Monday, February 16, 2015

Gen. 9:8-17 God's Covenant with Noah



Gen 9:8-13 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, "Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth." 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. 

The word that stands out in Genesis 9:8-17 is “covenant”. It is repeated 7 times in this short passage. It is interesting also that the word “covenant” is first used in OT Scripture for Noah before the flood (Gen. 6:18) and is now reaffirmed after the flood. The word “covenant” is a divine promise, almost a guarantee in this case, that God will no longer destroy everything on earth with a flood. A covenant is not a bilateral contract. It is an one-way offer of God’s grace--it is to be accepted by faith by Noah to receive the fulfillment that is guaranteed by God's faithfulness. In using the rainbow as a sign, God is reminding us that as long as there is rainbow after rain, His promise remains in force, viz., that He will not destroy all flesh on earth with a flood.

The word “covenant” reminds me of God’s faithfulness to his promise. He has made a covenant with Noah. Later on he also made covenants with Abraham, with Israel at Mt Sinai and with David. Now in Christ, we have a “new covenant”—a new promise offered to us by grace and received through faith. It’s a far better covenant—for its promises are not negative (God’s not doing something) but positive (God’s going to do something). The new covenant we have is a promise of greater glory as His children, the promise of being co-rulers in the New Heaven and New Earth. And God has confirmed the new covenant’s promise by offering His Son as a sacrifice for sin and then raising Christ from the dead. And God would fulfill all the promises in the new covenant because He is faithful.

Because God has given me a new covenant that has been confirmed by Jesus’ resurrection and sealed by the gift of His Spirit, I can have great confidence that God will do whatever He says. Even as I co-labour with God in the gospel to further His kingdom, I know that His promise of transformation of individuals and societies will take place as promised through His Word and Spirit.

Lord, thank You for the new covenant which guarantees Your kingdom promises. Grant me Your grace to empower me to remain faithful in doing Your will so I may experience Your covenant promises in and through me. For Christ’s sake, amen.

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