We’re studying the story of Noah’s Ark this week. We read part one yesterday, and will read part two today.
At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more. (Genesis 8:6-12)
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.(Genesis 9:8-13)
Today, we start to see the “why” of this story, not just just the “what” and “how”.
God is starting over with one man, his wife, their sons and their wives. This is the same pattern as Adam, Eve and their two songs. We can probably expect the same results. What’s different is this “Covenant” God makes. A covenant is a promise between unequal parties. Christian marriage still uses this language – not of 50% partnership, but of mutual sacrifice where they will each rely wholly on the other at times.
God’s promise may sounds like an empty promise – saying “I won’t do it again” after he does it. When my kid says that, it’s frustrating, because I didn’t want him to do it in the first place! I might respond, “don’t promise not to break something again –you already broke it!”
But we can’t think of God as our child, and ourselves as the adults. He’s the creator, God the Father, and we’re the kids in this story. He’s the artist, we’re the masterpiece.
He doesn’t have to make this promise. He can reset our world as often as he wants, as destructively as he wants. But he makes this promise, willingly, sacrificially, between unequal parties. He knows we’ll probably let him down again, he’ll probably need to reset us again, but this destructive violence won’t be the way.
He creates something beautiful to show this – a rainbow. It’s not just a pretty phenomenon of light in water – it’s really his war bow, a weapon. He’s laid it down, he won’t use it against us anymore.
Question: How does this story point to Jesus?