Summary: In the midst of judgment, The Lord moves to establish a Covenant with Noah, his family, and the animals of the ark. Out of death and destruction there is new life.
Genesis 6:8-22, 9:8-15 “People of the Covenant”
One of the best known Bible stories is the story about Noah and the flood. Recently Hollywood made a movie that was loosely based on the story and that featured Russell Crowe. That’s just the latest in a long list of fascination with this story. There are also Noah’s Ark toys, songs, coloring books, and there’s probably even a video game.
Even though it is an intriguing and entertaining story, there is more to it than its surface appeal. There are many powerful messages that apply to all of our lives today.
From the time of Adam and Eve, the effects of sin have spread throughout the entire creation. Humankind’s actions have rippled through the animal and plant kingdoms, and through the land, sea and air. Creation is sick.
We often think of God’s actions as a judgment; God is angry and he is going to take out his anger on humankind. That is not the situation, however. God is dealing with a sickness, and God needs to move to bring wholeness and health. We know what this is like. We treat cancer with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. We often deal with heart disease through surgery. These are painful processes, but they are necessary in order to bring health.
Though God in verse 13 told Noah that he was going to make and end of all flesh that really wasn’t God’s plan. From the very beginning, God had determined to save Noah and his family. God had Noah build an ark in order to save the animals of creation. Whatever God did hope was always a part of it.
Life may become difficult for us. We may even experience hell on earth. I’m uncomfortable assigning God as the reason for these hard times. I do believe, though, that hard times can make us into better people.
JOURNEY THROUGH WATER
Have you ever notice how often water is used in connection with a significant event? Water covered the face of the earth in the beginning of time. Order was then brought out of chaos. The Israelites left Egypt for the Promised Land by passing through the Red Sea. Later they entered the Promise Land by crossing the Jordan River.
The water of the Jordan River was used by John the Baptist to baptize Jesus, and what is a part of every Christian baptism.
Water usually signifies an end and a beginning such as chaos and order, slavery and freedom, nomad and settler, old life and new life.
There are times when the journey through the water is very difficult. With the water, though, comes the promise of new life. This is especially true for Christians. We go through the waters of baptism and a new and different person comes forth, one who is cleansed, forgiven, adopted, included and empowered.
As soon as the ark sets down on land and the animals and Noah’s family leave, God makes a covenant with Noah. Sometimes when we go through the storms and floods of life we wonder if God has forgotten us. I suspect Noah did in the seven plus months that he was in the ark. God acts to assure Noah, and us, of God’s steadfast love for us. Not even a flood can separate us from God’s love.
God is the one who creates the covenant. Noah did not go up to God, extend his hand and say, “Let’s be friends.” God was the first one to act. Really, God was the only one who could act and offer the covenant.
The rainbow was a reminder that God would never again take such drastic steps to deal with humankind’s hard heart and rebellion. Eventually the sign of the covenant was transformed into the cross. The cross is a reminder of God’s steadfast love, unconditional forgiveness, and overwhelming grace.
Noah and the flood is a story about humankind’s sin and God’s love. In a very real sense, it is our story—a story of God moving through all of the situations of life in order to enable us to walk with God and live in the truth of God’s kingdom.