Be Still and Know that I AM God.
  • The 2016 season devotionals were called Timeless: The Message of Christmas for All Ages” and explored how the message of Christmas is timeless truth, for all ages of people, and for all ages at all times.  Timeless hope, encouragement, grace, peace, and love as we looked into the Word, saw the face of our Lord Jesus, and experienced restoration in His presence.  His goodness and His Gospel are truly Timeless. The 2016 devotionals began November 27, 2016.
  • The 2015 season devotionals were titled Incarnation and involved digging deep–and yes, I mean deep– in this important mystery of Christian theology.  They began November 29, 2015.
  • Carol Me, Christmas! remains one of my most popular offerings and tells the Christmas story through our most beloved Christmas hymns and carols.  You can access all of the numbered devotionals from 2014 via the archives.  They began November 30, 2014.
  • The 2013 series was Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up in Person and examined the Prologue to the Gospel of John.  It began December 1, 2013.
  • The 2012 series focused on Expecting the Unexpected…the unexpected, unlikely, and uniquely divine qualities of God’s perfect plan outlined in Luke’s account of the Christmas story.  It began December 1, 2012.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 2, 2020

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