11th October 2023
Read - Genesis 8:20-9:19
Message Alan Burke
We left off on Monday after being confronted with God’s verdict of how every inclination of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5-6) in his wrath in the flood there was a reversal of creation, un-creation if you will. The rains fall and the flood comes but because Noah was found righteous before the Lord he and his family were spared. Noah wasn’t spared because of his goodness but on the grace of God, Noah could not save himself, only the Lord could keep him from judgement in the flood, because of the Lord’s grace Noah was saved. In chapter 8 which we focus on the flood has receded and Noah makes a sacrifice to the Lord and the Lord we are told v21 smelled the pleasing aroma. It’s what comes next in this world of darkness that should give us confidence of what lies ahead because as he smelled the pleasing aroma the Lord said in his heart “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (8:21).
The flood and the un-creation and recreation as the flood waters subsided didn’t chance the human heart. Every inclination of his heart is evil all the time. Now we might recoil from this and think somehow we are good but again God is Holy Holy Holy and in him there is no sin, he cannot look upon sin and the pervasiveness of sin means that even our best efforts, what we see as good has so been tainted by sin that it is not good before a Holy God. Surely Noah was saved so he must have been good, must it not be that Noah as good? No, every inclination of Noah’s heart was only evil all the time the only reason why he was spared is that he had a righteousness that comes by faith in God, in his hope of the promises of God, he was spared by God’s grace. Then God made a covenant with Noah, encompassed in the covenant of grace that was first given to Adam and Eve about the one who would come to crush the head of the serpent (Gen 3:15).
Notice as we come to these verses in Genesis 8 how the Lord prefaces the covenant he makes, it comes there at the end of verse 21 “…never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”. While the Lord has brought his judgement, destroying all living creatures by the flood, this is a promise to Noah that the Lord would never again destroy all living creatures by a flood. The reason why is that the judgment of God in Noah’d day did not banish sin from the face of the earth, instead it acts as a lesson to the pervasiveness of sin for us, it teaches us about the mercy of God in his forbearance that he would wait and show mercy throughout the ages. Sins curse is such is that every inclination of our hearts are only evil all the time.
So what do we learn from this promise of God here in v22 and what comfort can we take of the promise of how as long as the earth endures seedtime and harvest and what it means for us that ‘As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’. Well that until the final judgment comes and the Lord Jesus Christ returns and separates the sheep from the goats, those who believe and those who don’t the seasons will continue, seedtime and harvest will come, cold and winter, day and night these things will never cease. ‘As long as the earth endures there will be regularity in God’s world and its cycles.
You want proof? Look in the mirror and you’ll see it. Despite occasional extremes of hot and cold weather, unseasonable occurrences, the seasons come and go, a cold summer, a mild winter, these things will continue throughout the ages, they will remain, just as day and night. We are so confident that tomorrow will come we make plans, we have food in our freezer, we wash the clothes for their next wear, we have a rhythm to life that has been given by God. Seedtime and harvest we are dependant on even though they may pass us by, the cold and heat, the summer and winter and the day and night we experience and they will never cease, this is God’s promise and his word is truth.
Q67 Which is the sixth commandment?
The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill. (Exod. 20:13)