Daily Distinctives, February 23, 2018 – Rainbow Rising

Daily Distinctives, February 23, 2018 – Rainbow Rising
Daily Distinctives, February 23, 2018 – Rainbow Rising

If you have followed my devotional for any length of time you probably know that I often make references to some of my favorite music bands. Growing up, my best friend, Alex Zotos and I had the wonderful privilege of sharing an older brother. It was Alex’s biological brother, but mine by association. Andy, Alex’s older brother had all the best music of the time. The good old rock-n-roll albums to the new wave of classic metal stuff. We used to sneak into his room and grab albums and put them on the turntable and rock out! One of the things that mesmerized me from an early age was the album artwork. I was fascinated by the creativity and design. It probably influenced my career choice as an adult (I own an advertising agency if you didn’t know). Anyways, as I read my devotional Scriptures for today, this image came to mind.

I always pictured the Hand of God placing the rainbow in the sky when I read the verses I am studying today. Cool image really. I own both the album and the t-shirt. LOL.

Anyways, I hope that you will get some enjoyment out of my devotional today. I will limit the number of rock-n-roll references moving forward.

[Gen 9:1 NKJV] So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

God blessed Noah and his sons. This a wonderful verse because they are going to need all the blessings they can get! To be the only humans alive on the earth, and now living in a new and hostile environment to boot must have been a real eye-opener for the new first family. But not only that, the source of their diet will henceforth change as well.

[Gen 9:2 NKJV] “And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move [on] the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.

It is assumed that prior to the flood, man and animal existed together in harmony without fear of one another. Hereafter the flood, God gives Noah and his family a new diet and allows them to eat meat. But God is giving the animals a fair chance too. They are now afraid of mankind and flee from his presence. Perhaps this was so that they would escape and multiply on the earth. I can imagine them all scampering off down the mountain as God pronounced this next verse.

[Gen 9:3 NKJV] “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

I saw a bumper sticker once that read, “If God didn’t want us to eat animals then why did He make them out of meat!” I love that bumper sticker, I so want to get one, or a t-shirt or something to that effect. Ha! Classic! But here we see that just as God had commanded Adam what he could eat, God gives Noah and his family a new diet too. But, God makes one stipulation.

[Gen 9:4 NKJV] “But you shall not eat flesh with its life, [that is], its blood.

Because there is life in the blood, there will always be something precious about the blood of any living creature in the eyes of the LORD. I think this is what makes the idea of vampire movies so haunting. But God is commanding Noah and mankind to have respect for life and to show dignity for the animals that are sacrificed for their food. Throughout the generations and in many cultures when a young man goes on his first hunt, there is a right of passage involving the blood of the animal that is killed. In some cultures, they drink the blood of the freshly slain animal to represent the life passing from the hunted to the hunter. In other cultures, the blood is dipped and smeared on the face or ears of the hunter to represent a similar idea. Though drinking the blood is considered taboo in our culture it is not taken lightly in cultures who practice such. The reality is that it is a great sign of respect for the animal that gave up its life for the hunter.

[Gen 9:5 NKJV] “Surely for your lifeblood I will demand [a reckoning]; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
[Gen 9:6 NKJV] “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.

In these verses, we see the mandate by God instituting capital punishment. The first human bloodshed came from Abel as his murderous brother slew him. This was an affront to God who gives life. Now God puts the judgment upon mankind to demand a reckoning for any spilled blood. As we will see moving forward, LORD willing, there were laws regarding the spilling of blood, whether by accident, or intentionally and what must happen in these events. But as we see in verse 6, God gives man the role of executioner in the event of a murder.

[Gen 9:7 NKJV] And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it.”

While mankind now exercises the right to take the life of those who take the life of another, it is God’s will that life should be preserved and so He commands Noah and his family to get busy procreating. For those who view sex as something shameful, I would disagree on the grounds that God commanded it. But we will learn more about that later too. Keep in mind everything has its appropriate place. The problem with sex is not the act, but the context where it is played out.

[Gen 9:8 NKJV] Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying:
[Gen 9:9 NKJV] “And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you,
[Gen 9:10 NKJV] “and with every living creature that [is] with you: the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark, every beast of the earth.

Here we see that God makes a covenant with Noah and his descendants and all of the living creatures on the earth. One thing about God is that His covenants are not like the covenants of man. Man has a tendency to break covenants and go back on his word. Believe me, I know all about this being in business for myself and expecting others to live up to their end of a bargain only to be let down. Bitter much? Seriously though, when God makes a covenant or a promise, He always keeps His WORD. This is something that we too should do as it is modeled for us by the LORD. Moving forward, we will likely talk about covenants and oaths and how they are to be honored.

[Gen 9:11 NKJV] “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Now, I often wondered about this. It seems like the covenant is saying that God would not destroy mankind again. But that is not what it says. He says that He will never again destroy all flesh by the waters of the flood, nor again destroy the earth by flood. Here is my question, does God use loopholes in His covenants. The reason I ask this question is that we know from reading the rest of the Bible that the earth will be destroyed again, only next time by fire (2 Peter 3:1-7). Still, God is good and reserves the right to judge His creation as He sees fit. I just always found this to be curious.

[Gen 9:12 NKJV] And God said: “This [is] the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual generations:
[Gen 9:13 NKJV] “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.

In the album I referenced earlier, the title comes from a song called Stargazer with vocalist Ronnie James Dio who sings about a wizard who tricks people into building a tower of stone for him so he could fly. The people slave to build the tower while the wizard lives in opulence at the expense of the slaves. After the tower is complete, the charlatan attempts to fly. The story ends with blood on the sand, and then Dio sings, “I see a rainbow rising.” The next track on the album is kind of a continuation of this song as the people who fell for the charlatan find hope in the light. Now while this does not have anything to do with our Bible study today, I will attempt to draw a parallel. I think about how the promises of man never amount to much, especially when compared to the promises of God.

[Gen 9:14 NKJV] “It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;
[Gen 9:15 NKJV] “and I will remember My covenant which [is] between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
[Gen 9:16 NKJV] “The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] on the earth.”
[Gen 9:17 NKJV] And God said to Noah, “This [is] the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that [is] on the earth.”

My wife has a fascination with rainbows. She loves them. In fact, I proposed to her in Tennessee up on a mountain that had a beautiful corridor hewn out and replaced with rainbow-colored windows to light the path. As she came through the tunnel into the light I was there on bended knee to present her with her wedding band which was made with diamonds and a band of rainbow sapphires. And of course, you know my fascination with rainbows coming from a band I enjoy. LOL. But, every time I see a rainbow in the sky, I am reminded of God’s promise.

This makes me sad when I see how the LGBT community has taken the rainbow and used it as their banner. I feel like this was done as a mockery of God who prohibits homosexuality in His WORD. You will notice that the flag has six colors in it, where the rainbow God created has 7 (a perfect number), and the colors are a perversion of the rainbow itself. I don’t think that was by accident, but I could be wrong and have been in the past, so you decide. The official reason given for the “pride” flag isΒ that the different colors within the flag were meant to represent togetherness, since LGBT people come in all races, ages, and genders, and rainbows are both natural and beautiful. The original flag featured eight colors, each having a different meaning. At the top was hot pink, which represented sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow signifying sunlight, green for nature, turquoise to represent art, indigo for harmony, and finally violet at the bottom for spirit.

Prayer: LORD, You are good and You alone are worthy of our praise. LORD, it saddens me to see people flagrantly dishonoring You. But I know that I do the same thing when I sin. While I don’t share the same sins as others I am still a sinner and I pray that You would forgive me for my sin so that I might be pleasing to You. I think about my family members and acquaintances who have adopted a homosexual lifestyle and I see no difference between my sin and theirs, both are grievous in Your eyes and cost Jesus His life, which He gladly laid down for us if we only repent. I pray that You would help us all to recognize our sin for what it truly is and turn from it. LORD, I thank You for Your promises which You are able to keep. I think of my own promises to You and how often I fail to keep up my end of the deal. Still, You are faithful. Help me to do the things I say I will do. Let my yes be yes and my no be no. LORD, I lift up my family to You, there are many of us in need of Your healing hand today. LORD, I lift up my Pastor to You and ask that You would continue to bless him and his family while they are apart from one another. Father, I pray that You would continue to use me in this work as I draw closer to You day by day. I pray that those who read this devotional will draw closer to You with me. I thank You, LORD, for all that You are doing in our lives today. May You receive all glory and honor due to Your name. It is in Your name I pray. –Amen

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