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Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse

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Genesis 17

Last week we saw how as the Lord made the flood waters subside on the earth He was giving humanity a second chance – a second chance to live! Because of God and by God man had a new lease on life and a second chance to exist and live like they were created to live.

But what if mankind became increasingly sinful again? What if man went right back to his old ways of ungodliness? Would God destroy them again?

I mean, if our children continue to disobey we continue to punish them. If our employees continue to break the rules on the job they continue to get discipline. Even in church if someone continues to lead an ungodly life we confront them. So what about God and mankind? If this ‘new’ life on earth goes back to its old ways will God step in with His wrath?

Well the answer is yes and no. Yes, God will bring wrath, punishment, and chastisement on the people of the earth as He sees need to. But he won’t universally destroy all life on the earth with a flood like He had before. As we’re going to see in tonight’s passage, God makes a covenant with mankind to that affect.

Now the word covenant is used throughout Scripture in many different places. Some times it’s used as God expressing His promises to man or man expressing their promises to God. Sometimes it’s used to express promises between men or promises between nations. But in most cases it’s representing a promise or even a legal contract that binds the parties to what’s in the covenant. It’s a mutual agreement that binds the parties involved to faithfulness.

Sometimes the covenants in the Bible between God and man are conditional covenants. Those are where the Lord has said He will bless His people if they remain faithful to Him.

[Read Exodus 19:5-6.]

Israel’s faithfulness to their covenant to the Lord would be rewarded by His blessing upon their nation. That’s a conditional covenant.

But some covenants are unconditional like the one we’ll be looking at tonight. Unconditional covenants aren’t based on the faithfulness of man. Unconditional covenants are based on the faithfulness of God.

Now the first place this unconditional covenant is mentioned is actually before the flood ever happened. As a matter of fact, God mentions His covenant with man before Noah even starts building the ark!

[Read Genesis 6:18-19.]

As we learned a few sermons ago, the word ‘establish’ is the Hebrew word ‘koom’ which means to accomplish and confirm something. The flood was coming and Noah would need to understand that it was all a part of God’s plan to accomplish and confirm His will on the earth. God would establish His covenant in His way and in His time. After 120 years of ark building, and a year of ark living, God would permanently establish His covenant with man.

Last week we saw God display just how precious man is to Him. He furthers that thought by establishing an unconditional covenant with man to show us just how much He loves us.

I. The God of the covenant

[Read Genesis 9:8-11.]

God makes a promise to man that’s entirely based on Himself and who He is. He even repeats Himself in saying, “I will establish My covenant with you.” This is a common Hebrew method of showing emphasis and seriousness. God wants everyone to know that it’s His covenant and that He has established it. The establishment of the covenant has nothing to do with man and everything to do with God.


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