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Colors of Promise

Key References: Genesis 8; 9:1-17; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 8, pp. 105-110; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 1, pp. 120-123; Our Beliefs nos. 6, 3, 11

Power Text

“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).

Power Point

New beginnings are part of God’s plan for our lives.

Think of a time you were sick and couldn’t go outside for several days. What did it feel like to have to stay inside your house all that time? How did you feel when you finally felt well enough to go to school or outside to play? After many months inside the ark Noah and his family were finally able to leave the boat and go outside once again. Imagine their excitement!

I can hardly believe we’re actually going to walk on dry land again.” The eyes of Shem’s wife sparkled as she spoke. “To take a walk in the sunshine for a whole day sounds so wonderful.”

Shem smiled at his wife’s excitement as they began to undo the latches on some of the animal pens.

“It seems like forever since I felt earth on my hands and smelled a garden. I really can’t wait to grow something again,” she continued.

“I know what you mean,” Shem answered. “Before the Flood there were times I wished we didn’t have to work so hard to grow our food, but now I’m looking forward to some field work myself.”

I wonder what it will be like now, Shem thought to himself. It had been a terrible shock to look out over the strangely changed landscape a few weeks ago when they had taken the covering off of the ark. The surface of the ground was dry, but signs of the terrible storm were everywhere. Jagged, rocky places stood where once beautiful hills had been. The gems, silver, and gold that had been plentiful on the surface of the earth had disappeared. Now there were huge expanses of water. Uprooted trees and muck littered the ground. It was just plain ugly and discouraging.

There would certainly be hours of backbreaking work just ahead. But Shem also looked forward to their new life. God has been so good to us, Shem thought. I praise Him for bringing us through the Flood together, and now I’m so glad He has told us that it’s time to leave the ark. A tinge of excitement for the new beginnings ahead of them made Shem hurry his steps as they continued setting the impatient animals free.

When the family of Noah left the ark, it was a whole new beginning for them. Besides being the only living human beings, they found that their environment was totally different.

Together the family built an altar, and together they praised God for His loving care. They thanked Him for His grace in bringing them safely to the spot on which they stood, and for the opportunity to have a new start on a newly cleansed earth.

And God had an encouraging surprise for them! He spoke to Noah’s family, saying: “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” To seal this promise, God gave Noah and his family a reminder of His grace. He said to them, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 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.” To conclude, God repeated His promise once again: “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth” (Genesis 9:11-17).

“I can’t remember when I last saw something so beautiful.” Ham spoke softly, his words voicing the feelings of the quiet little group.

As they stared into the sky, Noah solemnly reminded his family that God could be trusted to keep His promises.

God’s rainbows still shine today. We are reminded of His love and care for us each time we see one. And so is He. And Christians are reminded of God’s gift of new beginnings every time they see the cross, the symbol of God’s love in giving us the ultimate new start.

Would you like a new beginning today? God has promised one. And He has also asked that you offer a new beginning to others, forgiving them and offering them a little taste of the grace He has shown to you. Just ask Him to help you. He has promised.