The hope of a new beginning – the rainbow of peace after the storm of judgment
V. 1"Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth." The Lord starts over again with the same blessing and the same commandment He gave to Adam and Eve. He is the God of second chances and judgment of His people is His "strange work" (Isa. 28:21). The Hebrew Scripture is not a record of the wrath of God, but of His long patience toward His erring people, whom He still desires to call "My people" (Ex. 6:2-8 ). "He does not afflict willingly." (Lam. 3:33) It is not God's purpose to bring trouble to humankind. Yet one may ask a question: What about the evil that comes from the malice of individuals and not from God? There is no wrong done on earth that falls outside the control of God. (T. Nelson Comm.) God will one day rightly settle all accounts.
Understanding God's judgments – God judges, disciplines and opposes and brings to naught all those who try to thwart His purpose of glorifying His Name. (See Psalm 2; Isa. 40; Hebrews 12:3-11; James 4:4-6) "For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do well. Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord's majesty. O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people." (Isa.26:9-11 NLT)
Israel later kept God's command to be fruitful (have children) and grew from 70 people to 2 million plus. (see Ex. 1:7) But the people after Noah did not obey God's Word to fill the earth but tried to remain in one place and the Lord had to deal with them. (Gen. 11:1-8)
Vv. 2-3- Now the people can have a good ole' southern diet -meat and potatoes – not just veggies.
V. 6 "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." God institutes capital punishment to restrain the sin of murder. All life belongs to God for He created all life. This is what makes life sacred. "Made by God" is stamped on every soul and thus every human being (beginning in the womb) is dear to our Lord. He owns us and for us as believers we are twice owned; created by God and recreated in Christ Jesus -bought back by Jesus' shed blood. (1 Cor. 6:19-20) (In Lev. 17 we learn the spiritual significance of blood. If a creature loses its blood, it loses its life. God appointed blood to have this power because it represents the life of the creature. A life may receive atonement only by the sacrifice of a life. The author of Hebrews emphasized the temporary nature of animal blood sacrifices. Jesus' one-time sacrifice of Himself is effective eternally because He did not offer an annual sacrifice of animals, but offered Himself. His sacrifice never has to be repeated because it is perfect. Heb. 9:12-14, 25-28 – T. Nelson Comm.)
Vv.13-16 – "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life." The word used here for rainbow (bow – "qeset") is the same Hebrew word for a battle bow. God lays down His battle bow and makes peace with mankind. As the Israelites later read the Torah and would see a rainbow in the skies they were reminded of God's covenant of grace and peace. Today as New Testament believers the sign of God's covenant of peace to us is nothing less than the Body and Blood of His only begotten Son. "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." (1 Cor. 11: 24-25) "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54) "Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Rom. 5:9) At Calvary God laid down His battle bow once and for all. The only proper response to God's mercy triumphing over His judgment (James 2:13) is to "bow" down to Him in grateful obedience. (Rom. 12:1)
"The sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem, Ham and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth." Now all people are descendents of Noah through one of his sons, Shem, Ham or Japheth.
"So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall." (1 Cor. 10:12) Vv. 20 -27 tell of "righteous" Noah's drunkenness and nakedness and Ham's mocking disrespect of his father and the curse on his son Canaan. Ham's disrespectful attitude and moral abandonment is passed on to his son and his descendents. We never sin in a vacuum and it can have a ripple effect for years to come. (Ex. 20:5) Likewise a person's righteousness can have a salt and light influence on his family and community for years to come. (Ex. 20:6; Matt. 5:13-16) The Scriptures encourage us to keep good company. "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."(1 Cor. 15:33, also see Psalm 119: 63, 74, 79)
Drunkenness is often accompanied by moral looseness and sexual sins in the Scripture. There are many warnings about wine and strong drink in the Scriptures and we would be wise to heed them.. (Prov. 20:1; 23:19-21, 29-35; 31:3-7; Hab. 2:15; Isa. 5:22-23) Paul argues that even though we may have freedom in certain "gray areas" we should restrict our freedom out of love for those whom it may cause to stumble. (Rom. 14:15-21; 1 Cor. 8:9-13)
From Canaan came the Canaanites who were so evil and wicked that God used Israel to be His rod of judgment to remove this moral cancer from the earth. God has every right to take the life of those He created. The Canaanites offered human sacrifices to their false gods and engaged in all kinds of sexual sins and perversion. (See Lev. 18, 20) Some once believed that the curse on Canaan justified the slavery of African peoples but those people misinterpreted the verse. Many of Ham and Canaan's descendents were rulers of powerful nations. (Babylon, Egypt and others)
Unlike Noah's day which had a new beginning but fell back into sin, God's end time universal judgment (Matt. 24) will be the final judgment and God's promise to us as believers is this: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." 5He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Rev. 21:1-5)
Discussion Questions FOR APPLICATION OF GOD'S WORD
"For only when you come to judge the earth will people learn what is right. Your kindness to the wicked does not make them do good Although others do right, the wicked keep doing wrong and take no notice of the Lord's majesty. 11 O Lord, they pay no attention to your upraised fist. Show them your eagerness to defend your people." (Isa.26:9-11 NLT) God judges, disciplines and opposes and brings to naught all those who try to thwart His purpose of glorifying His Name. "God will judge the wicked with severe catastrophic judgment in order to start life over with a holy people who worship Him." (Alan P. Ross) Ultimately this is a picture of heaven. Read Psalm 2 to see how God deals with unbelievers and Heb. 12:5-11 and James 4:4-6 to see how He deals with us as believers. Do you appreciate God's loving discipline? Why or why not?
All life belongs to God for He created all life. How do pro-choice people deal with this statement?
"You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor. 6:19-20) How do believers deal with this statement? What does God's ownership of your life mean to you in day to day living?
God lays down His battle bow and makes peace with mankind. At Calvary God laid down His battle bow once and for all. The only proper response to God's mercy triumphing over His judgment (James 2:13) is to "bow" down to Him in grateful obedience. (Rom. 12:1) Discuss what Rom. 12:1 means to you.
God will one day rightly settle all accounts. Can you like Jesus trust the injustices in your life to Him and wait until that Day when all accounts will be rightly settled? Scripture memory verse: "For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly." (1 Peter 2: 19-23)