June 28, 2015

Scandalous rainbow


The nation is still reeling from Friday. The Supreme Court’s decision has created waves of emotion – jubilation, vindictiveness, grieving, anger, despair… responses have been swift. The rainbows boldly painted across our nation have added to the dizzying swirl of reaction and unbridled words.
Scandalous rainbow.
For me, I look on that prism of light and I see so. much. more. The scandal of that rainbow stretches far back into history.
Back into days when “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” (Genesis 6:5) Back into the days when the pervasiveness of egregious sin demanded the response of the Righteous One.
His response?
“I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.” (Genesis 6:17)
All life. Every creature. Everything.
The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a)
All life, except one man and his family and representations of each animal in kind. God would keep this tiny remnant alive in a boat, designed by God, built in faith, tucked into this way of safety by God’s own sovereign hand.
At the end of the whole ordeal, when that family emerged from the darkness of that ark, God painted His rainbow in the sky – a promise to the remnant of those who believed that even though sin must be judged by Holy God, He would never destroy the earth in that manner again.
Rainbows, first mentioned here in the first book of the Bible, appear again in the last. John attempts to describe the indescribable and says that “A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” (Revelation 4:3) The throne of the Holy One. The throne about whom the heavenly hosts proclaim,
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.” (Rev. 4:8)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.” (Rev. 4:11)
The scandal of that rainbow is so much more than we realize. It is more than a political stance, more than a civil rights movement, more than public opinion about sexual orientation.
This scandal is that there is a God who created all things. They exist only because He willed them to do so. He is holy, holy, holy.
In Him there is no darkness at all. He does not change – He was, and is, and is to come. He is the only One worthy to reign, the only One worthy to judge. His holy nature is the very source of the definition of all that is true and right. Everything outside of His holy nature and will is the definition of all that is wrong and perverse.
We have rebelled, chosen our own way, and deserve destruction. But instead of wiping out humanity, God looked at the pervasiveness of egregious sin and sent His One and only Son to shed His own blood on our behalf – the Righteous One for the unrighteous.
He designed the way of our salvation, and when we respond in faith, we are tucked into this way of safety by His own sovereign hand.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
God’s Word and ways do not change. From beginning to end His story has been the same – how desperately we need Him, for we are a sinful and depraved people deserving His judgement.
Do not fear the rainbow – let it remind you of the undeserved grace of Jesus lavished on us. Let it bring grief not for lost political ground but for the millions of people who need to hear.
Do not fear those in power – God is ultimately the one on the throne. What if we prayed with as much zeal as we protest? What if we prayed for our leadership to encounter Jesus, not political defeat?
Do not fear people – our struggle is not against flesh and blood. Love your neighbor. Bind up the broken-hearted. Show them that love really did win – on the cross, not in the courtroom.
The days are dark and will no doubt get darker, but the Holy One, the Worthy One, the Almighty One holds all things, and has tucked us safely under His wings though the storms may rage around us.
The nation is reeling. But because of God’s scandalous rainbow – God’s scandalous plan – it is well with my soul.