An Everlasting Covenant
Adult 1 Sunday School Class Genesis 9:8-17 September 22, 2013
Theme: A natural disaster can cause great anxiety over the safety and welfare of loved ones. God said that the rainbow would remind Him of the covenant to protect all living creatures.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scripture (responses are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses
Background: Following the flood, God blesses Noah in verses 9:1-7, and similarly parallels that which He gave to Adam. Both blessings commanded them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. The blessings were altered for Noah. Mankind had dominion over creation, but due to sin, the harmony in the "garden" that had existed had ended. Now the animals did not have affection for man, but feared him. Animals that fear something can be dangerous. God still gave man dominion over the animals ensuring that man would prevail. The food that they could eat had been expanded since Adam's (1:29) time. Animal protein had been added to the diet, along with the green herbs that God had given to Adam. Animal protein refers to small animals from land or sea. In Lev. 11, Israelites were later limited to eating only clean animals. The meat of animals could be eaten, but the blood must be drained first. If a man or an animal deliberately takes the life of another man, then the murderer could be put to death. But not so for a man or an animal, taking the life of another animal. The reason for the punishment for murder was that man was made in the image of God. Verse 9:6, the unauthorized taking of a man's life became a capital offense, in which authorized credentialed officials could execute the murderer(s). Other verses in the Law of Moses reinforced this concept (Exo 20:13; 21:23, Deut 19:21). No such law existed for the killing of animals, illustrating man's superiority over animals in the eyes of God.
* Genesis 9:8, "And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying," 9. "And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;" 10. "And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth." This is the conclusion of the Covenant which God made with Noah begun in Gen.6:18. Following the great flood, God spoke to Noah and his sons. Noah was now the seminal head of God's new creation since his family was the only one remaining after the flood. God wanted to assure Noah that he should not be in fear of Him following this ordeal, and therefore made a "covenant" with him.. He assured him that he could live out the rest of his life in rest and peace, for God's anger with the world had been appeased. God's pledge extended not only to Noah but also to his "seed" (i.e. relatives of Noah that came after him, future generations).
*v. 11, "And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." The covenant was that God would not allow water to destroy the earth again. This covenant was universal and unconditional, in that Noah was not obliged to commit to anything, and that God included every living creature in this covenant. It represented the second covenant in the Bible, after marriage.
*v. 12, "And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:" 13. "I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth." God gave Noah a token of His covenant by placing His bow in the clouds as a symbol never again to destroy humankind by water. God's bow usually symbolized war, but in this case, the bow, would be a rainbow of peace. It would signify God's covenant with Noah.
*v. 14, "And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:" 15. "And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh." From this time forward the rainbow would be an affirmation of God's grace and peace, that He would never again send water to flood the earth and destroy all flesh. That included the flesh of humans and non-humans.
*v. 16, "And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." The rainbow is formed when light from the sun rays passes through the moisture from water vapor in the clouds. This causes the diffraction of light into different wavelengths and thus rendering a variety of colors. It usually happens after a storm, and it is comforting to know that God's wrath that once resulted in a great Flood will always be quieted when He looks upon His token of peace, the rainbow.
*v. 17, "And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth." For the seventh time, God's covenant is confirmed. God is faithful not to forget His promise to Noah. Noah and all mankind can be assured that God's covenant remains in effect, and that God is in control of all that is happening on earth.
Note: Adult 1 Sunday School Class outlines are also available at www.pilgrimbaptistchurch.org and click on "Upcoming Events"; OR go to Ministries and click on it, then click on Board of Christian Education, then click on Sunday School, and then Adult 1.