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God Remembers His Covenant: Genesis 6:1-8, 7:1-6, 9:12-17

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6:00
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God Remembers His Covenant

September 22, 2013

Lesson: Genesis 6:1-8, 7:1-6, 9:12-17

Key Verse: Genesis 9:15

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Introduction

The two seeds of Adam multiplied on the earth. In the line of Seth, we have Enoch, the first prophet mentioned in the Bible. It is written that “Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years and begat sons and daughter” “Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Methuselah lived until the time of the flood. Noah was five hundred years old, and fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Each line represents the wicked and righteous of this world. On the one hand, there are those of Cain, whose desire to get rid of God’s curse set themselves apart as gods, ruling according to their own moral laws. The others are of Seth, whose hope is rested upon the redemptive grace of God in Christ.

Noah was 600 years old at the time of the flood, Methuselah, 969 years old. It is good to remember that God had made a covenant with Adam and Eve; saying to Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Gen. 3:15). Is not this hostility between the seed of evil, and the seed (Christ) of the woman, Christ Himself? Satan’s desire will be brought to naught, even though he would try to destroy the Christ. This covenant established in Christ by the Father is at work at the time of Noah and the flood. God would bring evil to its knees, while He brings victory to those whom He has chosen to be His own.

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Wickedness of Man—Genesis 6:1–8

When men “began to multiply on the face of the earth,” sin was also on the increase. Proverbs 29:16 set the stage of the wicked and the righteous: “When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth; but the righteous shall see their fall.” The world became home to the two lines of generations which came from Eve, those of Cain and Seth. Corruption spread faster than righteousness. This is partially attributed to the fact that “the sons of God (especially those from the line of Seth) saw the daughters of men, that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.” Wives were not chosen because of their spiritual virtues, or that their clothing was “strength and honor” (Prov. 31:25); but they were chosen because of the lust of their eyes. They “formed illicit marriages after their own lust; …they mingled themselves with the wicked, they profaned the worship of God, and fell away from the faith” (Calvin).

With the state of marriages today, within and without the church, we must be ready for the judgment of God. For we profane both the marriage instituted by God as holy and His Body the Church, which is the Bride for whom He died. Divorce is a dark sinful blemish upon marriage.

God said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” God’s grace to all men is seen in His longsuffering with the wicked. God’s grace with His righteous children brings to them the hope of eternal fellowship with their Creator. God’s grace in forbearance and patience gives the wicked time to know that their end is justified in the hand of the Creator. They refuse the grace offered and declare that they are the captain of their souls. Therefore, his contending with man and His sin having come to an end, there will be only a short time before He brings final judgment, of a hundred and twenty years. A time of repentance is afforded man, the Lord “though weary with the wickedness of men, yet postpones the execution of extreme vengeance for more than a century” (Calvin).

They were giants, fierce warriors, famous men, or those who produced many things that made them great, as well as having many children. But their end was death: “God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth.” The thoughts of their hearts were “only evil continually.” So great was the sin that it is recorded that “it repented the Lord that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.” The word “repent” means to breathe strongly, to feel repentance, to take vengeance, to feel sorrow. The Lord does not change His mind, but, in His righteousness needs to bring justice upon those who would wickedly rebel against Him. His ‘repenting’ reveals the depth of sin and its consequences. God does not take joy in His vengeance.

Therefore, the Lord’s sentence is, “I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth.” This destruction, because of the evil of man, sweeps across the whole earth, even to the beast and fowls of the air. Man corrupts all that he touches. BUT! “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Wicked man cannot frustrate the plan of God to have a people for Himself (1 Peter 2:9–10). His covenant with Adam and Eve stands. His Christ would come to destroy the evil one. In His chosen child, God would bring a flood of victory!

Discussion: What were the depth and extent of wickedness?

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Grace of God—Genesis 7:1–6

The Lord commanded Noah to build an ark, according to God’s own specifications. This Noah did “according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” (6:22). The Lord spoke to Noah, giving the reason for calling Noah to such a task: “for thee have I seen righteousness before me in this generation.” It was not Noah’s righteousness that brought him and his family into the ark, but the covenant faithfulness of God. God’s sovereign decree drew Noah into the ark. This was God’s eternal decree, His predestination, His everlasting Covenant that He would be God to His people. He alone will work all things together according to His will and purpose. It is God who worked righteousness in the heart of Noah. It is in Christ’s righteousness that we too live in obedience and faith today.

Verses two and three tell us about the execution of God’s saving grace, for both Noah and His creation. Verses five and six speak again of Noah’s obedience to “all that the Lord commanded him.” Since it is our chief end to glorify and enjoy God, we are directed by God Himself, by His Spirit and Word written (Shorter Catechism 1–3). In all that Noah did he glorified God and declared His wonderful works.

Discussion: How was Noah’s righteousness shown?

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Between God and His Church—Genesis 9:11–17

God established His covenant with Noah, saying that He would not again bring a flood to destroy the earth, and that there would be a “token of the covenant which I make between me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Here God’s covenant is also confirmed to us. For this Covenant is made between God and His Church. The Lord repeats His covenant between Himself and His people to Moses, saying, “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever” (Ex. 31:16–17). Whether the sign is the rainbow—which confirms that God will not destroy the earth with water, or the sign of the Sabbath—which is a sign of obedience, the Covenant affirms the truth that God has established a fellowship between Himself and His people.

God promised Noah that He would remember His covenant “which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.” God Himself will look upon the bow, that He would remember “the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature.” As we look at the rainbow and remember that God is faithful in keeping His covenant, so we must look to the Son of God, Christ Jesus and know that the eternal covenant will be kept. God said to Noah, “This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.” God’s Covenant, which establishes a fellowship of love between Him and His people, is affirmed in these words of Christ: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

Discussion: Who does God’s Covenant embrace?

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Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2013 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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