Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Flood and the Noahic Covenant (Gen.6-9).

God had created the world as a beautiful environment for mankind to dwell with God. God created Adam and Eve, in His own image, to do ‘God’s will’ on the earth. As His royal representative they were to ‘fill the earth with God’s images’ and extend God’s reign throughout the earth. But, they rejected God’s purpose and because they aligned themselves with Satan they were ejected from the ‘Garden of Eden’. God promised that he would put ‘enmity’ towards Satan in the hearts of the ‘seed of the woman’ and that a man would come who would ultimately ‘crush the serpent’ (Gen.3:15). The clash between the ‘seed of the woman’ and the ‘seed of the serpent’ which characterizes all of scripture is illustrated when Cain killed his brother Abel (Gen. 4). After this the history of mankind during the ‘primeval history (Gen.1-11)’ is one of widespread sinfulness leading to God’s judgment by a worldwide flood. All mankind was found to be ‘depraved (6:5)’ and the earth was ‘full of violence (6:13)’but Noah found ‘favor in the eyes of the Lord (6:8)’ and his family was preserved. Now listen to or watch the story of Noah being told and then read the comments below.
Adam and Eve were given Seth to replace righteous Abel whom Cain killed.Seth’s line sought to do God’s will while those related to Cain sought to build cities and cultures independent of God.  We are told that the thoughts of man were only evil all the time and that the world was full of violence. This so grieved and pained God that He determined to wipe all life from the earth but that Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Gen.6:5-7, 8, 11).

The world continued in hardened unbelief but God chose to bestow His grace on Noah. Noah found favor with God not because Noah was righteous. The phrase ‘these are the generations of’ introduces each new section of Genesis and prevents us from thinking that Noah earned God’s favor by being righteous (2:4; 5:1; 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19; 36:1, 9; 37:2). Noah was righteous because Noah found ‘unmerited’ favor’ (6:8-9). Grace is grace and it is not earned or deserved. Notice how desperately Noah fell short of God’s glory even after God had delivered and made a covenant with Noah (9:20-21, Rom.3:23).

God gave grace to Noah and that grace extended to his whole family. Again and again God indicates to Noah His commitment to bring Noah and his entire house into the ark of salvation (6:18; 7:1, 7, 13, 23; 8:16, 18; 9:9, 12). God found Noah righteous in that generation (Gen. 7:1 ‘you’ singular refers to Noah) and as a result Noah’s whole family was spared from the flood. Noah, as the head of his household, and his whole family were allowed to go into the ark and were included in God’s covenant (Heb.11:7, Eph.2:8-9, Gen.9:9).

After the flood Noah offered a sacrifice to God. God was pleased and promised to put no further curse on the earth even though man’s corruption remained unaltered (8:20-21). Then the responsibilities given to Adam to multiply God’s images on the earth were given directly to Noah (1:26, 9:1, 7). God established His covenant with Noah promising not to destroy all life on the earth by a flood. God also promised to maintain a stable environment for man to do ‘God’s will’ on the earth (8:22, 9:11). Moreover, God promised to preserve the human race through Noah in order to ‘redeem the world’. God did this so that God’s redeemed images could spread God’s Kingdom reign over all the earth as God intended originally with Adam.

The sign of the rainbow emphasizes the gracious character of God’s covenant with Noah. The storm clouds depicted God’s just judgment (Isa 19:1; Rev. 1:7) while the colorful rainbow is a sign of God’s gracious presence. In the Book of Revelation the throne of God is depicted as having a rainbow around it (Rev.4:3). The flood waters meant destruction for depraved humanity (‘seed of Satan’) but God’s covenant with Noah meant life for Noah and his family who were graciously spared. The flood left man essentially unchanged for only a God-initiated ‘enmity’ toward evil in the heart can transform man. Yet, God promised in his covenant with Noah to preserve mankind and the world for the purpose redemption (3:15, 8:21, 9:1, 11).

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