God’s Bow

“I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.”

Genesis 9:11

God’s bow. A glorious, seven-faceted bow of color in the sky to establish His covenant of mercy and graciousness, a promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. For years I idly wondered why God referred to the rainbow as His bow. What made it so especially His that it was so named? I contented myself with the answer that it was especially created by Him as a covenant sign, and specially placed in the sky during rain.

But think – where else in the Bible is the rainbow mentioned?

When the throne of God almighty is described in Revelation chapter four, a rainbow is recorded as encircling it. Here is God’s bow in heaven, in the glorious presence of God. Here His glory is shown, where the four creatures continually proclaim His holiness; here the elders prostrate themselves in worship; it was here the prophet Isaiah cried, “Woe is me…because I am a man of unclean lips”.

God took this bow, His own bow from the throne of His majesty, the presence of His overwhelming holiness, and set it in the visible sky as a sign of His faithfulness and mercy. The very righteousness that required judgement on earth is testament of mercy from another identical punishment. Surely this is a case of “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Psalm 85:10)

This is one aspect of God’s nature that continually amazes me. I know that the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ has satisfied the wrath of God the Father; the necessary payment was made, mercy and justice are both there. It is a sort of balance. But this is not a simple balancing of different aspects of God’s character. It is like in 1 John, when forgiveness and cleansing from sin is an expression faithfulness and justice. What more can I say? Praise the LORD!