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July 2, 2024

Genesis Part 11

We’ve been studying in the book of Genesis looking at Noah and the Flood the last couple weeks.




GENESIS 8:17-9:29

We’ve been studying in the book of Genesis looking at Noah and the Flood the last couple weeks. Since man’s first sin in the Garden people have grown increasingly evil. God finally has had enough. It says in Genesis Chapter 6 that God “regretted He had made man on the earth and it grieved Him to His heart.” God decides to wipe out mankind from the face of the earth. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). In contrast to sinful humanity Noah is described as “a righteous man, blameless… who walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). God chooses Noah as His instrument to save a remnant of mankind and the animals. God instructs Noah to build an ark, load up the animals, and provisions. “And Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him” (Genesis 6:22). Noah obeys God. After Noah and members of his family and the animals have entered the ark, God shuts and seals it. Then “the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11). For 40 days and 40 nights the waters prevailed on the earth until they covered the tops of the mountains. Everyone perished except those who were safely secured inside the ark.

Genesis 7:23 closes with these words: “[The LORD] blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground.” Then it adds this: “Only Noah was left and those who were with him in the ark.” Genesis Chapter 8 opens by saying, “But God remembered Noah…and all that were with him in the ark.” After 7 and a half months, the ark finally comes to rest upon the mountains of Ararat in modern day Turkey. Slowly the floodwaters begin to recede. Noah and his family have been in the ark for just over a year when God tells them “Go out from the ark.” And that’s where we left off last time…

READ Genesis 8:15-19

Noah and his family are the only human beings left on the entire earth! Everybody else has been wiped out in cataclysmic judgment. Think about how Noah and company feel as they exit the ark and see before them a much different world than when they entered. There are undoubtedly evidences of death, desolation and destruction all around as they venture out.

Notice that the animals went out by families from the ark. They had entered the ark in pairs, male and female. Apparently, the animals have reproduced during their year-plus stay inside the ark.

READ Genesis 8:20

This is the first time that an altar is mentioned in the Bible and it is an altar to the Lord. We know that in Genesis Chapter 4 Cain and Abel had brought offerings to the Lord. However there was no specific mention of an altar. Noah’s burnt offering is an act of voluntary worship. The burnt offering is made from a wide selection of the “clean” animals he had on the ark. Their carcasses are completely consumed by fire. We are not told that God directed Noah to do this. As he offers the burnt offering to God Noah acts as his family’s priest and in a real sense as the priest for all humanity to come. One of the first things they do when they get off the ark is this act of worship.

So then, what prompts Noah to perform this voluntary act of worship? One reason is to express his thankfulness to God for their salvation. Another reason might just be to express complete and utter devotion to the Lord. But what I really see going on here is that Noah being a righteous man, he fully realizes that he and his family are sinners. He knows that they are all undeserving recipients of God’s grace. As such Noah recognizes their need for repentance. As we will see very soon this family is far from perfect. Noah knows that he and his family deserved what everyone else on the earth got – death. And so it is that we see Noah leading his family in an act of worshipful devotion to the Lord for a multitude of reasons. 

Was God pleased? YES.

READ Genesis 8:21

God is pleased by Noah’s offering. God promises to never ever again destroy the entire earth by flood. Notice that phrase, “For the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” This is in the present tense. At this point there are no other people alive on the earth. There is only Noah and his family. So they too are sinners! God spared them, not because of their own goodness, not because they deserved it; but because of HIS great mercy. The Flood did NOT purge the earth of man’s sin problem. The Flood did NOT get rid of evil in the world. Man’s fallen nature remains the same as it was in the Garden. Despite Noah and his family’s sinful condition, God displayed His grace. Let’s make this personal. Despite OUR present sinful condition, God continues to show US His grace! And aren’t you glad that He does?

READ Genesis 8:22

This speaks to God’s faithfulness in our everyday lives. I think of my own life -- My heart is still beating! I’m not living under a bridge in the cold. I haven’t missed any meals. I have friends and family who care about me. So why does God extend grace to sinners like me and like you? Why is He so patient with us? Paul tells us in Romans: “Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). Paul preaching on Mars Hill in Athens says, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). So His purpose ultimately is to lead us to repentance.

Well back to Genesis. It’s a strange new world that Noah and his family find themselves living in. God now provides them with some direction. The first several verses of Genesis Chapter 9 are God’s words of blessing for Noah, his family and for all mankind. They are general blessings for all humans, whether they are believers in God or not. This is what we call “common grace.”

READ Genesis 9:1

The blessing given here is the same one that God gave to Adam and Eve back in the Garden, “Be fruitful and multiply.” God’s desire is for mankind to procreate. Establishing families, having kids and grandkids – these are blessings from God. We humans create these little “images of God” and then we actively engage in a unique relationship with them.

READ Genesis 9:2

Man remains as God’s representative, ruling over God’s created order here on earth. But something has changed in man’s relationship with the animal kingdom. All the animals now have a God-instilled fear of humans. This is actually a good thing. For the most part the fiercest of the wild beasts stay away from humans out of fear. Generally unless we threaten them they leave us alone. Mankind has been given dominion over the animal kingdom. God has given man the authority to use the animals responsibly as he sees fit. We can utilize them as pets, for transportation, for pleasure, to help with farming or various tasks, as guide dogs, carrier pigeons, for milk, for their skins, for meat, wool, fur, and so forth. We are God’s caretakers of His physical world. This includes the trees, plants and the animals.

READ Genesis 9:3

During the year on the ark apparently humans and animals were vegetarians out of necessity. Any question about the post-flood rules, such as whether the animals can be eaten, is clearly addressed here. God encourages Noah and his family to eat the animals. Notice that there is no prohibition against eating certain animals – those restrictions will be given much later in the Law to God’s covenant people as a way of to setting them apart from the other nations. Right now all animals are fair game!

READ Genesis 9:4

While it may be true that God does not prohibit eating any certain animals, we see here that He does prohibit eating them alive or raw. This is to protect man from diseases, bacteria, parasites, viruses and so forth that are carried through the body by means of the blood. The animal needs to be killed, then cooked by fire, and then eaten.

God says, “And while we are on the subject of blood…”

READ Genesis 9:5-7

Here God prohibits the killing of a human being by other people or by the animals. God places a high value on human life because humans were created in God’s image. Mankind is a unique creation. Having been created in God’s image means many things – that man is transcendent, lives forever, is both a physical as well as spiritual being, has self-consciousness, can reason, can think abstractly, is able to appreciate art and beauty, exhibit emotions, has moral consciousness, has meaningful interpersonal relationships including a deep awareness of his Creator.

In these verses God institutes the practice of capital punishment to be used in cases of murder. As we will notice later in the Mosaic Law, this does not apply to accidental killing, self-defense or wartime.

Now we get to God’s covenant with Noah.

READ Genesis 9:8-17

God makes a unilateral, unconditional covenant with Noah and with all living creatures. Seven times in this passage the word “covenant” is repeated. God initiates the covenant. It is His personal promise. It will last until God destroys the earth by fire in 2 Peter Chapter 3, at the end of time. Then He will create a new heaven and a new earth. This is good news for Noah and his family as their one time experience with rainfall was traumatic. God promises that He will never do that again. It will certainly rain and flood again, but it will not destroy the earth. And what is the sign of this covenant promise? The rainbow.

In his commentary on Genesis Chapter 9 John MacArthur says this: “The whole Flood story is a revelation of God's holy wrath. God is a God of vengeance, a God of judgment, a God of wrath. But the rainbow is a sign that God is also a God of mercy and a God of grace and a God of patience and a God of peace. There will be a final wrath to come in which the universe will be destroyed by fire and all sinners will perish.”

READ Genesis 9:18-19

This one singular family will in time populate the whole earth. The entire genetic coding of all races of people (containing various skin colors, facial features, eye shapes, eye colors, hair colors, body types) – all of this was contained in Adam and Eve and gets passed down through Noah and his wife. All of us descended from the same family. You know what that means? It means that we are all in effect ONE RACE, just one. It is called “the human race.”

If anyone has a chance to create a more perfect world than existed before the Flood it’s THIS family. Noah their patriarch had been declared a righteous man who walked with God. And his family faithfully followed him as God-fearers themselves. But the original audience of Genesis, the conquest generation of Israelites (they are about to take possession of the Promised Land), have just been given a hint in the text by Moses that sin looms on the horizon. Do you see that remark in parenthesis in v 18? “Ham was the father of Canaan.” It will appear again in v 22. The Israelites know full well that the Canaanites, the descendants of this same person Canaan, are a very wicked people group. So even in Noah’s good family there is an element of sinfulness that exists. The story that follows illustrates this for us. Let’s read what happens.

READ Genesis 9:20-21

Moses gets drunk. He loses his inhibitions. Winds up laying naked in his tent. Noah loses control of his senses. He acts in an impure fashion exposing himself. This action does NOT honor God.

READ Genesis 9:22

Ham sees his father lying naked. Ham goes to his two brothers Shem and Japheth and says, “Hey you gotta come see this!” What should Ham have done instead? He should have covered his father up. Instead Ham disrespects his father.

READ Genesis 9:23

Shem and Japheth being fully aware of the situation go into their father’s tent and cover up his shamefulness. They do the right thing. They do what Ham should have done.

READ Genesis 9:24

Noah awakes from his drunken stupor. He is apparently made aware of what had happened. For the first time we hear Noah speak. With the heart attitudes of his three sons having been revealed, Noah pronounces curses and blessings on them.

READ Genesis 9:25

Why didn’t Noah curse Ham? The best answer is that despite Ham’s transgression in this story, he is still a true believer in God. Instead God curses his son Canaan. Now, we know nothing about this man Canaan other than what we read here. He was Ham’s son and Noah cursed him even before he is born. This curse here is a prophetic oracle given under God’s direction. So why does God assign this curse to Ham’s son Canaan. The simple answer is that God knows that Canaan is going to turn out to be an unbeliever; that he will reject the God of his father and grandfather. An all-wise, all-knowing God is aware of this. It isn’t that God MADE Canaan evil. It is that God KNOWS that Canaan will become evil. God here does not curse Canaan because of what his father Ham did. God curses Canaan because of what Canaan and his family will become. As we will learn later, the Canaanites as a people group will be the main enemies of God’s covenant people. Canaan’s curse is that he and his offspring will become slaves to the families of Shem and Japheth. And history bears this out.

READ Genesis 9:26-27

The two sons who did what was right each receive a blessing. Out of the family of Shem will come a man named Abraham. Out of Abraham of course comes the Israelite nation. As for the family of Japheth, his descendants will be enlarged. And as it turns out, more of the world’s population today have descended from Japheth than from his other two brothers.

READ Genesis 9:28-29

Well, sin survived the flood and here we see that so did death.

One final thought about Noah – Noah lived another 300 years AFTER the Flood! He lived long enough to witness the tower of Babel. He lived to see Abraham and many Bible scholars believe that it is very possible that Noah knew Abraham. Noah lived a very long life but eventually even Noah died. How do we explain Noah living so long even under the earth’s new hydrological conditions? We know that after the Flood lifespans became much shorter. So how can we explain Noah’s 300 years? We can’t other than this – it’s God’s continuing grace upon Noah!!

GENESIS 8:17-9:29

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