13th October 2023
Read - Genesis 8:20-9:19
Message Alan Burke
No matter how bad things look out there our God has graciously promised that as long as the earth endures there will be seedtime and harvest, God has kept his promises and each one of us are proof of that. This should be a great comfort, comfort in the knowledge that how in the midst of seedtime and harvest being threatened, in the midst of plague, famine, where there have been years of plenty and years of scarcity, some of abundance and other of want seedtime has come and so has the harvest otherwise none of us would be here. God’s promise here guarantees the continuation of humanity for as long as the earth endures. After this promise the Lord made a covenant with Noah, to his offspring after him, to every living creature and the sign that is given for this that never shall be all flesh cut off by water of the flood, the Lord has set his bow in the clouds, a sign of the covenant of God.
The sign that God has given is that of the beauty of a rainbow that hangs in the sky. The word that is used for bow in these verse from 13-16 is the word for a bow that is used in battle, like an archers bow. The Lord as the great God, who is like a mighty warrior (Jer 20:11) who has hung up his weapon after the flood. While he still thunders from heaven, shots arrows as the psalmist reminds us (18:13-14) the Lord has hung up his bow, he has made a truce for the time being in spite of how every inclination of our hearts are but evil so that as long as the earth endures that he will not send a universal flood, the presence of the rain clouds in the sky when the sun shines there will be a visible reminder of God’s grace towards us. God’s promise to us is written in the clouds, though the heavens open the rainbow is a reminder of the grace of our God to his creation, that he keeps his promises, it is a sign of his faithfulness.
While there will not again be a flood to destroy the earth, there will one day be a judgment of all the earth and its inhabitants, then the earth will be burned up and renewed, creation restored. While Noah was a righteous man in all of this before the Lord, while he was saved from the flood the engulfed the earth, Noah was still a sinful man with a heart that was inclined to do evil all the time. He was saved by faith alone, faith in God and what God would do though the promised one to come. Noah’s salvation was not because he built a boat, it was because he believed in the promises of God, knowing that his salvation was not by his own actions but reliant on the divine solution that the Lord would provide. For the Lord God has sent his Son, so that not only can we can be confident in the midst of this life that seedtime and harvest will remain we can be confident facing death that the divine solution has provided a means that we might be saved from the evil inclinations of our hearts through the sacrifice that was made for us, that we are righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. We may face local disasters, changes in climate, hotter summers, colder winters, but the cycle of seasons, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease, the earth will revolve around the sun, the stars will remain in the sky, the bow of the Lord has been hung in the sky and his promises are trustworthy and true.
Q69 What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto. (Acts 16:28, Gen. 9:6)