I think most of us are familiar with the story of Noah and the Ark. If you're not, you can look it up in Genesis. Or in your Jesus Storybook Bible. That's my favorite version. :)
But, since you've familiarized yourself with the story already, we're going to pick up at the end after the big floody-floody after Noah and his peeps have found dry land and Noah is talking to God.
Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”-Genesis 9:8-17If you notice, the word "covenant appears seven times in the previous passage. I'm taking this to mean that it's pretty important what God had to say here.We're going to remember back for a moment to the beginning of the story. If you remember, God flooded the Earth because its inhabitants had become evil and corrupt. But, unlike the people around him, Noah did not partake in the evil that surrounded him and stayed righteous. He kept up the standards that God had laid before him. So, God set him apart and instructed him to build a large boat, well, ark. Because it was going to rain. Water was going to fall from the sky. This was really weird to Noah, but he obeyed God, even though God's instructions sounded kind of funny. You see, in that day...it didn't rain. It had never rained...ever. The water came up from the ground like dew. So, if you would, imagine Noah working on this huge ark and his neighbors walking by asking what he was doing. And imaging him telling them...I'm building this boat-thingy because God says its going to rain. And those people just walk on by laughing at him, day after day. But then, the big flood comes and they aren't laughing anymore. I'm guessing they wish that they had the faith that Noah did that God was going to do what he had promised. God took care of and provided for Noah and his family because of his obedience. God stayed faithful.
And God remained faithful. Imagine being stuck on a boat in the middle of water for over a year with your extended family and lots and lots of animals. I'm thinking it probably began to get a little cramped in the ark. And maybe a little stinky, too. Sometimes I wonder if Noah and his family ever started doubting that God was going to recede the flood waters so that they could get to dry land. I wonder if they ever questioned God during the months and months they were stuck on the boat. But then, it happened. God remembered that they were floating along and he ended the great flood. Then, he made a promise, a covenant, with Noah and his sons. He promised to "never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth". He then gave a rainbow as a sign of the covenant. I think this is such a wonderful reminder. Every time we see a rainbow, we can remember that God is faithful and will always keep his promises. He will always remember his people, even when he leads them into crazy situations. That's what I want us to focus in on today: God's faithfulness never ends. God can lead us into pretty crazy places way outside our comfort zone. Um, hello. Been there, done that. But, we just need to remember he is always there and will never forget us. He doesn't promise safety or security. He doesn't promise it will always be easy. He doesn't promise other people will always agree with us. But, he does promise that if we go with him, he will always be there. And that's the everlasting promise that we are reminded of when we see the pretty rainbow up in the sky. We can remember when the Lord told Noah there was gonna be a floody-floody and how the Lord was faithful to his promises.
1. What kind of "floods" have happened in your life? (I don't mean horrible situations, focus in on what you thought was impossible (i.e. the rain) but was made possible by God). How was God faithful through these situations?
2. What kind of symbol is the rainbow? What are the "rainbows" in your life that reassure you of God's faithfulness?
3. Prayerfully consider what are some"crazy things" might God be leading you to do that are way out of your comfort zone. How can God help you through these things/ lead you to these things?