3. God Established a Covenant with Men with a Rainbow as Its Token
(Gen 9:11-13) And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
Next, let’s look at the verses concerning “God established a covenant with men with a rainbow as its token.”
Most people know what a rainbow is and have heard something of the story about the rainbow. As to the story about the rainbow in , some believe it, others regard it as a legend, and still others simply do not believe it. No matter what, all the things related to the rainbow that happened throughout the story were the things God did and the things that happened in the course of God’s managing mankind. These things are recorded in the Bible exactly as they happened. Although how God’s heart felt at that time and what God’s intention was in speaking these words are not told in these records, much less can anyone realize how God felt when He spoke these words, yet the mind God had in the whole course of doing this thing is expressed among the words and between the lines, and it seems that God’s mind at that time is all revealed on paper vividly through each and every of these words of God.
God’s mind is what mankind should care about and know the most, because God’s mind has everything to do with man’s knowledge about God, and man’s knowledge about God is an indispensable link in his entering into life. Then what was God’s mind while these things happened?
The God-created mankind, a mankind who had originally been very good in God’s eyes and very close to God, was cut off by a flood after they disobeyed God. Such a mankind disappeared in a twinkling; was God grieved over that? Of course, He was grieved! What was the expression of His grief? What is the account of it in the Bible? It is as recorded in this verse: And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. In this simple word God’s mind was revealed: He was deeply grieved over this destruction of the world; in human terms, He was very sad. We may picture it: After the world was destroyed by the flood, what did the earth originally full of life look like then? What did the earth originally full of human beings look like then? It was desolate, no living things existed, and water was everywhere, on which things were floating about messily. Was such a scene God’s original intention in creating the world? Certainly not! God’s original intention was to see that the whole earth would be full of life and see that the mankind created by Him would worship Him, and at least it was not that only one man, Noah, would worship Him, and only one man, Noah, could be called by Him to accomplish His commission. At the moment when mankind disappeared, what God saw was not what He had originally intended to see but just the opposite. How could God’s heart not be grieved? So, when He was manifesting His disposition and expressing His feelings, He made a decision. What was the decision? He would establish a covenant with men with a bow in the cloud (Note: it was the rainbow we see), promising that He would not destroy mankind any more with a flood, and at the same time telling men that God had destroyed the world with a flood and letting men forever remember why God had done such a thing.
Was that destruction of the world what God desired? It was certainly not what God desired! As for the miserable condition on the earth after the destruction of the world, we can imagine a little about it, but what the scene God saw at that time was like is far beyond our imagination. It can be said that of the people today or the people then, none can imagine or understand how God felt in His heart when He saw that scene, when He saw the world after the destruction of it by the flood. Mankind’s disobedience had forced God to do so, but God’s heart was hurt because of that destruction of the world by a flood. This fact no one understood, and no one could feel it. So God established a covenant with men, that is, by an oath, He told men to remember that God had done such a thing and told men that God would never again destroy the world in such a way in the future. In this “covenant,” we see God’s heart and see that when God destroyed that mankind, God’s heart was in agony. To put it in human language, when God destroyed mankind and when God saw mankind disappear, God’s heart was weeping tears and dripping blood. Isn’t this all that can be said? Although these words are words mankind uses to describe man’s feeling, yet because human language is too short, I think it is not wrong or exaggerated to describe God’s heart and God’s feeling with such words, and at least they can make you understand vividly and properly how God’s heart felt at that time. When you see a rainbow again, what will you think about? At least you will think that God once sorrowed over destroying the world by a flood, and think that although God hated that world and hated that mankind, yet when He destroyed the mankind He had made with His own hands, He felt pain in His heart, felt it hard to give them up, felt He had no other choice, and felt it hard to do that. The only comfort to Him was the eight members of Noah’s family. It was because of Noah’s cooperation that the painstaking effort and price He had expended in creating all things had not been wasted after all. It was the only thing that could appease His wound while He was grieved. From then on, God placed His expectations for mankind all on the whole family of Noah, and He hoped that they would live under His blessing rather than in His curse, hoped that they would never again see God’s destruction of the world with a flood, and hoped that they would not be destroyed.
A Selected Passage from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Godself (1)”
in A Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh