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Genesis 9:8-17

Genesis 9:8-17

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Published by John Shearhart
The covenant of mercy and its token point to Christ and give hope to God’s people.
The covenant of mercy and its token point to Christ and give hope to God’s people.

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: John Shearhart on Mar 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Genesis 9:8-17
 March 20, 2013
We’re going to pick back up on the story of Noah in Genesis chapter nine. He’s just come off the ark and made a sacrifice which God smells and is pleased. Godmakes a promise to never again curse the ground or to destroy the earth until theappointed time and then blesses Noah and his family. Here in verse eight we’relooking at not only a more comprehensive explanation of the promise in 8:21-22,but we see that God formally seals the deal with a covenant. Earlier, when Godfirst commanded Noah to build the ark, He made a reference to this saying, “
Withthee will I establish my covenant
,” and now that the waters have subsided andeveryone is safely out of the ark it’s time for God to follow through with what He’spromised.And the focus of these ten verses is primarily on this covenant and its token. In theancient world covenants
were promises verified by an oath, usually witnessed bysome lasting power, and verified with a token. We’re all familiar with this from just the Old Testament. There are several promises which are followed up withsomething like “
the Lord is witness this day 
” or “
 I call heaven and earth to recordthis day against you
.” Sometimes they made a pile of stones which would remainlong after both parties died and they called it a witness (Josh. 24:27).And then a token was often exchanged as a sort of tangible reminder of thepromises made. You’ll remember that Abraham’s servant placed his hand underAbraham’s thigh to take an oath (Gen. 24:2) and that Boaz plucking off his shoe toredeem Ruth (Ruth 4:8). Sometimes the token was the sacrifice of an animal whichgraphically warned the promisor of the consequences of breaking his word. It wascommon for tribes or clans to covenant together offering a son or daughter inmarriage to ensure the mutual survival of the unified people. Later groups like theHittites formalized the process with elaborate ceremonies and documents literallywritten in metal or stone. These covenants were occasionally read aloud in publicso that no one would forget about their responsibilities.Well, here in Genesis nine we’re reading about a token and its token. Noah offersa sweet smelling sacrifice to God, God blesses him and his family:
 And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
 And I,behold, I establish my covenant
First, and this is important, God is the
of this covenant. He says, “
 I, behold, I 
and so He’s drawing attention to Himself: “Look at me; I am setting up thiscovenant.” This is a one-way thing. Whatever comes next it doesn’t matter howanyone responds because God is doing this Himself.
with you, and with your seed after you;
 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
 And I willestablish my covenant with you,
Now, this is the
of this covenant. It extends not only to Noah, but also to hissons and grandsons and great-grandsons and all the animals and everything livingcreature from that point in time all the way down to today. So this is a far reachingcovenant:
 neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither  shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
Here’s the
of the covenant. Some have called this “common grace,” and it’strue that God could and should just destroy everyone at once, and so this is a sort of universal benefit that He doesn’t do that, but we have to remember that historyand the Bible are all about the revelation of His glory. This is all building up to theDay of Judgment and to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. So essentially what God is saying is that He’ll withhold judgment until the end and won’t again givesinners all they deserve until then. I know it’s a fine line, but to me at least it’s animportant distinction. “Common grace” seems to lack the deliberate purpose anddetermination of a sovereign God who oversees all things and works themaccording to His plan and purpose.So what we have here is a promise from God for the elect, and this promise helpsus wait.
 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between meand you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenantbetween me and the earth.
What is the tangible reminder of God’s promise? It’s a rainbow. Now, what is thepurpose of that?
 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, asthe appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.
 And I saw as the colour of 
amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.
 As theappearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the
appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness
of the glory of the L
. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voiceof one that spake
(Ez. 1:26-28).
 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, andone sat on the throne.
 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an
(Rev. 4:2-3).These two verses clearly speak of Christ, and so I can’t help but see the rainbow asa sign of Him!
 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow  shall be seen in the cloud:
 And I will remember my covenant, which isbetween me and you and every living creature of all flesh;
The language here throws some people off because it sounds like God is onlyreminded not to destroy everything because He sees the bow. But that’s not thecase at all. Remember that in ancient times they kept these tokens, not becausethey were forgetful, but because they were visible signs of the pledges they hadmade.
and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
 And thebow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember theeverlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of thecovenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is uponthe earth.
When God sees the token He’s reminded to withhold wrath. And of course, thebigger picture is that God’s wrath is satisfied by Christ. We can go back to Isaiahagain and see that this whole promise of the gospel is more than just a simplepromise—it’s a covenant!
 For the L
hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and awife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
 For a small moment have I  forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
 In a little wrath I hid my  face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on

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