And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:12-13 ESV
When a believer speaks of asking God for a sign, there can be misgivings because it is generally believed that asking for signs is unpleasing to God. This occurrence in Noah’s story is another confirmation that God is a sign-giving God. Almost every Biblical covenant has been confirmed by some visual symbol. The Abrahamic covenant included circumcision. The Mosaic covenant had the Sabbath. And, the new covenant had the Lord’s Supper. God made a covenant with Noah and set a rainbow in the clouds as a sign.
“But wait!” you might say. “What about Jesus words in Matthew where he says that only evil and adulterous generations seek for a sign. He called them wicked and perverse.” Jesus was referring to a people characterized by rebellion and unbelief. Jesus was the sign, yet they rejected Him. In their denial of Him, they asked for another sign. This was an insult to God, the One who generously shared His Son with humanity.
If I love Christ and walk obediently in His ways, I will encounter times when I’ve prayed about a critical decision but am simply unsure which way to go. In that instance, I might ask for a sign, or a series of signposts, where God shows me that I’m on the right or wrong path. Many times, He is very eager to give markers. He wants me to get it right. He applauds my obedience and celebrates that I care about making a righteous decision. We are sheep who need a shepherd.
Signs are wonderful things, bringing exhilaration and relief. Sometimes though, they are absent, and God is silent. This is an opportunity for me to use the wisdom I’ve learned, to process it, seek counsel, and then make the best decision that sits well in my spirit. Even in this situation, God is sovereign. The decisions I make where the light is obscured are still in plain sight of a Father who promises guidance. The indwelling Spirit of God shapes thoughts and conversations. He is a God of subtlety as well as a God who gives rainbows.
You took Moses by the hand and gave him, and Your children, signs along their journey. Thank you for eagerly leading me as You led our spiritual fathers. Amen