Noah did a strange thing.
At least it would seem very strange to us today.
The ark was safely on dry ground again. A few minutes before, it was filled with growling, barking, honking, purring animals. Now the door was wide open and the giant boat sat on a mountain top, all empty and quiet.
All the animals had rushed out the door to fill the earth again.
So what was Noah doing?
He was picking up rocks.
He was so thankful to be alive, he was going to build an altar to God. So Noah piled up the rocks to build a fire on them. Then he took the best of some special animals he had kept aside, killed them, and burned them on the altar. This was a sacrifice Noah offered to God to thank him for saving his life.
It might seem like a strange thing to do.
It couldn’t have been an easy thing to do either. But that’s what people did in those long ago days. That way they would know that dealing with God is a very serious thing.
God was pleased with Noah's sacrifice. But most of all, God was pleased that Noah was truly thankful.
And so God made this promise to Noah,
I make this covenant with you and with all creatures.
From this day on,
there will always come a time for planting,
and a time for gathering up what was planted.
Day will always follow night,
the warm days of summer
will always follow
the cold and snow of winter,
as long as the earth shall be."
God knew that there is something inside each of us that tries to keep us from doing what is right. That is what causes all the trouble in the world.
God also knew that one day he would send his Son to save us from that. God saved Noah and his family to show us that he has the power to save us all, and one day bring us to a new life with him in heaven.
So God blessed Noah and his family. He told them to have many children and fill the earth with people again. He gave them the plants and the animals for food. And he made people the boss of everything on earth (Think of it this way. You might have a pet dog or a cat. There aren’t any dogs who have pet people!).
And then God said to Noah, "Look up in the sky."
Noah looked up. The storm clouds were drifting away, the bright sun was shining against Noah's back. And against the dark grey sky, God made a brilliant rainbow appear. God said to Noah,
“You see, I have set my rainbow in the sky. This will be the sign of the covenant I have made with you and all creatures, never again to destroy the earth by a flood. It will always remind us of the promise between you and me.”
So, the next time you see a rainbow, think of Noah and the flood. Remember that God loves you, and that no matter how bad the storm, there will always come a bright new day.
That is God's promise, and God always keeps his promises.