Summary: A study of Genesis 9:8-17
Islington Baptist Church April 8, 2001
Sermon text: Genesis 9:8-17
Last week we began a study of Genesis 8:20-9:17. One of the things I drew your attention to was the big picture of this passage. Blessings. This passage is all about blessing—blessings that come by extension to us, in response to Noah’s seeking of the face and favor of God.
Last week we had time to consider 3 of the 4 major blessings bestowed by God
1. The continuing ability to have children: Be fruitful and multiply is what God said
-Here worded as a command and evidencing that God’s creation commands of Genesis 1 are still in effect.
2. Provision: God’s provision of the animals for food.
-until this time people were supposed to be vegetarians. Now….
3. The third blessing of our text is this: Protection.
Because we as humans are made in the image of God our lives are of incredible worth. Hence a protective law given, with a stiff penalty, designed to protect human life and uphold its value.
This week, amongst other things, we are going to consider the 4th blessing detailed for us in Genesis 8:20-9:17
4. The fourth blessing, which we didn’t have time for last week, is this: an unconditional covenant instituted by God that guarantees to this day that God will never again destroy our world by means of a world wide flood.
Where we are going:
1. Read Genesis 9:8-17
2. Address why the term covenant is one we must understand
3. Consider the covenant instituted by God here in this text: A covenant that has a sign –being the rainbow- that ought to make preachers of us all.
I. WHY THE TERM COVENANT IS ONE WE MUST UNDERSTAND.
7 times in today’s passage the term “Covenant” appears. When something is noted 7 times in such a short passage it means its important.
A covenant is a binding agreement. A bond is formed and entered into. It’s a pact of sorts, made between at least 2 parties. In the Bible the covenants most often featured are between God and man; sometimes they are between people i.e David and Jonathan. Sometimes these covenants are conditional, sometimes they are unconditional.
The topic of covenants permeates the entire fabric of the whole of the scriptures. It’s not a topic that a student of God’s word can ignore.
Throughout the scriptures, covenants are the vehicles by which God enters into lasting relationship with people. One wonderful truth to contemplate is this: God’s making and entering into covenants with people speaks of his relationality and of our created purpose: walking and relating with God.
Understanding the concept of covenant ought to be important to us because that is how we as Christians are related to God. If you are a Christian you have been brought into a relationship with God by means of a covenant—a covenant grounded in the person, work, and blood of Jesus Christ.
A whirlwind tour of some of the major covenants of the Bible—excluding today’s feature covenant: the one God makes here in Genesis 9
1. Abrahamic covenant: Genesis 12, 15, 17
Land, descendants, blessing. In Genesis 15 the covenant making ceremony is recorded. The animals cut in two, etc.
2. Davidic covenant: II Samuel 7
God’s promise to David regarding their always being a man upon the throne of David.
There are some conditional and some unconditional aspects to this covenant (the same goes for the Abrahamic)
3. Mosaic covenant, the covenant of law, the covenant made between God and the people of Israel at Mount Sinai.
This morning when we read Exodus 24 we observed the ratification of the covenant.
As you might remember this is where the 10 commandments come on the scene and all the requirements of the law. During the covenant making process groups of Israelites gathered on 2 different mountain tops. The one group shouted out all the blessings that would be theirs if they kept the law God gave and remained faithful to this covenant. The second group shouted out all the curses and punishments that would be their if they violated the law and broke the covenant.
One important feature of the Mosaic covenant or the covenant of law was this: it was sealed and made with blood.
Note Exodus 24:4b-8 “He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up 12 stone pillars representing the 12 tribes of Israel. Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant (the law with all its stipulations) and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.” Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”