Current Message‎ > ‎

Sunday, October 13, 2019

posted Oct 13, 2019, 5:39 PM by Site Administrator

THE FLOOD AND GOD'S COVENANT

 

Genesis 7:1-9:29

Key Verse 9:1

 

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 

 

In the previous passage, we learned that the people of Noah’s time were corrupt to the core. They became worthless, and thus, invited God’s judgment. But Noah was different. He struggled hard to live according to God’s purpose. God was pleased with him and shared with him his plan of judgment on the land, and he instructed Noah to build an ark for him, his family and all the animals. In today’s passage, we see how God fulfilled what he said to Noah about his judgment. And we also see in this passage God's vision and hope for humans. 

 

First, Every living thing that moved on the earth perished (7:1-8:22). Look at 7:1. Now Noah successfully completed building the ark. It was huge – 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Its length was one and a half times longer than a football field, and it was taller than a five-story building. When the ark was completed, God told Noah, Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. This word of God was the best reward to Noah. He had worked so hard to obey God’s word and built the ark for about 60 or 70 years, or maximum 120 years. Who could understand the agonies, sorrows, or pains he had been through? But when God commended him saying, Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation, all pains and sorrows, which had scratched his heart, all memories of mistreatment from his neighbors, disappeared, and deep thanks filled his heart. God’s commendation to Noah was like saying, Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness. It was on the tenth day of the second month of the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, and seven days later, the rain would fall. During these seven days, pairs of animals and birds, and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark as God commanded.

 

And verse 16 reads: Then the Lord shut him in. While the door of the ark was open, there was a chance for anyone to repent and enter the ark for salvation. There was hope and grace. But when the Lord shut the door, there was no one who could be saved except those who were in the ark. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, As God's fellow workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation. We must secure God’s salvation while we have a chance. Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. Once he shuts the door, no one can open it.  

 

Look at verse 11. Let’s read this verse together. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month – on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.This verse indicates that at that time, not only did heavy rain fall on the earth, but also all the wells and spring waters of the ground burst forth. The expression, burst forth shows that great pressure was there just like geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Also, the fact that not just one or two or even some wells and springs, but all the springs and wells burst forthtells us that such great pressure was applied to all the wells and springs in the whole world. What could be the reason that the pressure increased greatly toward the waters underground? Maybe, magma under the ground expanding or pushing toward the surface of the ground?! If it is so, then, there must have been a lot of volcanos erupting in various places on the earth. As the underground waters came up to the surface of the earth, many sink holes appear, and as the water level rose, even many mountains collapsed, and great tsunamis occurred. Trees were uprooted, houses were destroyed, and all these debris were floating and attacking people in muddy waters. It was total chaos. The wind blew crazily like a hurricane, and thunder and lightning roared dreadfully. The entire world was completely dark – no sunlight, no moonlight, and no stars shining at all—the scene must have been dreadful beyond our imagination. People panicked, and out of fear, screamed for help, but there was none to hear them. Throughout this dreadful scene, the ark was floating over the surface of the water, traveling wherever the wind or waves led. But, despite the strong crazy wind and heavy rainfall, it never sank, and nothing harmed it, whether wind or water, rocks or trees, because Noah had built it according to God's blue print - it was designed for this occasion. The entire earth was completely covered with water, and there was no land exposed on the surface of the earth. Only after diving in to the water for more than twenty feet, you could barely touch the top of the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days. 

 

What was the result of this dreadful flood? Let’s read verses 21 through 23 together. 

 

Every living thing that moved on the earth perished-- birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

 

Everything that moved on the earth perished – birds, livestock, wild animals, and all the creatures, except fish. All these three verses start with the word, Every, indicating that there was no exception. God never makes a mistake. God’s judgment was thorough, and no one could escape from His judgment. Those who blindly sought to gratify their sinful desires, those who visited the place where Noah was building the ark and ridiculed him saying, Fanatic! Crazy man!, they all together sank like lead into the depths of the water. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark. It seemed that all people were enjoying their lives to the full and Noah was suffering all the time, denying himself, and not enjoying any fun in the world. But when God’s judgment came, it was very clear who was foolish and who was wise. Noah was right, and his way of life was worthy in God’s eyes. In this way, Noah became an heir of righteousness through whom God’s plan on earth would continue. 

 

Noah’s flood is the foreshadow of God’s judgment that is coming. Jesus says in Luke 17:26-27, Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. Jesus here indicates that Noah’s flood is the foreshadow of the final judgment that is coming, and that the final judgment will come in the same pattern. During Noah’s time, until the judgment day, people enjoyed their own life, characterized in four ways – eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage. These were most important things in their lives. They didn’t know what’s going on until they were destroyed. Now we are waiting for God’s final judgment. How will it come? Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. While people are so busy-minded about eating better, drinking better, and pursuing marriage dreams, the final judgment will start, and even people will not notice that it is God’s judgment until they are really destroyed. Now God’s judgment is proclaimed; it is coming! How should we live our life? We must not live like the peoples of Noah’s time, just being concerned about eating well, drinking well, marrying well; instead, we must live like Noah, seeking God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, walking with God. The Bible says, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.” (Rom 2:7-11) We must seek glory, honor and immortality, instead of being concerned about and seeking eating better, drinking better, marrying better, driving better cars, living in a bigger house. Sometimes, we are confused of which one is right; if that happens, just understand that you are tempted. At that time, see which way is self-seeking, and which way is seeking immortality. In a sense, we can describe our life as the life of building an ark for our salvation. God has given us his blueprint of how we must build the ark, which is the Bible. Let’s build the ark of salvation, a big one, by following God’s instructions carefully, not only for ourselves, but for many others. 

 

Second, Be fruitful and increase in number (8:1-9:17). After forty days of rainfall, the waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The sun shone brightly and the waters on the earth were sparkling. Instead of strong winds, a gentle breeze was blowing. Under the blue sky, only the ark was floating over the whole surface of the earth. Look at 8:1. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. Since the whole earth was completely covered with water, there was no place for the water to go, and thereby, the ark would float on the water forever. Now, Noah and all the living creatures in the ark were completely stranded on the water - the ark had no direction to go and no destination to land. And there was nothing they could do, but just stay in the ark. But God remembered them and was concerned about them. So, He helped them by sending a wind over the earth, and the waters receded, and finally the ark came to rest on the top of Mount Ararat. People say that the waters became the ice at the North Pole and the South Pole.

 

The expression, God remembered Noah and all the creatures,... shows us God's deep concern for those who struggle to live for God. Sometimes, as we struggle to live as shepherds and Bible teachers, we feel stranded in the matter of school work, or job matter, or even sheep matter - without knowing what to do and how to solve the problems. At that time, we can be rest assured that God knows our situation and that He will certainly help us, sometimes, by sending the wind over the earth and changing the situation, making a way for us to go, or sometimes, opening a new door. God's eyes range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 

 

Look at verse 20. On the 27th day of the second month in the following year, the earth was completely dry, and God asked them to come out of the ark. When Noah came out of the ark, the first thing he did was to build an altar and worship God. So many people, maybe, billions people died; the whole world was destroyed. But the first thing Noah did was to build an altar to the Lord and offer sacrifices on it, showing his deep respect, honor and thanks to God. That’s his attitude toward God, showing his heart toward God very well. At this, God was very pleased. The smell of the burnt offering was the pleasing aroma to Him. God accepted Noah and his offering. Then out of contentment, God said in his heart, Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. God knew that man’s sin had not been removed by the flood. Even if the inclination of man's thoughts was only evil even from childhood, just like in the time of Noah, God decided that He would neither curse the ground nor destroy all the living creatures. There would be never such a global catastrophe that would destroy all the living on the earth. Maybe, a great earthquake occurs; or a nuclear war occurs; yet still, God confirmed that there would be no global destruction that would kill all the living on the earth. This comforts all the creatures on earth. These days, many Hollywood movies’ main theme is about this global catastrophe, either by nuclear wars, or by natural disaster, or by terrible viruses. But God confirms here that such a global catastrophe will never occur, even if some humans plan to do so. So, don’t be afraid. Don’t be so anxious.

 

Then, as the righteous Judge, how would God deal with man's sin? Not in the way He dealt with sin thus far - not in the way he dealt with Adam's sin, or Cain's sin, or even the sin of Noah's people. Even destroying the whole world would not solve man's sin problem. God was looking for a new way to deal with and solve man's sin problem, that was, to take away the sin of the world through the death of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

After the flood, everything changed greatly. The climate changed drastically. All creatures experienced sheer terror. NowGod would start all over again. So, He issued certain rules and regulations for the whole world, for all creatures, especially for humans, just in the same way He had established certain directions and rules for AdamLook at chapter 9, verse 1. Let's read this verse together:

 

Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 

 

Just in the way He blessed Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28, now God blessed Noah and his sons with these commands: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Even after this great catastrophe, even when there were only Noah and his family on the whole earth, still God's original plan and vision for humans did not change. He was starting all over again with Noah and his family with the same vision and direction. This shows that the original plan of God for humans remains the same all the time. As children of God, we want to pioneer our campuses and establish Jesus' disciples. What is God's desire for us in this matter? God's blessing for us is this: Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. God wants us to be fruitful and increase in number. As we struggle to make disciples of college students, God will certainly help us and bless us to be exceedingly fruitful. 


God also reassigned humans as rulers over all the creatures - all the beasts of the earth, all the birds of the air, every creature that moves along the ground, all the fish of the sea, but this time, based on the fear and dread of humans that fell upon all the creatures. Even after the flood, even when human nature was corrupt a lot, still God's original plan for humans remained the same - He still desires that humans must be rulers over all his creation. This is what God wants us to do - live as rulers and conquerors over all the things. This is the kind of life God wants us to live - rulers, conquerors, challenging difficult situations and overcoming them.

 

God also gave them meat as food. God says in verse 3, Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Not only fruits and vegetables, but also meat; not only meat, but also everything - locust, birds, fish, mussels,... The environment had changed drastically. Before, the earth was like a green house, with perfect weather; but then, after the flood, the environment had changed drastically – now as the ice was formed in the North Pole and the South Pole, as the cold air circulates, very cold winter would be there, or even ice-age would kick in. And the nature of the animals would change a lot. No one knew about such things. But God knew them, and was concerned about humans. In God’s eyes, it was necessary for humans to eat some meat to deal with all these things. So, he gave them meat as food. The expression, Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything, “everything” shows God's heart's desire for humans very well. He wants to give everything, every good thing to humans; God is willing to give us everything, and anything to make our lives enjoyable and fulfilling. This is God's heart's desire for you and for me. God is good for you and for me.  

 

In verses 4 through 6, God taught them to show respect to the lifeblood of any creature. They should not eat any meat with the lifeblood still in it. Even though all the animals, birds and fish were given them as food, it did not mean that they should deal with these creatures recklessly, such as killing them for fun, or eating any part of the animals right after hunting. Instead, in order to eat the meat, they must follow a certain procedure such as draining out the blood, and then, cooking. Killing anything that has the lifeblood is not a joke, even though they are given to us for food. We must show certain basic respect to them, because they are God’s creatures, just as we are.

 

Look at verse 9. Let’s read this verse together:

 

And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man.

 

Here, God especially, taught them the value of human life. If any animal killed a human, God would demand an accounting from that animal for the lifeblood of the human; if any person killed another human, God would demand an accounting from that killer for the lifeblood of his fellow man. With this, God established capital punishment in human society, saying, Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. That is God’s law that governs all humans. Because so many people, maybe, billions' people, died in a few months, people might think that human life was nothing. But that's not the case. Human life is valuable and priceless, because each person is made in God's image. If anyone ignores this point and kills others, such a person is not worth living in God's eyes. In this way, God taught Noah and his descendants to show respect to human life, and not only human life, but also all the creatures that had the lifeblood.

 

When we think about this carefully, we see that to God, each person is important; He values your life and my life. And in the same way He values it, He now teaches us that we must value others as well. There are 7.8 billons people; it seems no one cares about us. That’s why so many people feel lonely, meaningless, and thereby, they just give up, throwing themselves to the mud freely. But God cares for them. You are important to God, and God has a good plan for you.

 

Look at verses 9 through 11. Let's read these verses together:

 

I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.

 

Here, God established his covenant that never again would all life be cut off by the waters of a flood. And as the seal of his covenant, He twisted the physics a little bit, and let the rainbow appear in the clouds. There may be a terrible hurricane, but we can be rest assured that it will never be like Noah's flood. This covenant is not only with Noah or his descendants, but also with every living creature that was with him—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with Noah—every living creature on earth. This shows that God even was concerned about how scared and terrified all these animals, birds and living things on the earth were. He comfortedthem and gave them the confidence that they would not be destroyed that way any longer. What a tender Person our God is! He is even mindful of nameless and speechless animals, birds, and reptiles. Who can imagine that the Creator God initiated to establish his covenant with animals and birds to comfort them.He is a real Mystery. Indeed, our God is good.

 

Third, Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem (9:18-29). Noah had three sons - Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Japheth was the eldest, Shem the second, and Ham the youngest. Ham was the father of Canaan. Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent; it was Noah's big mistake. Ham saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside about it. He gossiped about his father's shame. That was not good. No one would do so; instead, all the sons would keep it to themselves or even try to cover up their father's shame. If anyone gossiped about their father's shame, then, they would not leave that person alone; they would fight to protect their father's name. But Ham, instead, he gossiped about it. At this, Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers. The descendants of Canaan were the Sidonites, Hittites, Jebusities, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, and many others – they were the ones Joshua conquered in Canaan. 

 

He also blessed Shem and Japheth. His blessing on Shem was: Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. Noah's blessing for Shem was that God would be the God of Shem. After this, God's redemption history would go through Shem's descendants, and the gospel of Salvation for all peoples on earth would be completed through Shem's descendants as well – the Israelites are Shem’s descendants; indeed, God would be known as the God of Shem. Noah blessed Japheth, saying, May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave. Japheth' descendants would occupy a large territory, enjoying prosperity. Japheth living in the tents of Shem means that his descendants would enjoy the benefits of the blessings given to Shem.

 

One of the Ten Commandments is to honor your father and mother. This is something we humans do naturally. According to God’s law for the Israel people, if anyone violates this command, in God’s eyes, that person is not worth living. So,God told them to kill anyone who attacked his father or mother. Whole townspeople would gather together and kill him by stones. Honoring father and mother is the most fundamental commandment; if this command is not kept, then, the whole society crumbles down. That’s why God commanded the whole townspeople to eliminate such danger together – public execution. Sometimes, we see people attacking their spiritual parents; or even sometimes, we see scandals of famous Pastors. When people hear such scandals of great servants, they gossip and judge them. But that’s not the right thing to do. When you see people gossip about other Pastors, don’t join with them; when you see others talk about your physical or spiritual parents’ shame, don’t join in them; or even when you see your parents’ shame, don’t gossip about it; instead, you just keep it to yourself, or even cover it. Sometimes, God decides to expose their shame; if it is so, then, let it be exposed. But make sure that it is exposed not through you. You like Shem and Japheth, cover it, instead of exposing it. Then, there will be always many rebellious people who have no fear of God. They will do the job, and your hands will be clean. And God will bless you.

 

After the flood Noah lived 350 years. Altogether, Noah lived 950 years, and then he died.

 

One Word: Be Fruitful and Increase In Number!

 

Comments