A Covenant In a Bow

Lots of interesting things in Genesis 9… where to start? First of all, “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.'” ~Genesis 9:1. God wanted the earth to be full of people. God’s got it all under His control and has provided this earth for us to live on.

Are there areas of the world where many people live and the land cannot sustain them? Then God wants us to reach out to help as best we can. The famine across the horn of Africa right now is the result of the worst drought conditions in 60 years. First of all, PRAY! Then, if you are led, find your favorite charity that will send food aid, and donate NOW.

Okay, back to Genesis 9:2-3~ “‘And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.'”

God blessed Noah and his sons, and then He gave the animals to them for food. Before this, everyone was a vegetarian. Now, meat was added to their diet. And fear was instilled in all of the creatures of the earth, so that they would be afraid of people. It wouldn’t be easy to add that meat to their diet. How amazing it must have been to have the animals unafraid!

Next, God installed capital punishment. “‘Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.'” ~Genesis 9:6. This is laid out plain and simple. God made man in His own image and put His blessing upon him. If you take the life of a man, then your life shall be taken. End of discussion.

The earth was seriously changed by the Flood. The terrain was vastly different, and no longer was there the canopy of water above it. This must have made the perfect conditions for God’s covenant bow to appear.

“‘And I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.'” ~Genesis 9:11-16 

Whenever a rainbow appears in the sky, doesn’t it make you take notice? I tend to stop whatever I’m doing to admire its beauty. And then I point it out to others, for rainbows are rare and so lovely. Whenever a rainbow appears in the sky, God takes notice, also. It is a reminder, not just for us, but for God Himself, that He will never again destroy all living things with a flood.

Unfortunately, because sin is in our nature, this chapter has a curse. Noah’s first recorded words in the Bible are a curse he bestowed upon his youngest son Ham’s son, Canaan, because of Ham’s sin of disrespecting his father. 

“So he said, ‘Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brothers.'” ~Genesis 9:25. The Canaanites are gone, so this curse no longer applies. The other sons of Ham were not cursed.

Noah then blessed his other two sons:

“He also said, ‘Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant.'” ~Genesis 9:26-27

We know that Shem became the father of the Semites, the Jews. I looked up the meaning of Shem in Hebrew, and it means “name”. The root word can be used for “The Name”, God Himself.

God’s people, the people of Israel, are named after God Himself! We are told to pray for the safety and blessing of Israel and Jerusalem. I’m going to do that today. Remember the people of Africa, too. 


This entry was posted in and Japheth, Genesis, Ham, Israel, Jews, July 2011, Noah, Rainbow, Shem, The Flood. Bookmark the permalink.

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