Saturday, May 04, 2019

2019.05.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 9:8-17

Questions for Littles: Who spoke to Noah (Read Genesis 9:8)? Who was with Noah? What is established in Genesis 9:9? Who establishes the covenant? Whose covenant is it? With what two groups is it established in verse 9? Who else benefits from the covenant (Genesis 9:10)? What covenantal benefit does the Lord promise here (Genesis 9:11)? In Genesis 9:12, what does God say He is going to give to show His covenant? What is that sign that He uses to show the covenant (Genesis 9:13)? Who puts it there? Whose bow is it? Who brings clouds over the earth (Genesis 9:14)? What happens every single time there is a cloud? How does God respond to the bow (Genesis 9:15)? What is in the cloud (Genesis 9:16)? What does God do to the bow? How does God respond to the bow? To whom, specifically, does God now speak in Genesis 9:17? What, specifically, does God point out in this verse?
In our sermon passage for tomorrow, we get introduced to the idea of a covenant and a covenant sign. God is going to bind Himself to Noah (and his sons with him), in an agreement in which each commits himself to the other.

God has already given a number of commands, repeating the creation mandate as we saw before: fill the earth with people who hate their sin, hope in Christ’s sacrifice, enjoy Christ as the display of God’s glory, and imitate Christ (by Christ’s power) as a display of Christ’s glory.

Now, in Genesis 9:8-17, Noah understands that these are covenant-requirements. And they’re not optional. It’s not just Noah’s sons who are brought into this agreement without their consent, just because they are with him. Noah himself is brought into this covenant without his consent.

What does the Lord commit Himself to do? To not destroy the whole earth. That might not sound like a big deal, but we have already learned in Genesis 8:20-22, that—because of man’s totally sinful nature—it literally costs the life and death of Jesus Christ to keep this promise. Only because of the completeness of His Son’s sacrifice and obedience to come, as one of us, can God keep that promise.

And God puts a display of that in the sky. The word almost always means “bow” and a few times, it means “archer.” This was a weapon of lethal power, and the bow is bent such that the string is pulled back toward the earth and aimed at God Himself. Until the earth itself comes under the fire of His wrath, the Lord will preserve it for the sake of His own future coming to bear His own wrath. Sinners will be saved from God, by God, for God.

God doesn’t need a bow in the clouds. But He chooses it as a sign that He gives, and to which He will respond, so that it will be a great help to Noah’s faith. The rainbow is a help to faith. Without faith, a rainbow is just evidence that in the providence of God, different wavelengths of light bend different amounts as they refract through water. But with faith in God’s words about God’s covenant of grace, a rainbow is a display that God is keeping His commitment to do everlasting good to all sinners who belong to Jesus Christ--the one who was pierced for us.
What signs has God given us of His commitment to forgive us and give us life? What had to be done for our forgiveness? From what flood does this protect us? What kind of life do we get? For the signs to work this way for us, what must we have in Whom?
Suggested Songs: ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH270 “At the Name of”

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