This week we look at Chapters 8 & 9. The flood has come and Noah and his family and the animals are in the ark. The central verse of these chapters is 8:1:- God remembered Noah. Whilst Noah was safe from the flood waters he and his family were still very vulnerable. This can be our experience as we live in a violent and unstable world. We wonder has God forgotten me ? Does God care ? This passage reminds us that the answer to those questions is a big Yes. Further God remembering Noah and us assumes that He makes a movement toward us to help us. He does that with Noah by bringing him safely through the flood waters and He does that with us by sending Jesus.
The first thing which Noah does when he disembarks is to offer a sacrifice to God – 8:20. Of course he must have been very thankful to the Lord but this sacrifice has a different element. We understand the significance of this sacrifice by God’s response. God is pleased with the sacrifice and says that though people are evil God promises to never destroy all living creatures by flood. God expresses his ongoing commitment to this world in 8:22. Given this context Noah’s sacrifice points to it being a sacrifice for sin. God’s anger at sin has been satisfied. This is very foreign to our culture but it expresses the fact that God is a God of justice who requires accountability. At this point in the Bible we are learning that for sin to be forgiven there must be a sacrifice or the offering of a life. This is developed in the period when Israel enters the promised land and sacrifices for sin are required so guilt is removed.
Understanding these Old Testament sacrifices help us to understand Jesus’ sacrifice for sin that justice was done, a life was given instead of my life and God is now pleased and forgiveness is offered.
This passage is also encouraging because we learn that God is committed to His world and the implication is that God has a continuing purpose for us. This commitment in 8:22 is reinforced by God repeating the original command to people at creation to go into the world and be fruitful and multiply. It is a fresh start. This fresh start is important. For many people in our world today they have lost a
sense of purpose and hope and wonder why they are living. Both the creation of the world in Genesis 1-2 and this reaffirmation of God’s purpose for people after the flood encourage us that God is committed to us and that despite many trials life is worth it.
In 9:18-29 despite knowing that Noah has been described as righteous and blameless we also see that he fails and gets drunk. It is a reminder that for sin to be removed from us we need God to work in our hearts and change our motivations and desires. In the Lord Jesus He promises to do that and give us a new heart (2 Cor 5:17). We are also encouraged that the rainbow is a sign that God is committed to His world and won’t give up on us. When Jesus came this covenant was developed so that Jesus promised us eternal life and forgiveness. God’s Blessing.
Rev David O'Mara