Friday 11 September 2015

Bible Book:

“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you.” (vv. 9-10)

Genesis 9:1-13 Friday 11 September 2015

Psalm: Psalm 88


This chapter begins midway through an interaction between Godand Noah. As soon as Noah has come out of the ark he offers asacrifice to God (Genesis 8:20). This is the marker of someonewho is a righteous follower of God and God's requirements, andreflects the temple sacrifices which are in the minds of thewriters. The sacrifice prompts, according to Genesis, some internalreflection by God, "the Lord said in his heart, 'I will never againcurse the ground because of humankind'" (Genesis 8:21). Given that this is a ratherhuman portrayal of God we could describe it as'soul-searching'.

The sacrifice and the, unspoken, promise not to wipe outhumankind naturally leads into the making of a covenant, makingGod's promise public and universal. God begins by setting out thevision for a post-flood world and its human inhabitants, firstly byrepopulating the world (verse 1). Growing the community is anongoing theme, whether it is Noah and his family here, promises toAbraham and Moses or in our day when we aim to refill our churchesand arrest the decline in church attendance in the UK.

The other strong theme is that of "blood" (vv. 4-6), it will notescape the reader that there is a lot of bloodshed in Genesis andonwards. It may be that God, or the writers, hoped for a much lessbloodthirsty world. Against this hope we have an appallingChristian history of Protestants killing Catholics and vice versa,with both sides claiming to be believers in and defenders of God.Today, the anniversary of 9/11, is a good day to remember that Godurges us away from bloodshed, a message found in the Qur'antoo.

The passage concludes, after promises and warnings, with theestablishment of an ongoing covenant (verse 9) between God and thewhole human race, represented by Noah. This relationship betweenGod and humanity, never repealed, is the key message of Noah'sstory - he truly does have global significance as a sign of life,rather than judgement. It's worth highlighting this gospel outlookin the Old Testament, showing that God is eternally committed tohumanity thriving.

To Ponder

  • What does God's eternal covenant with all human beings mean toyou?
  • What would the world have been like if all God's people hadavoided bloodshed?
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