Part4 - Never Again
Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
Read Part 3
(10/11) Today we’re wrapping up the story of Noah and his really big boat. We’ve seen how the hearts of all the people we’re wicked and sinful all the time. They weren’t getting any better, time wasn’t healing those wounds, so God says here’s what I’m going to do: "I’m going to flood the earth. And Noah, here’s what I would like you to do: preach,
warning the people, and build this really big boat called an ark." So for 120 years, Noah and his three sons built the ark. The floodwaters came. Noah and his family and the animals entered into the ark. Everyone and everything died except for Noah and his family. They get off the boat, Genesis 8, and the first thing Noah does is he offers a sacrifice. We saw that last week,
he sheds the blood of an animal acknowledging that he too should’ve died for his own sin. He recognizes that it was only by God’s grace that he was spared.
So we pick up the story at Genesis chapter 9 this week and what really stuck out to me this week was the connection between Noah and Adam. In other words, we’re all descendants of Adam, but since the flood, now we’re all descendants of Noah. So it doesn’t matter your race, your color, or whoever you are, you’re a descendant of both Adam and Noah. They
both entered into a new world that was brought out of chaos. They’re both said to be image-bearers of God. They’re both said to have walked with God. They’re both to rule over the animals. They’re both given instructions to "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28). They’re both to build a culture on the earth that glorifies God. And
last but certainly not least, they’re both said to be in covenant with God (Hosea 6:6-7). So, today we’re gonna look at the covenant God made with Noah and we’ll deal with that starting in Genesis 9:1.
"Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and
moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
4 "But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 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.
6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.
7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it."
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 "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." (Genesis 9:1-11)
So verse one begins, "Then God blessed…" God’s blessing is one of the big themes of the book of Genesis. God’s blessing is woven throughout this book and when he blesses, it shows up with children, finances, or health. It shows up with marriage. It shows up with the forgiveness of sin and salvation. God’s blessing shows up in multitudes of ways, but
the point is that people are bad, God is good, and God blesses people. James says it this way,
"Every good and perfect gift is from above coming down from the Father" (James 1:17).
God is a God who blesses. And so "God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." So what we see throughout this text is that God is a God who is pro-life, who loves life, who gives life, who celebrates life, and who wants his people to be about having children and bringing life into the earth.
And then God warns them in verse 2…
1. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth.
"The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything" (Genesis 9:2-3).
You see, up to this point, we were all vegetarians, but now we can eat meat, now we can barbecue. But you know, when you love meat, you know what needs to happen? The fear and dread of you needs to fall upon the beasts, the birds, every creature that moves along the ground, and even the fish. You see, before the flood, there was peace among the
creatures that God had made. The wolf would live alongside the lamb, the leopard would lie down with the goat, a little child would lead the calf, the lion, and the yearling together. The cow would feed with the bear, their young would lie down together, and even the lion would eat straw like the ox. So now suddenly and supernaturally, the fear of humans falls upon the living
creatures, and it is a healthy thing, because now we’re given permission to eat everything.
"But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it." Here’s what God is saying. You can eat chicken but it has to be dead. No eating live chickens. You see, this could be dangerous, because not only could it make you sick, but if you eat a living animal they’re going to fight back. That rooster could tear you up. So God is looking out for
you, saying, don’t eat the living… if you want to shoot it, kill it, grill it, praise the Lord, but make sure it’s dead before you go take a bite out of it. You see God gives us rules to protect us. So we don’t eat living things. We only eat chicken after we’ve killed it. We wait until they’re dead.
So here we are given permission to eat everything except for what? People right? So we can kill a chicken but not a person. If you want to eat a cow, or you want to eat some broccoli you can. And so what God is talking about here is Noah’s family’s relationship with creation… with created things. And God wants us to know that we’re different; we’re not
animals and we’re not gods, but we’re people made by God with dignity, value, and respect. And because of that, He wants us to know that taking a human life is different from taking the life of an animal or a vegetable.
2. For in the image of God has God made man.
You see, we don’t eat people, because people are created in the image of God. In verse five, God says: "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" (Genesis 9:5).
So if a bull gores or tramples a human being, what do we do with the animal? We kill it, right? If your dog jumps the fence; bites, mauls, or kills your neighbor’s kid; you kill the dog. That’s the way it is. We’re not equal. And it’s the same for us as well. If one man angrily, selfishly, or unjustly murders another, not in war or self-defense, God
tells us in verse 6, "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man" (Genesis 9:6).
So here’s the big idea: Human life is superior to animal life because human life alone bears the image of God.
The image of God means that we are unique, because we have been given authority to rule, and we resemble God in the sense that like God, we are eternal beings. So it’s the image of God that makes us great among all of His created things. It’s the image of God, imprinted upon our human soul that makes us distinct, that makes us so great, and even though
we’re great sinners. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." We’re still great… we’re just great sinners who’ve been "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24). And even though we often make choices that cause the image of God to become clouded, that cause it to become corrupted; Jesus comes to take away
our sin and redeem us so that we can be brought back as God’s image-bearers and our greatness would remain forever.
So, because of the image of God in us, an animal or another human being is not allowed to take the life of another human being. And therefore, all of life is sacred to God including the life that is unborn. Because God is a living God who knits us together in our mother’s womb. And God is a God who is about life. He is a pro-life God. That’s what he’s
saying here. That we’re to value life and if someone murders a person, that person should be put to death.
That "The fear and dread of you will fall upon… every creature… and everything that lives and moves…" (Genesis 9:2-3).
So this is the institution of execution, the beginning of capital punishment, so that there would be justice, and that revenge is not extracted upon innocent members of the family, and that the offender is dealt with justly. God wants murderers to be put to death so that there is justice and human life is seen as sacred and protected.
3. I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you.
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…" (Genesis 9:8-10)
You see, God created us and everything else good, but we sinned and we’ve made a mess of it. We have… so covenant is God’s answer… God’s way of getting back to his original intention of blessing his creation. And so here we find Him establishing a covenant, an agreement with Noah to bless him. It’s an unconditional covenant to his descendants. It’s a
limitless covenant for future generations. Everybody and everything is going to benefit from it. We still do today… we’re still under this covenant… and this covenant reminds us of three things. First of all, God's covenant with Noah reminds us that… God has put the ball in our court.
He has promised that he will not intervene in the future in the same way that he has in the past, no matter what direction the world takes. And what this means, is that sometimes, there will be evil on the loose. Sometimes bad things will happen, but there will also be good... There will be people who because of their love, care, and concern will make
this world a better place.
God has put the ball in our court. His covenant… his promise never again to destroy the earth and all living things… means that we’re responsible for keeping this planet safe and secure. We’re responsible for making this community a better place to live. We’re responsible for taking care of one another. We’re responsible for helping the weak. We’re
responsible for standing up for the truth. The ball is in our court and it’s up to us to take responsibility for our lives, our community, our society, and our generation.
A second thing God's covenant with Noah teaches us is that… God is willing to give us a second chance.
You see, when God created the human race, he had a plan that his creation would learn to love him, serve him, and glorify him. Yet the very people God created in his own image have rejected him again and again throughout the centuries. And God has never closed the door… He continues to love us so that "whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life" (John 3:16).
Through Noah, God gave the human race a second chance. Through Jesus, God gives you a second chance and he isn't ready to give up. He wasn't ready then and he's still not ready now. He is offering you a second chance and even when you need more than one second chance. He is a God of mercy. He's a God of forgiveness. He's the God of the second chance,
the fresh start, the new beginning, and it's all included in the covenant he made with Noah.
And here's the third thing I want you to see. In the covenant God made, we're reminded that... He's willing to put his promises in writing.
When God made his covenant with Noah he said in verse 12, "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: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the
rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth."
17 So God said to Noah, "This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth." (Genesis 9:12-17)
God is willing to put his promises in writing and we can trust him when he says, "Never again." We can trust him to honor all the promises of Scripture. We can trust him when he says, "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13). We can trust him when he says, "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). We can trust him when he says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). We can trust him, because he has made these promises to us and he has put them in writing.
So when you read the Bible, and you come across a promise that applies to you, a promise of forgiveness, a promise of mercy, hope, or strength, a promise of salvation or healing, a promise of blessings… you can believe what God has promised you, and you can claim it as your own. And when you see a rainbow you can remember that our God is a God who
keeps his promises; not just the "never-again" promise he made to Noah about the flood, but every promise he has ever made. He keeps them all. You have his word. He made a covenant with his creation and he signed it with a rainbow.
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