The covenants that God makes in the Bible give us a glimpse into His heart for humanity, and His plan for our redemption. On Sunday I spoke about the Abrahamic covenant, but there is one covenant mentioned earlier than that, and it is the Noahic covenant.
The first time the word covenant appears is with the account of Noah and the flood. In Gen 6, we read about how God sees that there is great evil in the world, and moves to destroy it.
Gen 6:17-18 - “I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.”
Noah builds an ark, as God commands. He brings the animals in, and the flood comes as God said. Floodwaters cover the whole earth, and only Noah and his family were safe. When the flood was over, we read in Gen 9:9-17:
“I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
The importance of the Noahic covenant is that it sets things up. God the Creator had exercised His right to push the reset button when sin was ruining everything. But here He states that He was going to put aside that right until the end of time.
Hear this: God made an unchanging promise that no matter how evil or bad we get, God would give us the fullness of time to change. We have a chance to make a difference now without worry that God is going to just blast us all into oblivion.
This is a part of the grace that God shows us, that we have time. Time to make amends. Time to find salvation. Time to change and be different. If there is time, there is hope. God is still working, and as long as there is tomorrow, there is still time. The other covenants build on this idea that God is giving us time.
How are you using the time that you have been given?