Summary: an exposition of Genesis 8:20-9:17
Islington Baptist Church April 1, 2001
Text: Genesis 8:20-9:17
In the last month we have been exploring Genesis 6-9 which details the account of Noah. At times we have focused on the climactic event of Noah’s time: the flood. We have also considered the person of Noah set before us.
In regards to Noah the man we have learned this: He was an exemplary man of faith, righteousness and purity. Noah was a man who walked with God and who hastened to be obedient to God in all things commanded of Him. Noah was a man who went against the flow-- it mattered not that all else did evil and no doubt wished him to join in with them—he went against the flow and did what was right in the sight of God. Noah also stands as an example of the blessings that come to the one who pleases God.
The last time we were together, Noah was at the altar. The first thing Noah did upon his leaving of the Ark was to build an altar to the Lord and sacrifice to the Lord. Noah’s building of the altar was all about his seeking of the face of God. Noah’s building of that altar reflects a heart that yearned and beat for God. Noah’s building of the altar reflects an orientation of his heart that said “In this world you have given to me, You God are #1 to me, I am in complete dependence upon you”
Noah’s offering and right heart really pleased God. In response to Noah’s offerings, Genesis 8:21 records a stunning resolution on God’s part: The resolution to never again curse the ground because of man and destroy all living creatures in the same manner as he had just done. Incredibly, and our text emphasizes this, God made this resolution even though every inclination of every persons heart is evil from childhood.
Today we are going to begin an in depth examination of 8:20-9:17. READ TEXT
I know that almost all of you own a camera. In using a camera there are a variety of different shots one can take (ranging from wide angle panoramic shots to close ups that zoom right in).
I. One of the things I would like to draw to your attention is this: the big picture of this passage:
Firstly: everything in today’s text happens at the altar and as a result of Noah seeking the face and favor of God.
Secondly: this passage is all about blessing: the blessing that comes first to Noah and his family and all the animals and then by extension to all of us.
The blessings detailed in this text come firstly according to the abundant and overflowing grace of God. One of the things we must note is how much out of whack the blessing of God is as compared to what Noah did: built an altar to the Lord. What’s the point: God’s grace is amazing, God’s blessings are huge.
The blessings come to us in response to Noah’s seeking of the face and favor of God, gloriously illustrating how God blesses those who find favor with Him.
1. Continuing ability to have children
2. Provision of food: the animals
3. Protection: a law with a penalty that protects the sanctity of life
4. An unconditional covenant instituted by God that guarantees to this day that God will not ever again destroy our world by means of a world wide flood.
II. That’s the big picture, now we need to zoom in a little bit and consider the details of our text.
1. One of the details of the text that must be noted is this: the texts structure.
As noted: 8:20-9:17 is a complete unit of thought. Within this portion there is a rather fascinating structure. For example 8:20-22 and 9:8-17 have a central thought that sandwiches the text as a whole. I say this because in 8:21 the text records God resolving to never again curse the ground as He has just done. It is not until we get to 9:8-17 that God’s declared resolution gets expressed in concrete terms –the covenant with the accompanying rainbow.
As 8:20-22 and 9:8-17 sandwich the text as a whole, 9:1-7 serves as the meat of the text. The fascinating thing about 9:1-7 is this and I want you to note it: the phrase “be fruitful and multiply”. This phrase in itself sandwiches 9:1-7 9 (as it is found at both ends). Within 9:1-7 is a “punch line” teaching with far reaching ramifications.
2. The resolution of God in v.21-22 was originally a private affair. In verses 21-22 we have become privy to the private thoughts of God-- for our text says “Then the LORD said in his heart”. It is not until we come to 9:8-17 that these thoughts of God become public knowledge—seen in God’s making a covenant with Noah.