"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." Genesis 9:16 (NIV)
Have you ever considered what God chooses to remember and forget? We know God is omniscient and knows all things, but He has a selective memory. That may sound odd, but stick with me.
The passage above insinuates that God needs reminders. Perhaps His own heavenly iPhone alert. A holy calendar pop-up. But I would suggest that it's not due to busyness, but emotion. God created us with feelings and emotions, so naturally they generated from Him. He has feelings, too. Again, stick with me.
The impetus of the Flood was God's observance of the corruption and violence permeating His creation. He had planned His creation so carefully. So beautifully. So harmoniously. Then mankind came along and desecrated it. Destruction was on God's mind. He issued the warning to Noah and opened the floodgates of heaven for 40 straight days.
After the Flood and preserving Noah and his family, God decided that He never again wanted to destroy to that degree. So He needed to remind Himself to honor His covenant after the Flood.
Think about it. When are you and I most prone to feelings or thoughts of destruction? When we experience hurt, anger and betrayal, among other feelings. God had created a beautiful place for His most precious creations, yet it was abused as we turned against one another in sin. Can you imagine the level of God's grief?
Although we cannot begin to compare ourselves to God, drawing parallels lends understanding. When you and I experience hurt, anger or betrayal, we tend to lash out in emotionally-fueled responses. In those times, we need reminders to keep our emotions in check. God wanted to remind Himself to continue pursuing us in love even though we continue to hurt Him over and over and over.
He needed a reminder bow displayed in the heavens.
Later in Scripture, Moses served as God's reminder bow, as well. When Moses went up on Mount Sinai to receive the tablets of the law, the Israelites sinned grievously by fashioning a golden calf. Exodus 32 records that God's anger burned against the Israelites. Again, destruction was on God's mind. But Moses was the bow on God's finger in that moment and reminded God that He had made a covenant with them. A promise of delivery, new life and the Promised Land.
God chooses to remember mercy. Grace. Love. Because of the sacrifice of His Son, God chooses to forget our transgressions and removes them as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12)
I have a new appreciation for rainbows. They're not just pretty strokes of color. God specifically put them in place to remember to love us - regardless...instead of...and in spite of us.
Aren't rainbows just a little more beautiful to you now?