Sunday, March 19, 2006

Genesis 6:18; 9:8-11 - A Meditation on Noah's Covenant

We live in a world of broken promises, where commitments are forged, then forgotten – every day. Politicians neglect their campaign promises. Business partners fail to uphold their contracts. Employers renege on assurances to their employees. Workers walk out without a notice. Married couples abandon their vows. 

But when God makes a commitment, does He ever fail to keep His end of the bargain? It is easy to trust Him when all is well, but when tragedies and disappointments come, do you find yourself asking, “Can I really count on God? Are His covenants and promises true – even for me?”

God is a keeper of His word, trustworthy and dependable to fulfill everything He has promised.

Covenants are binding agreements given to God’s people as anchors for the soul.

Genesis 6:18 (21stC KJV): 18"But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you.

Genesis 9:8-11: 8Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, 9"Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. 11"I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth."

What we learn about covenant from the life of Noah:

1- Covenants express what God intends to do. Here, to preserve life.

2- Covenants are instruments of God’s grace. Here, Noah and his family received God’s grace and was saved from death. His descendants still enjoy that promise. We are Noah’s descendants.

3- Covenants invite a faith response. To gladly welcome them, to trust God who makes the promise, to show faith by acting on His word. Noah built the ark as an act of faith and was preserved when the waters rose.

4- Covenants imply God’s sovereignty. Only one who knows and controls the future can make the promise God made to Noah.

5- Covenants foreshadow the person and work of Jesus Christ. Peter shows us that Christ preserves the whole world from death by the flood tide of sin.

1 Peter 3:18-22 (New American Standard Bible)
18For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. 21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you--not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience--through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
Source: Larry Richards, Every Covenant and Promise in the Bible.