Scriptures to Read: Genesis 6:5-22, 9:1-17
First of all, let’s talk about what a covenant is and why it is so important even in modern times. We will see all throughout this series different stories, covenants, and signs and how they are all symbols that will point towards Christ and the covenant established alongside that. Covenants are simply a binding agreement between two or more parties. Marriage for example is a covenant or agreement between a man, woman, and God. Covenants are important to us now because they are incredible reminders of God’s fulfilled promises, faithfulness in the midst of our wandering, and hope for a future promised with God under the new covenant. This is why we have chosen to study these stories. We are not theologians and by doing this series it forces us to examine the scriptures at a different level. It has already been so rewarding to be reminded of my hopeless state but in light of how wonderful God is to keep His promises in and through his administered covenants!
This past year I have really gotten to examine some of the covenants in the Bible and every single time I am left bewildered at how Christ and redemption ooze from the pages of Old Testament heroes. Now, most of us are pretty familiar with the story of Noah and the flood. However, I do not think that the greatest part of this story is as commonly known- The Noahic Covenant.
You can certainly read Genesis chapters 6-9 to get the full context and story of what the Noahic covenant is all about, and strongly encourage you to do so. Let me see if I can paint a brief picture of these chapters to shed some light on what I am talking about here.
Life on the earth had grown increasingly evil over time. So evil that the Bible says, “that every intention of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5b) However, Noah had found favor in the eyes of the Lord and God commanded him to gather up two of every kind of animal and his family and to build an ark. For God was going to send a flood to destroy all of earth and wipe out mankind. Noah obeyed and the Lord sent the flood. The flood finally subsided after 40 days and Noah, his family, and the animals exited the ark onto a new earth. Then Noah offers a sacrifice to God and God establishes his covenant with Noah.
Again, that was a very brief synopsis. I strongly encourage you to just go read the chapters for yourself cause there is so much more there than just what I skimmed over.
Something interesting that I learned while studying this covenant is the concept of grace. After Adam and Eve sinned God was under no obligation to establish any type of covenant with humanity, but yet he still does. These covenants are referred to as covenants of grace because how great is God to establish a covenant with an undeserving, sinful people! We see that exact concept in this story here. All of mankind was sinful and God deemed Noah worthy to build the ark and God picked Noah to establish his covenant with him. Noah did absolutely nothing at all. God laid everything out and all Noah did was obey and have faith in God.
Hebrews 11:7- “By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of righteousness that comes by faith.”
Genesis 9: 9-11- “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
In Genesis 9: 9-11, God establishes his covenant with Noah. Noah in a sense becomes the new Adam. Something that you will see that is unique about this covenant is it is universal. It is for all life upon the earth not just Noah and his family. The coolest thing to me in studying the covenants is the Gospel parallels. You can so easily see a cycle of creation, rebellion, redemption, and consummation in them all.
God had created everything as we see in the early chapters of Genesis and it was good. Mankind became so entirely corrupt and the Lord erased mankind starting over with Noah. Noah had faith that God would save him and the Lord did. Then he sets his covenant with Noah and promises to never blot out the earth by the flood again. He then provides Noah with a rainbow to signify his covenant. This parallels exactly to the Gospel. We are all created by God. We are all sinful, our hearts are entirely corrupt. God establishes his new covenant by Jesus. If we believe in this we can be saved too just like Noah. How incredible a shadow is that? When Noah offered up a sacrifice in Genesis 8 it says that it pleased the Lord. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice that satisfied the penalty God demanded for our sin!!
God is truly so amazing. I would argue that while the flood is a magnificent story, a greater story lies in the truths behind the covenant of grace established by God to Noah and all living things. This is such a nursery time story, yet we often don’t even hear this incredible aspect of it. What a shame that we are missing out on such a message. God was faithful to his covenant with Noah and we see that here today. God is truly so deserving of our praise and trust, and I am increasingly thankful we have the covenants to show for that!
 ESV Study Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, 2016.