Noahic Covenant: The Judgment
The Noahic Covenant begins with the circumstances of Genesis 6 and is the result of man’s wickedness. In the first 17 verses we hear that man’s evil thoughts and wicked behaviors grieved God and filled His heart with pain. His beloved children totally rejected Him and become putrid and vile. But verse 8 says only Noah found favor with God because he was a righteous man.
Since the people of the earth were unbearably corrupt and violent, God intended to put an end to it by destroying all people and His creation, earth. However, since Noah was a good and righteous man, God tells him in verse 14 to build an ark of cypress wood with exact specifications.
The need for this huge vessel is found in verses 17-18 when God explains and makes His covenant with Noah: “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” In the rest of the chapter, God instructs Noah to gather two of all living creatures, food to sustain themselves and all the creatures, as well as more food to be stored. Noah obeyed; the Great Flood was coming and when it was time, God told Noah to board the ark with his family.
Noahic Covenant: The Voyage
Because of the Noahic Covenant, Noah and his family rode the rising waters while trusting wholly in God for their protection. You might imagine the horrors of the flood while all the people and life as they knew it was swallowed up by the waters. But Noah and his family had the promise of God because of their righteousness and God would save them to begin anew.
They endured the 40 days and nights of torrential rains, but had to wait another 150 days before God brought a mighty wind to begin the receding of waters (Genesis 8:1-3). Noah was 601 years old when the ground had dried and God told him to come out of the ark. “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it” (Genesis 8:20).
God made the Noahic Covenant as a pledge to replenish the earth with those on board the ark. The importance of God’s divine promise is reaffirmed to Noah and his sons:
Genesis 9:8-11: “Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: ‘I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 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. 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.’”
- Genesis 9:12-13: “And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.’”
Noahic Covenant: The Beneficiaries
As the Noahic Covenant illustrates, God is unwilling to let sinfulness and corrupt disobedience of man to continue forever. He promised to never again destroy the earth by flood, but He will not allow our iniquity to continue. The next judgment of the world’s iniquities will be by a different means, but there will be judgment.
2 Peter 3:9-10 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.”
From the time of Noah’s descendants until today, we have been given the opportunity to be righteous and obedient to God. He offers us salvation through the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).
- In Matthew 24:36-39, Jesus says “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
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