Rainbows and Bows

A rainbow is beautiful. Stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet bend to form a bow, or arc, of refracted light. A rainbow is born when sunlight and water droplets unite. After a rainstorm, water drops remain in the atmosphere. The sun shines on these droplets causing them to act as prisms reflecting and refracting the light within the water. A rainbow is most brilliant when seen against the backdrop of a dark sky immediately after a storm.

The Hebrew word for rainbow is the same word for bow describing a war weapon. I sense a spiritual connection between a rainbow in the sky and a bow as a weapon of war. Let me present a picturesque possibility.

God created. Mankind sinned. Spiritual darkness invaded the earth. God fought a war against the waywardness and wickedness of mankind. A storm brewed in the heavens. The clouds became God’s chariot and He rode upon the wings of the wind. His weapon was a spiritual bow. Arrows of lightning flashed and thunder resounded. While flooding the earth with water, God cleansed it of all unrighteousness. God won the war. The Son of God then displayed an array of brilliant beauty. Rays of color – red, orange, yellow etc. Rays of character – mercy, grace, love etc. God placed a rainbow in the sky – a sign of victory and a symbol of promise.

The Significance of the Rainbow

Genesis 9:13 is the first scriptural reference to a rainbow. The New International Version says, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” The New American Standard Version uses the words, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.”

God judged sin by sending a great flood. Afterwards, He promised Noah that He would never judge the world again in this way. The rainbow became an everlasting sign of God’s forgiveness and covenant of mercy.

In Genesis 9:15-17 God says, “and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ 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.’”

In Daily Fire Devotional: 365 Days in God’s Word, Reinhard Bonnke describes the rainbow as a weapon spanning the whole horizon. He says, “What mighty arrows it (the bow) must shoot when God goes into battle against the devil!…The rainbow is not a mere phenomenon of natural beauty, but a divine reminder of God’s archery.”

God’s bow, or rainbow, is a permanent display of His goodness. It reminds us of what God has done in the past. It is a promise of what He will do in the future. And, it reveals His faithfulness to us today.

Natural vs Supernatural Bows

Let’s make a comparison between the weapons used in military battles versus those in spiritual battles. Bows can represent any type of ammunition used in worldly wars. Significant advancements have been made in weaponry since men fought with bows and arrows centuries ago.

In biblical times, bows and arrows were considered symbols of strength. However, they are not effective when fighting spiritual battles. Psalm 44:6-7 declares, “For I will not trust in my bow, nor will my sword save me. But You (God) have saved us from our adversaries, and You have put to shame those who hate us.”

In I Samuel 17:45, David says to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty.” David again reveals how he fights battles in Psalm 20:7, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

Paul describes a believer’s weapon in II Corinthians 6:7, “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.”

Specific Spiritual Bows

As believers, we fight spiritual battles in a unique way. II Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We fight to destroy arguments that come against the knowledge of God.” According to II Corinthians 10:5-6, we fight by taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ.

Paul says in Ephesians 6:11-13, ““Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” He then describes our armor in Ephesians 6:14-17 as a belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of peace, a shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

We do not fight spiritual battles with physical bows. Instead, we fight with God’s bow – His Word. The arrows are specific scriptural promises that can hit the target’s bullseye. Let me share a few verses that will help us achieve victory.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified
because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6

No weapon that is formed against you will prosper;
And every tongue that accuses you in judgment
you will condemn.

Isaiah 54:17 NASV

He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be
free from all blame on the day when our
Lord Jesus
Christ returns.
I Corinthians 1:8-9 NLT

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Rainbows: First and Last

We referred to rainbows in the first book of the Bible (Genesis). However, they are also mentioned in the last book of the Bible (Revelation) with a couple of references in the middle (Ezekiel). A rainbow is more than a trick of light and water. It is a symbol of God’s promises. It also is a description of God’s divine glory. Ezekiel 1:28 says, “Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

Revelation 4:3 says, “And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” Revelation 10:1 says, “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

A visible rainbow is awe-inspiring. As we gaze upon it, may we see the rainbow as a God ordained symbol of His mercy and faithfulness. Let us rejoice in rainbows! 


Raindrops and Rainbows

raindrops-2rainbow-1A few days ago an ordinary experience became an extraordinary enlightenment. The weather had been extremely hot and humid. Finally the rain came. I stood in the doorway watching the rain descend as the air temperature decreased. It was refreshing. I became aware of how high in the sky the raindrops originated. This was certainly not the first time I had watched rain fall, but the point of origin of the rain captured my attention. I knew the raindrops always spilled from the clouds above, but that day they appeared to be the Lord’s teardrops falling from heaven to earth. I was mesmerized by the long liquid lines of rain falling from a point I could not even see. I was reminded of a comment I had recently read in the novel The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans,   “I have heard it said of Cork (Ireland) that the sky doesn’t rain, it weeps.” Yes, I interpreted what I was seeing as God weeping. Finally other responsibilities called me away from the door where I was standing as the rain continued to fall. A short time later, nature beckoned me back to the doorway in time for me to see a double rainbow spanning the sky that previously had been filled with raindrops. My thoughts then turned to the promise God made to Noah in Genesis 9:13, “I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth.” God was in the raindrops and He was in the rainbows. A double rainbow spoke to me of a double portion of His blessings through His faithfulness. Raindrops and rainbows are part of both the natural and the supernatural realms.

My thoughts go back to my experience with the rain shower There would not have been the atmospheric conditions for the creation of a rainbow if it had not rained. I can make a similar application to my spiritual life. I would not have an appreciation for the blessings of the Lord if I did not encounter difficult situations that cause me to reach out for His help. All of us will experience both sorrow and joy in His presence. Psalm 30:5 says, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Raindrops fall during the dark times and rainbows appear during times of joy. In Desiring God, John Piper  quotes a Minquass proverb saying, “The soul would have no rainbow if the eye had no tears.” We have a greater appreciation for the joyous times when we contrast them to the more difficult times.

Is there any validity to my perceiving natural raindrops as being symbolic of the Lord’s supernatural teardrops? Does God actually weep? In her AnGeL blog, Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, has mentioned that her mother once said if there are any tears shed in heaven, they are going to be shed over all the answers to prayer for which no one ever bothered to ask!” It amazes me to think that I might cause God to weep just because I do not take time to lift up prayer requests to Him! Am I causing God to shed teardrops as raindrops rather than allowing Him to create a rainbow of fulfilled promises into someone’s life?

Sometimes we experience rain showers. Sometimes we experience rainbows. Sometimes we experience sunshine. All are needed for plants and people. Ecclesiastes 3:4 states that there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Emotions, like weather, can be hard to forecast and predict. All are part of God’s plan. However, our understanding of weather changes and emotional changes may be different from the Lord’s perspective.  I again quote from The Looking Glass by Richard Paul Evans, “To choose life is to choose sorrow as well as joy, pain as well as pleasure.”  We must remember that the Lord is more concerned about our being holy than our being happy. Or, something we might consider being in the category of sorrow may be in the category of sacred for God. The outcome of these times may not be easy but they will be eternal. May we be aware of how the Lord desires to work in our lives and allow our ordinary experiences to become times of extraordinary enlightenment!

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