“Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you….” – Genesis 9:9-10a
Scripture reading: Genesis 8:20-22; 9:9-11
Covenants between God and His people regulate the relationship He has with them and are often meant to deal with a problem that causes uncertainty in the relationship. We read how God did that with Noah before He came with the waters of the flood.
After the flood, God makes a new covenant with Noah and his family as well as with all of creation. This shows us another aspect of biblical covenants between God and His people. A new covenant often updates an earlier covenant to the new situation that it is dealing with. You can see this, for instance, with an engagement covenant and a marriage covenant. The marriage covenant simply regulates and updates the engagement covenant to the new situation of the marriage.
The new situation of God’s second covenant with Noah, now also including creation, is the new situation of continuing to live in a world that has once been destroyed by a flood. The problem that causes uncertainty in this new situation is the fact that the human heart was not cleansed with the water of the flood. The intention of man’s heart is still evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). But whereas before the flood, humanity’s depravity was the ground for God’s judgment, now this depravity becomes the ground for God’s mercy. God promises to never destroy the earth with a flood again. In doing so, He guarantees His commitment to the goal of His creation. He seals this commitment and guarantees it by establishing His covenant with Noah and creation.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank your heavenly Father that His commitment to a glorious new heaven and new earth is firm and sure.
Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren.