We take a little bit of a leap forward to get the big picture of the Bible. In between our previous passage and today’s reading, is a lot of sin. In those chapters, we find brother murdering brother and a growing contempt for God. Sin multiplies, and we see God move to cleanse the world. Grace, however, is also seen this passage of Scripture. The word “covenant” is introduced in this chapter too.
Read Genesis 6:5-7:24
The state of humanity is summed up in Genesis 6:5-6, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” I believe Romans 1:24 is an excellent commentary on the flood event and the actions of God afterward, “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” Romans 1:26 and 1:28, echo this idea of giving over. In my observation, it is God telling humanity that if they don’t want Him around through their continual sinning, he will grant their request and let them see the consequences of such an action. The evil of our present world is the outcome of man’s rejection of God.
God would go on to destroy the created world by flood. Noah, though, would find grace in God’s eyes. In the story, justice, mercy, and grace are on display. Justice is receiving what we deserve. Mercy is not receiving what we deserve. Grace is receiving something that we don’t deserve. Romans 3:23 teaches, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” The difference between Noah and the rest of the world was faith. The writer of Hebrews stated, “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (11:7). Faith is more than belief. It is faithfulness or the actual living out of what is believed to be true.
Covenants generally symbolized in today’s time. Ancient near-eastern covenants were solemn oaths, typically bonded by a blood sacrifice displaying the seriousness of the covenant. They were symbolized generally by a token. The token given by God to Noah was the rainbow. Every time we see a rainbow we are reminded of God’s promise to not destroy the world through a global flood. God keeps His promises. Second Peter 3:9 reads, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God would bring in new covenants throughout human history. The final covenant being made between Jesus Christ and man. That covenant is the promise of salvation by faith made possible by God’s grace in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.