Friday, October 17, 2008

The Faithfullness of God in His Covenants With Man - Part 4 The Noahic Covenant

Humanity Destroyed

If you remember from yesterday, humanity has grown so evil, God regrets creating it (Genesis 6:6-8). So begins the story of Noah. God is sorry for creating mankind, but He’s made a covenant; and that covenant must be honored. Man has done nothing to merit survival. If the Adamic Covenant would have been a conditional/bilateral covenant, mankind would surely have been wiped out. But the unconditional/unilateral covenant God made hundreds of years earlier with Adam made it clear that a Seed would have to be born, and that Seed would destroy Satan.
A study of Noah shows that his selection was based upon a relationship with God. Genesis 6:9b – “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.” Noah lived in communion with the Creator. This is how Enoch – Noah’s great-grandfather – was described as well, yet Enoch received a special distinction: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24) I remember growing up hearing my pastor say, “God invited Enoch to stay the night with Him, but since there is no night in Heaven, he still hasn’t returned.”
I can imagine Noah sitting on his grandfather, Methuselah’s lap listening to him as he tells the story of Enoch, and how he walked in intimacy with God, and then suddenly disappeared. Noah must have desired that special closeness and communion with God for himself.
God chooses to begin anew with Noah. He commands Noah to build an ark and prepare for a worldwide flood. Noah obeys, in spite of the persecution, ridicule and absurdity of it all. And God floods the Earth, just as He said He would. Noah and his family are spared, and after months of waiting, the ark comes to rest on the Mountains of Ararat. Finally, man once again sets foot upon dry land.

A Promise in the Sky

Genesis 8:21b-9:17

In the Noahic Covenant, Noah acts as the representative of mankind, just as Adam did in the Edenic and Adamic Covenants. Thus, the Noahic Covenant is a covenant with all humanity.
First, God commands Noah to repopulate the Earth. Some historians have suggested that the Great Flood was localized rather than worldwide, but the command to “be fruitful and multiply” shows that this cannot be the case. The only humanity remaining was on the ark – Noah and his wife, and their sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives.
The second provision was that man was to now rule over the animal kingdom, and all animals would now live in fear of man. We will see in the next provision why this is important.
The third provision of the Noahic Covenant is the allowance to eat flesh from the animal kingdom. Remember, up until this time, man’s diet was still vegetarian. Man would now be allowed to eat meat. As a result, God places within the animal kingdom a fear of man that would be an instinct for self preservation.
Fourth, man is restricted from eating or drinking blood. Blood is the symbol of life. This provision was to remind man of this.
The fifth provision was capital punishment. Up until this time, there is no record of a life-for-life policy among mankind.
Sixth, God promises man that He will never again destroy the Earth with flood. This is the only part of the Noahic Covenant that is related to God, but there is no stipulation on it. God never says that He would spare the Earth from flood only if man honors the above provisions. God places the requirement for the Noahic Covenant on Himself. There is no “if you…I will” aspect to it. To seal this covenant, God places the rainbow in the sky, as a reminder to Himself that He is bound to this covenant. Man benefits from seeing the sign of the rainbow, but God says in Genesis 9:15 that when He sees the rainbow: “…I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh…”
Once again, mankind is given fresh start. And, again, man will fall terribly short. Noah himself becomes drunk, and passes out in his tent, naked. One of his sons, Ham, mocks his nakedness and is cursed. Mankind grows into a great people again, but fails to spread over the whole Earth, as commanded. Instead, they become prideful and actually conceive a plan to build a tower that reaches into Heaven. This sounds strangely similar to the original rebellion of Lucifer: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God…” (Isaiah 14:12-13a).
God does not allow this pride and rebellion to go unpunished. Genesis 11:9 says that God, “…confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
The Earth is once again covered with a humanity that seeks to serve its own fleshly desires. But God is faithful. He seeks out a man through whom He can raise up a special people who would worship and serve Him. He chooses a shepherd from Ur.

Abraham is selected and we see three of the most important verse in all of Scripture.

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