GENESIS 9 = COVENANT WITH NOAH AND ALL!
Bible Background: The flood is God’s anguished response to the whole human race choosing every kind of evil, breaking God’s heart. The covenant with Noah and every living creature is a promise that God will set aside God’s anger and limit God’s own use of power and deal with humans in a new way.
Digging Deeper: 1. “Noah and the Ark” makes for wonderful children’s stories and art. But the “Story of the Flood” is terrifying! God-who made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them-really goes out to destroy every living thing except for those persons and animals on the ark? We should note that it is the wrath of a heart-broken Creator, up against the unlimited sinfulness and waywardness of humans!
2. God does indeed save Noah and his family to “start over”. (Language of this reading unfortunately does not mention Noah’s wife and daughters-in-law, who are very essential persons in this process!)
3. “Covenant” is pretty equal to “promise”. The covenant God makes with Noah is for his descendants, and for every living creature on the earth! That last part is named 4 x’s in one paragraph! How wide-reaching is that? And how important is that? Can we say that we, individually, or together-are committed to the well-being of every person AND every living creature? What would it take to respect, cherish, and protect every person and every creature? What would have to be different in our lifestyle? Our government? Our business practices? Our use of creation?
4. The rainbow is one of nature’s most beautiful images, right? What is it though in the Genesis 9 story? Who is it for? It is God, hanging up/giving up his weapon-his bow, and promising never to use a worldwide flood against the earth again! It’s also described as a reminder for God, as in “When I see the bow in the clouds I will remember my promise”! (Of course, it can also be a beautiful reminder for us of God’s mercy and faithfulness!)
5. A sad reality of the Flood Story is that the flood doesn’t exactly change human beings….they’ll quickly turn to sin and evil again. But the Flood does change God! God will no longer use God’s overwhelming power to smack human beings into line! God will love, will forgive, will renew, will restore. (It remains to be seen what human beings will commit to do in return!)