Under God’s Rainbow
Like a wander through an art-gallery in air-conditioned comfort I studied many paintings as I passed them by on a commuter train bound for downtown Brisbane. The morning sun illumined the many colourful displays. Unable to decipher what most of them meant I took the railway graffiti to be a public exhibition of Post Modernism – I took each piece to mean whatever I wanted it to mean! Not to be outdone, from time to time Queensland Rail paints over the rainbow-coloured walls with an environmentally-friendly green, thus offering a clean slate to the ubiquitous but invisible spray-canners.
Is art still art when the viewer doesn’t understand the message depicted? If art is not in the eye of the beholder then I declare what I saw from the train window to be an eyesore! I much prefer a clean green canvass to those glorified tags of all the railway ‘anonymouses.’ This being said, even the under-the-cover-of-darkness graffitier shows forth something of the Master Artist.
Someone had inscribed the following words on an ancient Greek altar: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Like today’s Post Modernists, the ancient Greeks had been making God into whatever they wanted Him to be. So some wise Greek thought they should build a monument to the God no one was thinking about. The Apostle Paul used its inscription to introduce the living and true God to them, saying, ‘The One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.’ Acts 17:23b-25.
With their hands men make temples, trains, and railside paintings, but it is God who made men. Air-conditioned railway coaches are a wonderful design, but God designed living, breathing human beings. To be sure, and as expressed to a certain extent by those who deface public and private property, all men are fallen. However, though now distorted, man is the image of God. Therefore we can wander through His ‘art gallery’ looking at the heavens and earth and all that’s in them glorifying their Creator or, Post Modernistically, we can take everything in creation to mean whatever we want it to mean.
The Bible, if you will, is the inscription on God’s creation. This inscription doesn’t say ‘Anonymous,’ nor ‘THE UNKNOWN GOD.’ Rather it says, e.g., ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.’ Psalm 19:1. God paints a new sunset on His sky canvass every evening. Every day He paints rural scenes, desert scenes, stormy ocean scenes, still life, animated life, galloping horses, butterflies, flowers, bushes, trees, and He paints you and me into scenes.
Our labour and our worship all take place under His rainbow, for He especially delights in painting rainbows. There is no need to guess what His rainbow means. Like His Word, His rainbow is not open to private interpretation (2 Pet. 2:20). For every rainbow bears the following inscription: ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ Genesis 9:17. Thus life on earth has continued until this very day because of God’s everlasting covenant.
The rainbow is the sign of hope to all who dwell under it. It reflects the very throne of God, for, as St John says, ‘Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on that throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.’ Revelation 4:3. If the emerald here refers to the rainbow then all the other colours of this particular rainbow have been painted over with green! Says Herman Hoeksema, ‘The emerald is green. It is the symbol of nature budding forth and renewing itself in the time of spring, the symbol also of the new creation, and therefore the symbol of hope with respect to the coming of the day of the Lord.’
As you wander through life looking at the things God has made have you understood His rainbow? It’s God’s promise that life on earth will continue. Be part of that new life, for the promise is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.’ John 3:16.