Read Genesis 8:1-9:17
The ark was anything but a cruise ship! Their boat wasn’t designed for entertainment, luxury, and refreshment. It was designed to preserve the lives of 8 people and of the animals in a floating zoo. The initial downpour and devastation, flood and misfortune gave way to month after month of waiting. But God remembered them, and the day finally came when they disembarked. Perhaps after kissing the dry ground, they offered sacrifices of worship to God who had delivered them.
Some things were no different than when they entered the ark. There were still 24-hour days with darkness and daylight. The seasons resumed. Noah, his sons, and their wives still had the responsibility to multiply and fill the earth. It must have been nice to have those familiar elements as part of this new beginning.
Other things in their post-diluvian world were much different. Hamburgers were now on the menu! Initially limited to a vegetarian diet, they now had the freedom to eat meat. But T-bone steaks weren’t the only change. God also gave them the responsibility to punish people who injured others. Thus, the roots of the legal system and law enforcement were established. This was unlike their prior experiences.
But to these eight who were perhaps fearful of a repeat performance…another flood…God made a promise. Never again! Never again would He punish all of mankind with a flood. Never again would He destroy the earth with a flood. What a great promise!
Now, don’t interpret that promise as an admission of fault. God had and has every right to punish individuals, nations, and even all of mankind for sin. In fact, not only does He have the right, but He is also obligated to do so. But this promise…rather than being an admission of fault…is an extension of grace. It was a grace promise that was wrapped up and sealed with a bow, a rainbow. You see, God is a God of justice and grace. And He keeps His promises.
I can still remember standing in an Alpine valley in Austria after a summer rain. Looking up at the mountains, Celeste and I saw a double rainbow. A double reminder that our Father is a God of grace who keeps His promises!