“I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.”
God’s Covenant with Noah
A study on the 7 Divine Covenants of Scripture
After the fury of hurricane Katrina in 2005 a friend reflected on what he had seen. Actually, he reflected on what he hadn’t seen. “Everything was gone,” he said.
I imagine this would have been Noah’s reaction when he first opened the doors of the ark. The flood’s devastation would be glaring.
Into such an environment God spoke. As Noah surveyed the effects of God’s wrath, he (and all creation with him) received a promise of life: The Lord the would never curse the world with a flood again.
In other words, there was hope for a future.
God’s covenant with Noah was a word of grace. It was an affirmation of life in the wake of death. Those who live by faith need not fear; the world would not only be reconstituted, it will endure. His word of life will prevail and the earth will never sink under the curse of sin.
The covenant with Noah reaffirms and expands the original covenant God had made in the garden of Eden. Adam had been given the hope of redemption. There would be a Restorer who would come - a child who would crush the head of Satan.
The covenant with Noah helps us to see more of what that promise entailed. Genesis 6-9 exegetes Genesis 3:15, as it were. In Gen 9 we learn that the Restorer’s work will be cosmic in its scope. The whole earth will benefit from God’s redeeming grace.
Not everyone will be saved, of course. God still holds people accountable for sin. The flood had proven that quite clearly enough. Judgment for sin was also reiterated in the new command that “whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed.”
Yet, in the face of these woes, God publishes his promises of restoration all that much more emphatically to Noah. He emblazes his covenant on the sky in a myriad of colors through the rainbow.
Thus, with the barrenness of the earth before them, Noah and his family may wonder what would become of them. What will come of this cursed creation? Is there any hope that these eight sinners will make it in this new world? Or will it completely fold and bring their demise as well?
The answer is obvious: It will be sustained. God made a promise. There is life to be had. He will deal graciously with his people. His grace will cover the face of the earth. It will endure for all time. The curse will not prevail.
The New Testament affirms this very fact. Despite all the apocalyptic language it uses to describe the end times, it stops short of saying that the world will be obliterated. Instead it reiterates the Noahic promises in various terms: The meek will inherit the earth, the creation will cease its groaning at the second coming, there will be a (re)new(ed) heaven and earth.
What about those passages that say that the heavens will pass away and the earth will be burned up? Are those not telling us that this present creation will be ended?
Yes and no. The world as we know it will not exist when Christ comes again. However, this globe and the universe will not be completely eradicated. Instead, it will be renewed and cleansed.
Scripture can sometimes use exaggerated language to speak of how different our world will be once the covenant of grace is consummated. What will it be like when sin is removed and Christ restores all things? It will be wildly different from its current state. It will be so different it will seem like a completely new place.
In many respects, the earth’s restoration will be akin to our glorified bodies. Will our future bodies be anything like our present body? Yes, for it will be the same physical substance we now have. However, it will not have the effects of aging and sin. So there is a sense in which it will be almost unrecognizable.
Furthermore, the Lord refers to the enduring nature of Noah’s covenant to show the sure promise of King Jesus’s reign. In Jeremiah 33 the Lord says, “If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that the day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David may be broken.”
To make his point Jeremiah harkens back to Genesis 8:22 which says, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” (emphasis added)
Thus, God makes plain his plan of redemption. He affirms the hope that his people may have for eternal life. Jesus will reign supreme. He will complete the work which he began with his death and resurrection. And the world around us will become the King’s eternal dwelling place.
When we’ve been there 10,000 years,
bright shining as the sun,
We’ve known less days to sing God’s praise
then when we first begun.
Opportunities to Grow Is your life lagging? There’s no greater way to overcome that than with a healthy dose of solid spiritual nurture. Make a point to join up with one of our discipleship groups: Sunday night at 6; men’s group on Wednesday nights at 6:45. Or reach out about the possibility of starting one that works for you.