“The Rainbow is God’s” Genesis 9:8-17
The 10th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 7/29/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL
It was a new start, a clean start, fresh start with the past gone forever… literally swept away in the waters of the great flood that covered all the earth.
It was a new day for mankind, the sum total being Noah, his sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth – and their wives. All of the others were gone. They perished. They drowned in their sins.
In the Book of Genesis we read, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)
“… the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:11-13)
You know what happens next. You know about the ark and how God saved Noah and his family, the only ones who remained righteous in His sight. You know about the gathering of the animals into the ark. You know how the Lord God shut them safe, sound and secure in the ark… that which was built to His divine specifications.
You know how the flood waters increased for 40 days and how they lasted for 150 days… some five months, before receding.
You know about Noah and his family leaving the ark and that the first thing they did on dry ground was to worship the Lord their God giving Him thanks and praise for His great mercy and grace… that they had been spared, protected and preserved.
And yes, you know about the rainbow, the beautiful and wonderful sign of the covenant that the Lord our God established with us and all mankind. Not that the rainbow isn’t important… because it is… but far greater is the relationship the Almighty was establishing with the crown of His creation… man.
“God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’” (Genesis 9:8-11)
There is, dear brothers and sisters, one other thing that we know… and that is the story since and how God has perfectly kept His covenant… that the rainbow still gloriously shines even though mankind has again become and continues even more and more to be corrupt… sinful, evil and wicked.
The rainbow continues to shine in a world that grows darker by the minute, the hour, the day. A world that has taken the rainbow and almost every other divine sign and symbol… taken that which stands for the holy and divine… and uses it to represent that which is unholy, sinful, abominable and corrupt.
Oh, how the sign and symbol of the cross, the very cross of Jesus, has been and continues to be debased and despised. An object scorned, made fun of and rejected. Who can forget a number of years ago the crucifix in a jar of urine declared to be “art!”
Or another early sign and symbol of the Christian faith, the fish, and how proponents of Darwin have added legs to it, decrying the true creation story and promoting evolution.
And we all know what the rainbow has come to stand for… the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer. In other words, human sexuality at its worst… perverted, sick and demented.
The irony of all this is the fact that these dear, misguided people… all who are likewise God’s creation, His children who our Savior loves and for whom (along with all of us) He died… use this glorious projection of light in all it hues to represent that which is truly dark, completely dark and sinful.
To them, its all about the many colors side by side. It is all about diversity even though the Lord our God and His Holy Word is about unity and oneness in Him. They forget from where those colors emanate… that the colors of the rainbow are in fact refracted light, reflected light, from pure white light… be it from the sun… S-U-N… or the Son… S-O-N… God the Son, our Savior Christ Jesus who is the Light of the world.
We… you and I, dear brothers and sisters, know the truth. We have been given the truth of Gods Word. And we have been given the opportunity as well as the divine injunction to proclaim the same… to proclaim the illuminating Word of God to all who sit in the darkness of sin including those who would dare to claim as their symbol, their banner…
… that which emanates from light itself… that which emanates from God Himself and God alone. The rainbow is His. The rainbow is God’s!
It is the very sign and symbol that came after the destruction of all mankind for their sinfulness, their sick and evil ways, including… most definitely… those of a sexual origin.
And so it is that we preach, teach and confess the Law of God… that the wages of sin is death… never again by a flood… but soon, so very soon by everlasting fire. There is… will be… the day of judgement.
And so it is that as, we ourselves, confess our sins… we call others… all others… to repentance.
So it is that we preach, teach and confess Christ crucified… we live Christ crucified… rejoice in Christ crucified… that in Him… in Jesus… there is full forgiveness of all our sins… full pardon of all our iniquities… and full peace. For us… for all!
Signs and symbols, my friends. We have them to remind us of God’s great love and mercy in Christ Jesus. Fret not the misuse of them… any of them or all of them. Such is the way it will be in these latter days, these last days. And seek not to reclaim them… for you need not reclaim that which can never be taken from you. That, which is God’s and ours… in Him! Amen.