Summary: Life, rainbow, sin

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Genesis 9:1-29

John Shearhart

October 17, 2010

C.S. Lewis once said that the failures of the so-called “heroes” of the Bible helped convince him that the Bible must be true. What other book would develop a hero only to show that he’s certainly not worthy of following let alone good enough to be the leader of his own cause?

Abraham: Liar and idolater

Isaac: Tried to manipulate God’s will for his sons

Jacob: Swindler and cheater

Job: Complainer and doubter

Moses: Murderer and doubter

Samson: His list is too long.

David: Murderer and adulterer

Solomon: Disobedient and half-hearted

Jonah: Wanted to see the Ninevites perish

All the disciples: deserters

Paul: murderer, legalist, and persecutor

On and on we could go through all the men and women of the Bible. Even the ones whose bad sides we don’t see fall under the claim that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

Well, the story of Noah is no different.

God created the earth and called it good, but Adam introduced sin into the world when he ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and he brought a curse with it. Because of sin, Cain killed Abel (Gen. 4:8), Lamech killed a young man for striking him (4:23), and the inclination of men’s hearts was only evil all the time (6:5).

God executed judgment on the whole world with a flood so that only Noah and his seven family members survived on the ark. A year later, with the flood waters finally gone, Noah and all those with him stepped onto dry land and offered sacrifices to God.

God smelled the sacrifices and promised to never again destroy every living thing. This is where we pick up this morning. Chapter nine can be divided into three sections. In the first (:1-7) God commands the family to multiply and warns against murder.

In the second section God establishes His covenant with Noah and the whole world in which He again promises to never again wipe out all flesh with a flood; the sign of the covenant is a rainbow.

You might expect that everything is peaches and cream from that point on—after all, Noah is righteous and blameless (6:9). No doubt he’ll teach his kids how to walk the same path and it should be another 1,000 years at least before we find men walking in utter disobedience.

But, sadly, this isn’t the case.

The story of Noah goes to show that even the righteous (who are blessed by God and who are established in His covenant) continue to fail in sin. The book of Genesis shows us not only our origins and our history, but our utter depravity and our hopelessness without a hero. It shows us our need for Christ.

Let’s resume our study in chapter nine:

And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.

This is the same command God gave Adam back in chapter one (:28). I said last week that the flood wasn’t a do-over for God, but it is a do-over for man. The population of the earth has gone from who-knows-how-many to seven; it’s gone from the offspring of ten generations (at a time when men lived to be nearly 1,000) to only two generations represented by seven people!

But God’s desire is that the world be filled, so He blesses Noah and his sons and commands them to multiply.

2"The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3"Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.

This seems to be a new relationship between man and animals. Man is put at the top of the food chain and given permission to eat whatever he finds.

It’s interesting that Noah could tell clean animals from unclean (7:2), yet he’s allowed to eat “every moving thing that is alive.” Some 2,000 years later Moses would be instructed to eat only that which is clean (Lev. 11), and 2,000 years after that Peter is instructed to kill and eat even the unclean (Acts 10:13-14).

But for Noah, there’s only one requirement:

4"Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.

This verse sets up the verses to follow and it underscores the reason for the flood: “the earth was filled with violence” (6:11). Men were assaulting and killing other men, so God poured out His judgment. Now that the flood has passed, God lays out His instructions regarding the taking of life:

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