By RANDY WHITE, D.Min.
Founder and CEO
(Read Part 9)
We all learned in vacation Bible school that God has given us a token of His covenant. That token was the rainbow. We will think about that marvelous sign from God in greater depth in an upcoming article.
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
This is the covenant that God made with Noah following the flood. It is true that man will be given some new responsibilities in this section of Scripture (Genesis 8 and 9), as well. But for the most part, we are focusing in on God’s promise here. We notice some very important points right at the beginning.
God tells us that He “will not again curse the ground” (Gen. 8:21). Remember that the flood was really, in a sense, not a supernatural event. It was actually a very natural event.
We might compare what happened at the time of the flood to a dam breaking. That would cause unbelievable damage, but it would not involve a supernatural experience. God did something like that back at the beginning of the flood. Through His curse of the earth, He caused the earth to quit working as it had been since He first created it.
Genesis 7:11 records exactly what happened:
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.
However, after this catastrophe, God also gave man a promise that he could depend on regarding how the earth would work going forward into the future.
Genesis 8:22 gives us the details of this promise. The verse tells us that, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
What would happen if this verse did not govern our experience? It would be a disaster! We would not know when to plant or when to harvest. Yet, I went to our local garden center recently and I saw some tomatoes that listed the exact number of days that it takes for them to ripen under normal conditions. I raised chickens when I was in high school, and I can remember to this day the anticipation of the first egg. I knew precisely when egg week would come. I was not a chicken expert, but because God has set this world on a fixed pattern, I could put egg week for my particular chickens on the calendar. Life is very predictable in this world because of God’s covenant promise.
That is why we can watch weather reports, as well. Our weather is generally tremendously predictable. It is predictable because of the covenant that God made with Noah. He had sent this one-of-a-kind catastrophe in the flood, but there has never again been this kind of a catastrophe. Now the world was going to work, in its order and in its seasons.
God initiated the Noahic Covenant, and He will fulfill its obligations. God has committed Himself to it regardless of what man does. Therefore, it is an unconditional covenant. It does contain some obligations for man to accomplish, but even if man does not obey them, God will still keep His covenant. He states, for all of time:
Neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done (Gen. 8:21)
And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth (Gen. 9:11-16).
We will begin next time by thinking about man’s obligations under this covenant in the new dispensation.
Editor’s Note: This blog article is taken from the following sermon, which you can watch in its entirety here:
(Read Part 11)
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