The rainbow is not a symbol of unlimited human freedom, but of God's gracious covenant.
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Genesis 9 (ESV)
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them,
and fill the earth.
2 The fear of you and the dread of you
shall be upon every beast of the earth
and upon every bird of the heavens,
upon everything that creeps on the ground
and all the fish of the sea.
Into your hand they are delivered.
3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.
as I gave you the green plants,
I give you everything.
4 But you shall not eat flesh
with its life,
that is, its blood.
5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning:
from every beast I will require it
and from man.
From his fellow man
I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man
in his own image.
7 And you,
be fruitful and multiply,
increase greatly on the earth
and multiply in it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,
9 “Behold, I establish my covenant
and your offspring after you,
10 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.
11 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.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me
and every living creature that is with you,
for all future generations:
13 I have set my bow in the cloud,
and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
I bring clouds over the earth
and the bow is seen in the clouds,
15 I will remember my covenant that is between me
and every living creature of all flesh.
And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 When the bow is in the clouds,
I will see it
and remember the everlasting covenant
and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
17 God said to Noah,
“This is the sign
of the covenant
that I have established
and all flesh that is on the earth.”
18 The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were
(Ham was the father of Canaan.)
19 These three were the sons of Noah,
and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.
20 Noah began to be a man of the soil,
and he planted a vineyard.
21 He drank of the wine
and became drunk
and lay uncovered in his tent.
22 And Ham,
the father of Canaan,
saw the nakedness of his father
and told his two brothers outside.
23 Then Shem and Japheth
took a garment,
laid it on both their shoulders,
and walked backward
and covered the nakedness of their father.
Their faces were turned backward,
and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
24 When Noah
awoke from his wine
and knew what his youngest son had done to him,
25 he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Blessed be the Lord,
the God of Shem;
and let Canaan be his servant.
27 May God
and let him dwell in the tents of Shem,
and let Canaan be his servant.”
28 After the flood Noah lived 350 years. 29 All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.
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Genesis 9 Summary
v1-7 - God re-establishes His creation, once again giving dominion to man, albeit in a far different way than the initial creation.
v8-19 - God enters into a covenant with not just Noah and his future offspring, but also with every living creature.
A covenant is a solemn agreement in which two parties contract with each other (I will do this / you will do that).
From the very beginning God has a covenantal relationship with mankind: He will be our God and we will be His people.
This covenant is different: it's between God and all living creatures, and no stipulations are placed upon the living creatures.
God promises to never again destroy the world with a flood, no matter how sinful it becomes.
The rainbow, which has been hijacked by modern society, is the symbol of God's universal grace.
v20-28 - The first recorded incident after the Flood is an ugly one. Ham's sin could be interpreted as simply making fun of Noah, or it could be understood that Ham assaulted Noah sexually.
In either interpretation, sin continues to prevail as society is re-established.
The story of Noah ends in the same way as all who came before him: "And he died."
God's salvation in the midst of the flood saved biological life, but a better Savior will be need to defeat sin and death.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. - v6
This verse is often used as the rationale for capital punishment. Notice that the reason a murder's life must be taken is:
to set an example so as to discourage people from murdering each other;
to get revenge against murderers.
a recognition of the value of human life since we are image bearers of God.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, creator of all things, who continues to sustain all things despite our sin because of His grace;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be fruitful and multiply the grace God's given you as His Covenant child and image bearer.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: