Posted by Craig Borlase on 10 June 2014

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 destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.’

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. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 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. 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.’

So God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.’

Genesis 9:8-17

 

What follows is another Biblical first. There are more to come, but this is the first Covenant - a contract, if you like - that God makes with His people through one of their own. It's a deal that still stands today: God promises never to wipe out all of human life again with a natural disaster. It does not revolve around a personal relationship, but instead is 'between me and the earth'. God's fresh start, His ultimate New Deal offers us security and the promise of something special: God's presence. 

Pretty mind blowing stuff, huh? I mean, if you'd just been through what Noah had been through, the chances are you'd be walking around in a daze. Funnily enough, Noah was, but it wasn't a blissed-out spirit trip that he was on. As soon as his grapes were ready he went out and got well and truly wasted on home brew, stripped off his clothes and passed out in his tent. 

But what did God think? Had He picked a dud? Did He consider rolling back time so that He could go back and start all over, this time without boozy-Noah? That's not the point. You see, there's only ever been one person without sin. Through the Old Testament we read story after story of God using people despite their weaknesses. Good job too, otherwise we'd be in a right old state.

God's promise marked a new beginning for mankind. Noah's party gave a few hints about human nature. Our lives can be a strange mix: touched by God one minute and overcome by our own desires the next. 

We are failers. To admit it does not negate the impact of sin any more than it does limit the potential of God to use us. It simply means that we know who gets the glory. Without God, we’re nothing. We may have gifts and talents and resources, but they are all on loan from God, all a pale reflection of His amazing goodness.

We don’t need to keep any of the glory for ourselves. It all belongs to God.

Isn’t that the most wonderfully liberating truth? 

 

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