Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
9 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Some years ago my dear friend Steve wrote a little musical diddy for our friend Andre who was a relatively new believer. It went like this, “God loves everybody, loves everybody, loves everybody…but you!” Unfortunately, some people would take that seriously.
Not all covenants are redemptive nor conditional. The covenant God made following the flood was not redemptive, and it was a unilateral promise from God to all creation. Essentially, it was a covenant to maintain the natural order of life. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” God loves everybody.
Additionally, there is a reiteration of much of the mandate given to Adam in the garden. Noah and Mrs. Noah are to be fruitful and multiply. The Noahs are to have dominion over all the creatures. Then God added to the dinner menu. Up until now, everybody was a vegan. They had only been given plants to eat as food. Now God gives them “everything” to eat. This had ominous implications. Don’t eat the animal with its blood. The blood represents the life, thus the first kosher rules, I guess.
As an extension of the statement that life is in the blood, God adds a new dimension to human society. The introduction of sanctioned capital punishment. This is the first indication of a God-ordered society/government. Capital punishment indicates the extreme value of a human. Most of all it is recognition that God created man in his own image, unlike the animals.
This covenant is usually referred to as the Noahic covenant as if it was with Noah only. It was really with Noah and his offspring “and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
As with other covenants, God gives a sign of the covenant, the rainbow. Of course, when we see a rainbow we are reminded of these promises of God in this covenant, but God says it will remind him of his promise. Never again will he destroy the earth with water.
God has promised all creation that even though the heart of man is still evil continually, as it was before the flood, he will never again destroy the earth with water. This is his gracious promise to us all. God loves everybody.
If you would like to do more indepth reading on the concept of covenant in Scripture, I recommend this book, Sacred Bond. Click on the book and you will be taken to Amazon where you can purchase a copy.