I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
with deep joy and yet with awe must Noah have looked around him on leaving the ark. On every side signs of the mighty destruction; the earth scarcely dried, and the busy throng of men (Luke 17:27) all gone. Yet signs of new life; the earth putting forth verdure, as though preparing for a new and happier chapter of history. His first recorded act was sacrifice - an acknowledgment that his preserved life was God's gift, a new profession of faith in him. Then God gave the promise that no such destruction should again befall the earth, and so ordered the sign that the rain-cloud which might excite the fear should bring with it the rainbow, the pledge of the covenant. But as Genesis 6:18 foreshadowed the Christian covenant (1 Peter 3:21) in its aspect of deliverance from destruction, the text points to the same in its beating on daily life and service. The Godward life and renewal of the will which the law could not produce (Romans 8:3) is made sure to believers through the constraining power of the love of Christ (cf. 1 John 3:3; Revelation 12:11). And if clouds should cause fear, and God's face be hidden, and the energy of dedication grow languid, we are reminded (Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:24). And in the vision of the glorified Church (Revelation 4:3) the rainbow again appears, pointing back to the early sign, connecting them as parts of one scheme, and visibly setting forth the glory of God in his mercy and grace (cf. Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:6; John 1:14).
I. THE COVENANT WAS MADE WITH NOAH AND HIS SEED AS CHILDREN OF FAITH. They had believed in God's revealed way of salvation and entered the ark (cf. Numbers 21:8). The root of a Christian life is belief in a finished redemption (2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 John 5:11); not belief that the doctrine is true, but trust in the fact as the one ground of hope. Hast thou acted on God's call; entered the ark; trusted Christ; none else, nothing else? Waitest thou for something in thyself? Noah did not think of fitness when told to enter. God calleth thee as unfit (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15). Try to believe; make a real effort (cf. Matthew 15:28; Mark 9:23).
II. THE POWER OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE; FAITH AS A HABIT OF THE MIND. Look to the bow. "Looking unto Jesus." The world is the field on which God's grace is shown; we are the actors by whom his work is done. How shall we do this? Beset by hindrances - love of the world, love of self, love of ease. We cannot of ourselves (cf. Luke 22:33, 34; Romans 11:20). We are strong only in trusting to the power of the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 4:13).
III. IN THIS THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR HELPER. His office is to reveal Christ to the soul. His help is promised if sought for. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
WEB: I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be for a sign of a covenant between me and the earth.