God's Covenant with Noah
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
Accompanying Bob Deffinbaugh sermon: The Noahic Covenant - A New Beginning
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Life and Death in the New World, and God's Rainbow Covenant
God's purposes has always been to save mankind, and in the beginning of our passage today, He reaffirms that purpose. God also promises to never again destroy all of humanity - until the final judgment.
Deffinbaugh notes: The reason for God’s resolve is based upon the nature of man: “For the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21).
Righteous Noah (6:9) will soon be found naked in a drunken stupor (9:21). No matter how many times the earth’s slate is wiped clean by a flood, the problem will remain if but one man exists. The problem is within man—it is his sinful nature. His predisposition toward sin is not learned, it is innate—he is “evil from his youth.” As a result, a full restoration must begin with a new man. This is what God historically purposed to accomplish.
Then we move into a new beginning for mankind. There are similarities and differences between this account and the creation account.
Both Adam and Noah are commanded to be fruitful and multiply.
Both Adam and Noah are given instructions on what they are to eat.
Though God pronounced the original creation "good", He does not do so after the flood because mankind is innately sinful.
Adam was given the responsibility of ruling over the earth and animal kingdom.
Noah is not given this responsibility, rather God instills the fear of man into the animals.
Though mankind appears to have been vegetarians until the time of the flood, after the flood God gives animals to men to eat - with the restriction of not eating the life blood of the animal.
man must be brought to the realization that, because of his sin, he could only live by the death of another. Man lives by the death of animals.
One of the most important things to draw from this passage is that man must reverence life. The life of man is precious to God and it is His alone to give and take. This covers everything from murder, (including abortion) to suicide.
God now commands that anyone who sheds the life blood of another human must come under capital punishment and be put to death. Perhaps the reason God did not execute this judgment on Cain and Lamech and all the others that had gone before, was to demonstrate the consequences of what would happen if we allowed the murderer to go free. This is the first instance of man acting as government - an agent of God required to execute the murderer to reflect the moral purity of the creator and to punish the evildoer and reward those who do good.
The command concerning capital punishment is, I believe, the cornerstone of any society of sinful men. The animal kingdom is to be controlled, to a great extent, by means of their fear of man (9:2). Man’s sinful tendencies, also, are kept in check by his fear of the consequences. Any society which loses its reverence for life cannot endure long. For this reason, God instituted capital punishment as a gracious restraint upon man’s sinful tendency toward violence. Because of this, mankind can live in relative peace and security until God’s Messiah has dealt the death blow to sin.
This brings us to the Noahic covenant.
The Noahic covenant was initiated and dictated by God. There was no discussion between Noah and God - God decided on the covenant and informed Noah of the terms.
The covenant was made to Noah as well as all future generations, including ourselves today, and it will remain in effect until the Second Coming.
This is a universal covenant - God will never destroy the entirety of the animal kingdom or the entirety of mankind again, until the Second Coming.
The covenant is unconditional. We are not required to do anything in order for this covenant to remain in effect. God would give regularity of seasons and would not destroy the earth by a flood simply because He said so.
This covenant was God’s promise never again to destroy the earth by a flood....God will destroy the earth by fire (II Peter 3:10), but only after salvation has been purchased by the Messiah and the elect are removed, even as Noah was protected from the wrath of God.
The sign of the Noahic covenant is the rainbow.
Every covenant has its accompanying sign. The sign of the Abrahamic Covenant is circumcision (Genesis 17:15-27); that of the Mosaic Covenant is the observance of the Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11; 31:12-17).
The “sign” of the rainbow is appropriate. It consists of the reflection of the rays of the sun in the particles of moisture in the clouds. The water which destroyed the earth causes the rainbow. Also, the rainbow appears at the end of a storm. So this sign assures man that the storm of God’s wrath (in a flood) is over.
Most interesting is the fact that the rainbow is not designed so much for man’s benefit (in this text, at least) but for God’s. God said that the rainbow would cause Him to remember His covenant with man. What a comfort to know that God’s faithfulness is our guarantee.
MacArthur also noted that Noah would definitely need reassurance from God that not every rainfall would result in a world wide flood. Noah had likely not ever experienced rain before the flood, and therefore it would be logical for him to think that a flood was reoccurring the next time it rained! How gracious of God to reassure Noah that rains and storms would be a new normal in this "new" earth, but that it would not bring world wide devastation.
MacArthur also 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 rainbow truly is a symbol of grace.
Monday's scripture focus: Genesis 9:18-29
Sunday's passage: 2 Kings 15-16
Monday's passage: 2 Kings 17-18, Psalm 119:1-8, Romans 2