Better Than A Silver Lining

Title: Better Than A Silver Lining

Bible Book: Genesis 9 : 12-17

Author: J. Mike Minnix

Subject: Noah; Mercy; Promise of God



Today we are going to look at the rainbow God revealed as a covenant sign for the people of the earth. A young man emailed his sweetheart saying, “Without you, everything is dark and dreary, the clouds gather and the wind beats the rain, then comes the warm sun, you are like the rainbow." The girl emailed back, “Is this a proposal or a weather report?”

God gave gave Noah a weather report and a proposal. The direction from God saved Noah and his family from a great and awful judgment. It was a proposal that Noah accepted and the rainbow was a covenant sign of God's love and mercy following the great flood.

The poet has said, “Into every life a little rain must fall.” Indeed, if by the rain we speak of sorrows and suffering, it may well seem at times that there is more than a little rain that falls upon our lives. Occasionally, we feel that the bottom of the clouds has dropped the entire supply of rain on our heads.

A student at college asked his teacher, “Were you out there in ALL that rain professor?” The professor, being rather precise in his use of words, answered, “No, I was merely in the portion of the rain that descended in my immediate vicinity.”

But, at times, it may seem that the entire clouds of trouble have opened directly over our heads and that ALL the rain is falling upon us.

Someone, trying to make all our troubles seem a little easier to bear has said, “Every cloud has its silver lining.” That adage or maxim posits that all problems contain blessings, though that is not actually true. Those who face their sorrows without a Savior will live to see that every dark cloud does not contain a silver lining. The Scripture states the principle of blessings out of difficulties correctly in Romans 8:28, “For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.”

There is something much better than a silver lining to the clouds that hang heavily over our lives. When clouds are accompanied by a love for God and a position in His purpose and will, good things can come from the downpour of trouble. For the child of God, clouds are just as thick and just as frequent as they are for those who are outside the faith. The difference lies in the final results which the clouds produce.

Noah was not kept from the clouds, but he was given a way through them. The storm broke over his head as it did over all the others on the earth, but he had a place of refuge and was delivered out of the storm safely and happily.

I want to speak today about something better than the silver lining; I want to share with you concerning the rainbow of God seen in the midst of the clouds. After the great deluge which brought death and destruction on the earth, Noah and his family departed from the Ark to see an amazing sight. There in the heavens was a bow of brilliant colors which seemed to stand like a grand artistic arch from one side of the horizon to the other. God spoke to Noah with the words in our text. Look with me at Genesis 9:12-17,

“12 And God said: ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; 15 and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’ 17 And God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.’ NKJV

God made a promise to Noah - a promise which was in essence a Covenant. Never again would God destroy the world by water. Never again would He cover the earth with water and leave no place for man to stand. I see in this promise several things I want to share with you today.

I. See the Mercy of God

Let us be perfectly clear on the issue that Noah did not deserve to survive the flood. He came through in the Ark of safety which God had instructed to be built. Without the Word of God, Noah would have never been able to find a way of escape for himself or his family. Without God's instructions, Noah had no way to know of the approaching judgment. Noah received God's Word and accepted God's mercy. Mankind has no means of discovering an escape from our sins outside the Word of God. Every religion is not alike and all roads don't lead to heaven. The "pie-in-the-sky" thinking which man concocts is delusional and deadly.

Let me suggest some storms which we cannot escape without God’s mercy.

A. The Storm of our own Deeds

If we are judged for our works, our deeds, we shall surely perish. The Bible clearly states, “There is none righteous, no not one!” None of us can claim a right to the blessings of God through our own efforts. We cannot stand sinless before the holy God of heaven. Mercy, mercy, mercy, is the theme of the redeemed and forgiven.

Jesus told the story of two men who went up to the Temple to pray. One bragged of his works but the other bowed down and would not so much as look upward toward heaven because of the awareness of his sin. The latter man cried out, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”

Jesus tells us that the confessing sinner went home justified because of his confession and repentance. The clouds of judgment were hanging over him ready to break forth with wrath and destruction, but he cried for mercy and found a rainbow of promise from God. There is mercy for those who turn to God for forgiveness and receive His grace by faith.

Listen to what Isaiah had to say in Isaiah 59:1-2, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.”

What separates us from the mercy of God? Our sins, our deeds, our ways! But God is merciful. The rainbow was a sign to Noah of the wonderful, beautiful mercy of God. The Lord did not have to make such a promise. Noah did not have the foresight to ask for such a promise. The promise came from God, who is full of love and mercy. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Great mercy! Praise, indeed, praise!

Mercy is our need,

Mercy for each deed,

For Mercy let us plead,

Since for Mercy our Lord did bleed!

B. The Storm of the Devil

Storms and rain come into our lives because of the devil. Job came to know this all too well. Satan came viciously and brought great hardship on Job’s life and caused the loss of his home, his children, his business, and his health. Even Job's his wife told Job to "curse God and die.”

But Job lived to see the rainbow of God’s mercy. He saw the Lord not only restore to him a family and great wealth, but he met with God in conversation. He was instructed in the true nature of God. He came to see that faith not only affects this life but the life to come. He was so moved in faith that he stated factually his faith in the fact that he would one day see God in the flesh, even after his body had been eaten by worms.

Paul talked about a thorn in the flesh which the devil had sent to buffet or attack him. He even prayed for the thorn to be removed, but God told Paul that he had grace for him that was sufficient for the thorn. Paul saw God’s rainbow - it was a rainbow of grace promising Paul that he would not go through the storm which the devil had placed over his head without grace necessary to make it through. Even further, Paul tells us that the thorn proved to have a positive purpose in Paul's life.

C. The Storm of Divine Providence

Look at Joseph. He was sold by his brethren, falsely accused of a terrible crime of sexual assault, imprisoned and bound over for death. What a storm! But it was all in the plan of God. Later he was raised to Prime Minister of Egypt. He had a chance to tell his brothers, “You meant what you did to me for harm, but God meant it for good.”

Joseph had seen the rainbow of God’s mercy after he escaped the storm of hardship placed upon him.

Daniel escaped the Lion’s Den.

Peter escaped the sentence of death in prison.

Others escaped in the divine providence of the will of God. These were being led in God's providence. Their circumstances were not the results of their personal sins, but they were part of God's will to bring about His purpose in their lives and in the lives of others.

Sometimes we cause the storms to break over our heads through our own deeds, but at other times the rain drops come because of the devil. Sometimes they are actually from the hand of God, Himself. But when we turn to Him in faith, a rainbow of mercy is placed above us and before us. God promises never to leave His children and never to forsake them.

The Rainbow of Noah’s day was a specific Covenant, but it is a symbol of the awesome mercy of Almighty God toward those who love and trust Him through every circumstance in life.

II. See the Message of God

The rainbow is a reminder of the importance of God’s message of grace and love. Note how important this message is, so important that God flashed in across the sky in the form of a rainbow.

We live in a day when some people say that religion should be a private matter. Let me ask you something, did God make the rainbow a private matter? When did He ever suggest that you should be silent about your faith? More importantly, when did He ever choose to whisper His love to the world?

He led the Hebrew Children by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. The symbol of His loving leadership was loud and clear for all to see.

When He sent His Son, He had angels singing and a star so bright that the Magi could follow it over hundreds of miles. So much for your silent Christian.

He told His disciples that they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the uttermost part of the earth. Don’t let this world intimidate you with the silent religion bit. The inhabited must never be inhibited from telling forth openly the love of Jesus!

God did not put the rainbow in a closet but in the sky for all of us to see. Jesus said that no one lights a candle and then puts it under a bushel basket. Go tell it on the mountain! We must not be silent about God’s love and mercy.

A. The Message is Universal

The rainbow can be seen by all. It is symbolic of the universal offer of salvation available today to all who will believe. God’s message must be written plain and clear to the world, for this message is one from God to all. Listen to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” When Jesus spoke these words to Nicodemus, it was no doubt startling to the religious leader. Nicodemus and his co-horts felt that God's love was only for the Jews, and specifically only for those Jews that followed every letter of the Law. Jesus told Nicodemus that God loved the WORLD! He came to save people from every nation, tribe, language and people. God's message is a universal one in the sense that it is not restricted to one people-group, one nation or one race. "Whosoever," is a beautiful word from the mouth of God.

B. The Message is Personal

Even though the message is universal, it must become personal. You must hear it individually and come to Christ personally. Your family religion will not suffice. You must have a personal faith in Jesus Christ. The passage states that whosoever believes can have eternal life, but "whosoever” is an individual person who must make a personal decision to trust Jesus for salvation.

God knows you and God loves you. His Son died for YOU! Jesus called people by name. And, He knows your name today. Oh, wonder of wonders, that the God of the Universe cares about you and about me so deeply that He wants our NAMES in the Lamb’s Book of Life. You are not a number to God. God knows your name and cares about you. He calls you personally. You are more than a carbon life form and more than the composite worth of the chemicals that make up your body. You have a soul and that soul will live forever somewhere when this life is over. There is a "you" inside of "you," and to be saved "you" must give that "you" inside of "you" to the Lord through repentance for sin and faith in the Savior who died at Calvary!

III. See the Memory of God

God does not forget His own. Note that He did not say that we would see the rainbow and remember, but that He would see the rainbow and remember. The rainbow had its purpose for Noah, and it has a purpose for us. But it is more important to know that the remembrance of the rainbow is in the heart of God.

How symbolic this is of the promises of God. He will never forget His promises. No doubt you have had people make promises to you and then promptly forget them. Perhaps you have done the same thing to others as you made promises that you did not remember, but God never forgets His promises to those who trust Him.

We see this in a beautiful way when we look at Revelation 4:1-3, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.”

We never see the end of the rainbow till we see Revelation 4:3. The rainbow is a circle, a circle of unending love. There is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but there is a gold street running through the middle of a giant rainbow circle in glory.

Hallelujah! What a Savior we have. He has provided for us a way to escape. He loves us and He publishes it with great fanfare. He calls us to Him in love and mercy. When we come to Him, He saves us, He keeps us, He remembers us, He provides a place for us in heaven, and puts a rainbow of love around us in the Heavenly City. No wonder in Revelation 5 we see the saints singing, “Worthy is the Lamb, Worthy is the Lamb, Worthy is the Lamb!”


Someone has said that if you could convince a man there was no hope, he would curse the day he was born. Hope is an indispensable quality of life. Years ago an S-4 submarine was rammed by another ship and quickly sank. The entire crew was trapped in its prison house of death. Ships rushed to the scene of disaster off the coast of Massachusetts. We don’t know what took place down in the sunken submarine, but we can be sure that the men clung bravely to life as the oxygen slowly gave out. A diver placed his ear to the side of the vessel and listened. He heard a tapping noise. Someone, he realized, was tapping out a question in the dots and dashes using Morse Code. The question came slowly: “Is... there... any... hope?” This seems to be the cry of humanity: “Is there any hope?” Hope, indeed, is the basis of all human existence in Christ!

While attending college, a man visited a psychiatric institution with a group of students to observe various types of mental illness. The experience proved to be very disturbing. There was a man there called, “No Hope Carter.” His was a tragic case. A victim of venereal disease, he was going through the final stages when the brain is affected. Before he began to lose his mind, this man was told by the doctors that there was no known cure for him. He begged for one ray of light in his darkness, but had been told that the disease would run its inevitable course and end in death. Gradually his brain deteriorated and he became more and more despondent. “When I saw him in his small, barred room about two weeks before he died, he was pacing up and down in mental agony. His eyes stared blankly, and his face was drawn and ashen. Over and over he muttered these two forlorn and fateful words: ‘No hope! No hope!’ He said nothing else.” (from Our Daily Bread)

I don’t know what you are going through, but I know that if you will trust God, you will GO THROUGH IT to the other side.

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