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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

June 17, 2015

Genesis 9:1-17

  1. Verse 1. This verse is a renewal of God’s first blessing and commission to Adam (Gen. 1:28). Like Adam, Noah and his sons were blessed and commanded to reproduce and fill the earth. The word “blessed” is the key word in Genesis. It is a reminder that the God of the Bible has always been a God that blesses His people (cf. Jas 1:17). This verse encourages Noah and his family to be fruitful. The world’s population needed them to be very fruitful. God didn’t destroy the earth to leave it empty. His purpose was to repopulate it. This is a spiritual lesson as well. When God takes something away that isn’t good, his purpose is always to replace it with something good. God takes out the sin in our lives to replace it with his ways.

  2. Verses 2-4. Why did God put this fear and terror of man in all creatures? For two reasons: (1) For the protection of animals who will no longer be at peace with man, and (2) for the protection of man who will no longer be at peace with animals. Moses writes that God gave the animals into Noah’s hands (Jer 27:5). This means humans have been given authority over animals. The Lord then informs Noah and his sons that meat is to now be a normal part of the human diet. The only restriction is that they must not eat meat with the blood in it. Humans are not to devour animals the way animals devour one another, while the blood is pulsating in the flesh. The reason for this is respect for life and the giver of life. In Leviticus 17:11, Moses teaches that life is in the blood and God is the giver of life. Disregard for the gift of life is an insult to God the giver of life.

  3. Verse 5-7. God will demand an accounting of any animal that sheds man’s blood (see Exodus 21:28). So valuable is human life that a compensation of life will even be exacted from animals. The last phrase of 9:5 is a bit confusing. The literal translation is “from the hand of a man, his brother.” The point is that God will require the blood of someone who kills, since the person killed is a relative (“brother”) of the killer. The language reflects Noah’s situation (after the flood everyone would be part of Noah’s extended family), but also supports the concept of the brotherhood of mankind. We are all brothers and sisters. The world would want you to think we are not all related and separate us, but we are all related. According to this scripture all Humans are related with no exceptions. God’s plan to repopulate the earth had no room for the destruction of life. God demands severe punishment for those who would take life. The Lord closes this section in 9:7 with a strong contrast by reiterating what he said in 9:1: “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” Against the backdrop of the warnings about taking life, God now again reminds His people to produce life. Our goal is to produce life not destroy it. All human life is sacred because all human life is in the image of God. Our job is not to destroy that image, but celebrate it. Murder, abortion, wars and genocide are an insult to God.

  4. Verse 8-17. The word “covenant” used here is an important word in the Bible. There are different covenants which God made with people. But the idea is always the same. A covenant is a pledge. God pledges to do certain things in a defined relationship of responsibility toward certain people. Note the following aspects of God’s covenant with Noah:

    1. 1. It was unilateral and universal (9:9-11). The recurrence of “I,” “Myself,” and “My” demonstrates the unconditional nature of this covenant. God Himself will ensure that this covenant is carried out. It is not dependent upon man’s Work or faithfulness. This is how God typically works. There is nothing man can do to earn His favor. God took the sole initiative. Noah didn’t think this up. He didn’t negotiate with God. God originated this covenant and announced its terms to Noah. All of God’s covenants are that way. He is sovereign. He determines what He will do in accordance with the counsel of His own Will. We cannot come to God and try to bargain. God’s covenants with man are that way. He fixes the terms and announces what they will be. It even included the animals! God’s blessings of protection from the judgment of a universal flood extended to every living thing. While there have been local floods that have killed many people and animals, there has never been a flood of such proportions as the one in Noah’s day.

    2. It was eternal (9:12, 16). God knows His plan from the beginning and carries it out exactly as He promises. While men may disobey and seemingly thwart God’s purposes, His promises will be fulfilled. The Lord promises never again to destroy the world by a flood. This does not mean that God will never again judge the ungodly and destroy the earth. We would err seriously to think that! But it will remain in effect until the Lord returns (2 Pet. 3:4-7, 10). Every person who has ever lived has had the opportunity to observe God’s mercy through the creation, even in God’s care for the animals. As Paul writes, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

    3. It was unconditional. God does not say that the promise will be revoked if men reach the same levels of sin as they did before. The covenant with Noah was not dependent on Noah’s or anyone else’s obedience. It depended solely on God’s word to Noah. God’s covenant with Noah reveals His abundant grace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor toward those who deserve His judgment.

    4. It was confirmed by a sign (9:12-17). Some think the rainbow first appears here; others think that God is giving new significance to something Noah already knew about. If there had been a cloud canopy over the earth before the flood, and it had not rained, but rather the earth had been watered by a mist coming up from the ground (Gen. 2:5 -6), then it’s reasonable to think that now, with the climatic changes after the flood, a rainbow appeared for the first time. God’s sign of the rainbow was both gracious and appropriate. God put the sign in the clouds, where Noah and his family would have looked with fear when the storms came. The same water which destroyed the earth now causes the rainbow. Arising, as it does, from the conjunction of the sun and the storm, it points to God’s mercy breaking through even in His judgment. Coming at the end of the storm, it shows that the storm of God’s wrath is past. Just as there is nothing quite as beautiful and breathtaking as a rainbow, so there is nothing as glorious and beautiful as the many splendored grace of God (1 Pet. 4:10). Just as a rainbow allows us to see the various facets of pure light, so God’s grace enables us to see Him who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see (1 Tim. 6:16). Even if man forgets the meaning of the rainbow, God says that He will look at it and remember His covenant (Gen. 9:16). God also attaches significance to the rainbow. The Hebrew word for rainbow (qeset) is also the word for a battle bow. The point seems to be that the bow is now “put away,” hung in place by the clouds, suggesting that the “battle,” the storm, is over. Thus the rainbow speaks of peace. As a result, whenever clouds appear over the earth and a rainbow appears, God will “remember” His covenant with man. God said that the rainbow would cause Him to remember His unconditional covenant with man.

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