I love the symbol of the rainbow and its biblical meaning.
Answers in Genesis says:
God declares those redeemed who have trusted in Christ. They are clothed in the righteousness of His Son. For the redeemed, the wrath of God toward sin was satisfied on the Cross—paid in full by the shed blood of His sinless Son.
And as John Gill puts it, “though it is a bow, yet without arrows, and is not turned downwards towards the earth, but upwards towards heaven, and so is a token of mercy and kindness, and not of wrath and anger.”
John MacArthur noted that when v16 refers to the bow in the clouds, this was also likely referring to God putting away His bow of vengeance...
The word "bow" here is not rainbow, it's bow, qesheth in Hebrew. It's the same word for a battle bow, a weapon of death and destruction. In Near Eastern literature there are often deities depicted with a bow, wielding destruction. And the Old Testament pictures God like that. Exodus 15:3says, "The Lord is a warrior." Habakkuk 3:9, "His bow is made bare." Zachariah 9:14, "His arrows are lightning." God is depicted as a warrior with a bow. In the Flood, God the Warrior shot His lightning arrows, pierced the earth, the earth broke open, exploded and then the sky fell, and certainly with it arrows of lightning and destruction. He bent His bow in wrath. But from now on, follow this, God has hung up His bow and He hung it in the sky where everybody can see it. Next time you see a rainbow, that's God's bow. He hung it up because this is not the time of judgment, this is the time of peace. So God hung His bow as a sign of His mercy toward a world of sinners. Every sinner on the planet that sees the bow sees a sign of peace. God has hung up His bow. This is a token of His promise, never to destroy the world again as He did until the very end of human history when the whole universe will be destroyed by fire, as 2 Peter 3 describes it.
There will come a day when the universe will be destroyed and replaced by a new heaven and a new earth where there will be only the righteous and eternal peace and holiness. In the future, God will pick up His bow again. But for now, the bow is the sign of mercy, it's the sign of grace, it's the sign of peace. The great God who is a warrior has hung up His bow.
The rainbow truly is a symbol of grace.
Can you imagine how strange and frightening it would have been to suddenly speak a completely different language than those around you? Likely God had family units speak the same language, and as each language group segregated themselves from the other language groups, and as they married within their group, their gene pool would have formed dominant genes - which resulted in the different racial groups we see today.
What saddens me is how quickly this happened. They estimate that this happened only around 100 years after the flood. Noah's family was still alive at this time. People who lived on the ark and witnessed God's judgment were still around, giving first hand testimony to the consequences of rebellion against God, and still mankind chose to reject Him.
But man's ideas can never thwart the purposes of God. The people didn't want to scatter across the earth, but God made it happen anyway. When we live our lives in resistance to God's plan, we will only encounter frustration and failure. God's plan will prevail no matter what - we get to choose if we are blessed as we go along with God's plan, or if we are frustrated as we vainly struggle against it.