Sin Continues After the Flood (Genesis 9:18-29).

Sin is like leprosy or to put it in contemporary terms, it’s like cancer. Leprosy is a modern ailment still affecting thousands of people. When you get it, it spreads. The drunk becomes a drunk because he started with his first drink. It spreads; it’s like a cancer. And so, when the Bible wants to describe sin graphically, it compares sin to a leprous kind of disease.[1]

A college with an established football team wanted a mascot so they decided to get a goat. The question was where to keep the goat! Two of the students offered to keep the goat in their room. The head of the sports department got wind of this and approached the two students. “Well, I hear you are gonna keep the goat in your room. What about the smell?” One of the students replied, “The goat will get used to it.”

Although the goat may get used to it, God doesn’t. Sin is a violation, a transgression of the law of God.838[2]

Today we see a passage in which Noah falls into sin.

My theme today is:

Sin continues after the flood. Noah and his family still have a sin problem and so do we.

  1. The sin and then the curse on Canaan (verses 18-27).

Verses 18-19, Genesis 9:18-19: The sons of Noah who went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. (Ham was the father of Canaan.) These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the people of the whole earth were dispersed.

  • The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth. There is a special note that Ham is the father of Canaan This may have to do with Canaan being the land in which the Israelites were to eventually take possession.
    • The whole earth was populated from these three men (verse 19).
    • Now we see Noah’s new work (verse 20).

Verse 20, Genesis 9:20: Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard.

Verse 21, Genesis 9:21: He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent.

Verses 22-23, Genesis 9:22-23: And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.

  • It is difficult to know what was going on here.
    • Ham is specified as the father of Canaan. Now, the land of Canaan will be the land that the Israelites will eventually inherit.
    • The people of Canaan will later be corrupted with sexual depravity.
    • What was the nakedness?
    • Often times “uncovered” is a euphemism, in the Bible. In other words “uncovered” would be a word in order to sanitize what was really going on. It is likely that some type of sinful sexual activity is going on. Or, maybe just a sexual act, but Ham, or possibly Canaan, saw it and tried to get the brothers to come look as well.
    • The text says that Ham saw the nakedness, but it could be that Canaan actually saw the nakedness.
    • This is because the text in verse 24 says that Noah cursed his youngest son. His youngest son is not Ham, but Canaan was the youngest grandson so far mentioned.
    • The Moody Bible Commentary makes an interesting point that Canaan was the actual culprit: The following considerations, on the other hand, clearly support the view that Canaan was the culprit. Noah himself identified the culprit as his youngest son (v. 24), and whereas Ham was Noah’s middle son (5:32; 6:10; 7:13; 9:18; 10:1; 1Ch 1:14), Canaan was his youngest grandson (10:6; 1Ch 1:8). Whether Canaan was the youngest of all Noah’s grandchildren, he was the youngest so far mentioned (Gn 9:18, 22) and hence the only person with whom the youngest son in v. 24 can be identified. Canaan was the one cursed, and the biblical pattern, already established in 3:14, is that the actual culprit is cursed (cf. Dt 27:15–16; 1Sm 26:19; Jr 48:10). Also the sin involved something that the culprit had physically done (’asa, which typically denotes physical, not merely verbal, activity) to Noah in his nakedness (note that Lv 18 uses the expression “to uncover the nakedness” of a relative to refer to inappropriate sexual relations). The phrase about seeing the nakedness of his father (v. 22) seems to imply that a homosexual sin was committed, which is consistent with the same specific perversity by which Canaan’s descendants are characterized a few chapters later (namely, the Sodomites in 19:4–7, whose “exceeding wickedness” is already noted in 13:13; on their explicit descent from Canaan, see 10:19). For these reasons Canaan’s identity as the culprit has long been recognized in Jewish interpretive tradition.[5]
  • Noah awakes and is aware of what Ham, his youngest son, had done (verse 24). But remember “Ham” is not his youngest son.
    • Now, if this is the case why would he say “Ham” in verse 22? Maybe it is because Ham is Canaan’s father and they are being identified together.
    • Either way, some type of sexual act was viewed, or committed, and Canaan is cursed.

Verses 24-27, Genesis 9:24-27: When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” 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.”

  • Curse on Canaan, the son of Ham (verse 25): Noah curses the son of Ham and he will be a servant of his brothers (descendants of Shem and Japheth).
    • Blessing on the Lord, the God of Shem, Canaan, son of Ham, shall be his servant (verse 26).
    • The Israelites would come from Shem.
    • K&D: “Servant of servants (i.e., the lowest of slaves, vid., Ewald, § 313) let him become to his brethren.” Although this curse was expressly pronounced upon Canaan alone, the fact that Ham had no share in Noah’s blessing, either for himself or his other sons, was a sufficient proof that his whole family was included by implication in the curse, even if it was to fall chiefly upon Canaan. And history confirms the supposition. The Canaanites were partly exterminated, and partly subjected to the lowest form of slavery, by the Israelites, who belonged to the family of Shem; and those who still remained were reduced by Solomon to the same condition (1 Kings 9:20, 21). The Phoenicians, along with the Carthaginians and the Egyptians, who all belonged to the family of Canaan, were subjected by the Japhetic Persians, Macedonians, and Romans; and the remainder of the Hamitic tribes either shared the same fate...[6]
    • Blessing on Japheth, dwell in the tents of Shem, Canaan (son of Ham) to be his servant (verse 27).
    • Dr Constable: There is no basis for the popular notion that this oracle doomed the Hamites, who were mainly Africans, to a position of inferiority or slavery among the other peoples of the world. Canaan and his branch of the family are the subject of this prophecy, not Ham and all his descendants.

“There are no grounds in our passage for an ethnic reading of the ‘curse’ as some have done, supposing that some peoples are inferior to others. Here Genesis looks only to the social and religious life of Israel’s ancient rival Canaan, whose immorality defiled their land and threatened Israel’s religious fidelity (cf. Lev 18:28; Josh 23). It was not an issue of ethnicity but of the wicked practices that characterized Canaanite culture.”344[7]

  1. Noah’s final days (verses 28-29).
    • 350 years after the flood (verse 28).

Verses 28-29, Genesis 9:28-29: After the flood Noah lived 350 years. All the days of Noah were 950 years, and he died.

  • 950 years of life and he died (verse 29).
    • CSB: Noah’s 950 years mark him as the third-oldest human in biblical history, behind Methuselah (969 years) and Jared (962 years).[8]
  • Applications:
    • In verse 21 Noah fell into sin. We must always guard ourselves against sin.

An evangelist had to travel often to preach. On one trip, he arrived at his hotel and proceeded to go to his room, which was on the fifth floor. The man got on the elevator and a lady with a lot of baggage got on too. She noticed that he had pressed the button for the fifth floor and told him that she was going to the same floor. The evangelist, being a gentleman at heart, offered to help her since they were going to the same floor anyway and because she was so weighed down by her baggage. They arrived at their floor and the evangelist proceeded to help her carry her bags to her room. When they finally got to her door, the woman said, “Oh, sir, thank you very much, won’t you come in for a while?” The minister politely declined and hurried to his room. When retelling this story to a close friend, his friend said, “So, you were obedient to the Word in fleeing immorality because of your fear of God.” The evangelist replied, “No, I think I was fleeing immorality out of the fear of my wife!”844[9]

  • We must pray “lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13).
    • We must pray that we do not give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27).
    • We must pray that we do not even give the appearance of sin (1 Thess 5:22).
    • We must guard that we are not drunk (Eph 5:18).  
    • We must guard against other sins as well.
    • We must have an active relationship with God in order to enable us to stay away from sin (John 15:1-5; Prov 27:17; Psalm 119:9-11).

Sickness often doesn’t happen suddenly. A person may feel a little tired one day and then notice a tickle in the throat the next. Many people ignore sickness at this stage because it doesn’t bother them that much or interrupt their life enough for them to take notice. They won’t rush to take vitamin C or head to the pharmacy for medicine. They will go on with business as usual. But, very suddenly, something that is insignificant can become significant. Sickness can dominate, knock a person down, and then knock them out. What starts out as a tickle can become a full-blown virus.836[10]


[1] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 279.

[2] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 280.

lit Literally/literally

Hb Hebrew

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

vv. verses

[4] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

v. verse

v. verse

cf. compare or consult

v. verse

[5] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 63.

[6] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 100.

344 344. Mathews, p. 423. See also Charles C. Ryrie, You Mean the Bible Teaches That . . ., p. 60; Thomas Figart, A Biblical Perspective on the Race Problem, p. 55; and O. Palmer Robertson, “Current Critical Questions Concerning the ‘Curse of Ham’ (Gen 9:20–27),” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 41:2 (June 1998):177-88.

[7] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 9:25.

[8] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 23.

[9] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 281.

[10] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 279.

God Desires a Relationship with Wayward Children (Luke 15:11-32)

God Desires a Relationship with Wayward Children (Luke 15:11-32)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, June 19, 2022: Father’s Day

Let me once again say Happy Father’s Day!

The Scriptures give us an image of God as our Father. We see this in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. Though there is plenty to get into with this subject, I only want to talk about a parable that Jesus told. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus tells a story in which the father in the story represents God. I want to talk about this parable.

As I talk about this parable, I want to show that this parable shows us that God is a Father to us, and as a father to us He persistently desires for us to come to Him. When we come to God, He welcomes us regardless of what we have done in our past. God is available to us.

My theme today is:

Jesus tells a parable describing God’s desire for a relationship with us like a father wanting a relationship with his wayward son.

I need to make a disclaimer. Parables are not allegories. They are stories with a purpose. In this case, the purpose is to show that lost people matter to God. To do this Jesus told a story about a wayward son and how the father longs for him to come home. Maybe we can make some indirect applications to parenting, but the main point of the parable is that God is a loving Father longing for a relationship with us.

Let’s read this parable in its entirety:

Luke 15:11-32:

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’”

  1. Let’s start by talking about this illustration of a son who goes wayward
    1. We call this the parable of the prodigal son. Prodigal means “extravagant or wasteful.” As you heard in the parable, the son wastes his father’s money.
    2. There are two sons in this parable and the younger tells his father that he wants his share of the estate. Now, you must know that there are a couple problems with this. The first problem is that asking for an inheritance early is like saying, “Dad, I wish you were dead!”
      1. Regardless of the insult the father divides the inheritance between his two sons. This is the second problem. According to the Old Testament (DT 21:7), the elder son was supposed to receive a double portion.
      2. Jesus is showing that regardless of what we do, God is our Father and as our Father, He welcomes us into His loving arms.
    3. Verses 13-14 show that the son takes his father’s money, and he leaves. Jesus says that he wasted his wealth with wild living. Jesus doesn’t tell us what the son was involved in but we can take a guess. We can take a guess because some of you have been in situations like this.
    4. Verses 15-16 show that now, this son is feeding pigs. Pigs were an unclean animal in Judaism, so for Jesus’ audience, this is a big deal. This son has sunk to a very low station in life. But Jesus is setting this up to show the great, great love of God, our Heavenly Father.
    5. Verses 17-19 show that the son is repentant. He realizes what has happened to his station in life. He is ready to confess this to his father.
    6. Verses 20-24 show us that as he comes back to his father, his father sees him from a distance and runs to him. We also see that his father wants to throw a party to welcome his son home.
    7. In that day it was considered a breach of an adult male’s dignity to run, but this father is so excited to see his son come home that he runs to him and embraces him.
    8. Jesus is showing how eager God, the Father, is for a relationship with us.
    9. I have noticed the joys of parenting are great and there is nothing my daughters could do to make me love them more. But with the joys come the great responsibility and being hurt because you know that your child, whom you greatly love is in a bad situation.
    10. Some of us can hear this story and think like the eldest son. We see his reaction in verses 25-32.
    11. The eldest son’s thinking is on the side of TRUTH—all TRUTH and no grace. His thinking is that the younger brother made his decisions and he should live with them.
    12. But I think that no matter what that elder son cannot see things the way a parent would. That elder son just can’t think about watching the boy learn to walk, rocking him to sleep at night, teaching him to fish, school programs, and all those other things. A parent thinks with their emotions.
    13. I believe that God made us emotional because I think God has emotions. The Father in this parable is clearly God and when we are in the filth of life; when we are in bad situations, I think that God hurts. Some of you know what it is like to hurt and ache and lose sleep because your child is in a bad situation. Then I think you know a small element of how God feels when we are in a bad situation. God grieves and God hurts. Then when we choose to come back to God, He runs to us and throws a party in Heaven.
    14. A man was commissioned to paint a picture of the Prodigal Son. He went into his work fervently, laboring to produce a picture worthy of telling the story. Finally, the day came when the picture was complete, and he unveiled the finished painting. The scene was set outside the father’s house, and showed the open arms of each as they were just about to meet and embrace. The man who commissioned the work was well pleased, and was prepared to pay the painter for his work, when he suddenly noticed a detail that he had missed. Standing out in the painting above everything else in the scene, was the starkly apparent fact that the father was wearing one red shoe and one blue shoe. He was incredulous. How could this be, that the painter could make such an error? He asked the painter, and the man simply smiled and nodded, assuring the man, “Yes, this is a beautiful representation of the love of God for His children.” “What do you mean?” he asked, puzzled. “The father in this picture was not interested in being color-coordinated or fashion-conscious when he went out to meet his son. In fact, he was in such a hurry to show his love to his son, he simply reached and grabbed the nearest two shoes that he could find. “He is the God of the Unmatched Shoes.”[1]
  2. What are some applications from this parable?
    1. The first application goes along with the theme: God is a Father to us, and as a Father to us, He persistently desires for us to come to Him. When we come to God He welcomes us regardless of what we have done in our past. God is full of grace. This doesn’t compromise Truth. In this parable, the son did recognize what he did was wrong and confessed that to his father. There is such a thing as sin and repentance.
    2. This parable shows us that God wants to be involved in our lives.

A final application comes from this example:

A San Diego father (who wants to be known as “Frank”) believed his son, a homeless, heroin addict living on the streets in Denver, was on the verge of dying. Frank contacted Chris Conner, one of Denver’s leading homeless advocates. Conner has helped parents find their lost children, but this was different. Conner said, “I’ve never had a parent who necessarily went this far to descend into homelessness themselves.” Conner connected Frank with Pastor Jerry Herships, whose church serves lunch to homeless people in a Denver park across from the state capitol.

Frank described the moment he met his son on the street in Denver:

He has no idea that I’m walking towards him. I can see that he can’t stand up without the support of a building. He would appear drunk to most people. To his dad, though, I know from past experience, sadly he’s on heroin—heavy. I go up to him, and he starts to turn his back on me. I don’t even care. I just grab him and squeeze him as hard as I can.

For a week, Frank became his son’s shadow, wandering the streets during the day and sleeping on the banks of a river at night. He grew a beard, ate hand-out sandwiches during the day, and swatted away the rats at night. Meanwhile, his son got sick, in and out of the hospital, stealing to buy more drugs. At one point, Frank told his son, “If you die, your mom and dad die with you. We might still be here breathing. But make no mistake, we’ll be dead inside.”

When asked why he did it, Frank said, “The only thing I could think of was just go there, be with him and love him. Show him how much his family loves him.”[2]

How far will we go for our children regardless of how old they are?

How far does God go for us? We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Let’s pray

[1] Contributed by: Wayne Major found at SermonCentral

[2] Andrea Dukakis, “A Father Feared For His Son’s Life, So He Joined Him On The Street,” NPR (6-23-18)

The Significance of Genesis: God’s Covenant with the New World (Genesis 9:1-17)

In the summer of 2005, the London Zoo posted a sign in front of their newest exhibit, reading, “Warning: Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The exhibit featured eight Homo sapiens in a sealed enclosure adjacent to another sealed enclosure of various primates. The human “captives” were chosen from an online contest, and spent their time sunning on a rock ledge, playing board games, and waving to spectators. A signboard informed visitors about the species’ diet, habitat, worldwide distribution, and threats.

The goal of the exhibit, according to Zoo spokesperson Polly Wills, was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings as a species. “Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals,” said Wills, “teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate.”

Tom Mahoney, one of the participants in the exhibit, agreed. “A lot of people think that humans are above other animals,” he said. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds them that we’re not that special.”

What a contrast to the biblical promise that human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.[1]

What a contrast between what God teaches us in Genesis. Genesis 9 re-affirms that we are not just another primate.

We are going to begin to wrap up the narrative about Noah. We are in a series talking about how Genesis chapters 1-11 are foundational to our faith. Today, we see a passage in which God gives instructions to Noah and God makes a covenant with Noah.

My Theme is God makes a covenant with Noah.

  1. Noah, the vice-regent (verses 1-7).
    1. I am going to put this in context and then summarize the first seven verses.
    2. Context: The flood is over. They have left the ark. God had reassured them that seasons will continue, or maybe begin, as maybe they did not have seasons as we do before the flood.
    3. Now, God is blessing Noah.
    4. God tells Noah to be fruitful, to multiply, and to fill the earth. This is like His message to Adam.
    5. Like Adam and Eve, they are vice-regents.
    6. See Genesis 1:28.
    7. Now the animals outnumber the people. God placed a fear of man into animals.
    8. Andy Crouch writes: There is simply no other creature in the world that harbors the ambition to “be like God;’ except for image bearers. Next time you are at the zoo, try approaching an elephant, cheetah or crocodile and whispering to them, “You shall be like God.” Not only will they regard you with indifference (or possibly faint stirrings of hunger), you will have a hard time not laughing. For all their grandeur and power, the world’s creatures just do not give the faintest evidence of wanting to be something other than a well-fed version of what they already are. (I will admit there is a partial exception—cats. But cats give every sign of already considering themselves equal to God, and thus they are supremely, serenely free of petty human traits like ambition.)[2]
    9. Noah and humanity are the masters of the earth. Again, the vice-regent.
    10. This includes animals and vegetation. Humans were originally vegetarians. Eating meat was a consequence of the fall.
    11. I wonder if the post-flood earth could not provide enough food for vegetarians. I wonder if before the modern age it would not work.
    12. See Gen 2:17; see also Gen 1:29
    13. There is an exception. They are not to eat the blood.
    14. Life is in the blood. NET: Because of the carnage produced by the flood, people might conclude that life is cheap and therefore treat it lightly. But God will not permit them to kill or even to eat anything with the lifeblood still in it, serving as a reminder of the sanctity of life.[3]
    15. Moody: The reference in v. 6 to the image of God—the first reference to this image in the postfall world (previously mentioned only in 1:26–27)—is also significant for it establishes beyond any doubt not only that the image of God is still present in humanity, but that that image is present in every individual.[4]
    16. It seems that verse 5 is introducing the prohibition against murder and capitol punishment.
    17. Notice: Man is made in the image of God.
    18. To hurt a human being is to hurt the image of God.
    19. This is about the biblical worldview of man and woman and what it means to be human.
    20. They are to be fruitful and multiply.
    21. ESV Study Bible: This positive view of population growth stands in sharp contrast to the Babylonian flood story, which ends with the gods taking measures to inhibit mankind from filling the earth.[5]
    22. The phrase “be fruitful and multiply” is repeated from verse 1. CSB: God’s blessing of humanity in Noah’s day begins (v. 1) and ends with the command to be fruitful and multiply. This repetition underscores the sacredness and desirability of human reproduction within God’s plan.[6]
    23. They are vice-regents.
  2. The covenant with Noah (verses 8-17).

Verses 8-10, Genesis 9:8-10: Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “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. 

  • God is speaking to Noah and his sons.
    • This covenant is with Noah and his sons and their descendants (literally seed) after them.
    • CSB: These verses are the formal conclusion of the covenant first mentioned in 6:18. The initial expression of the covenant unconditionally offered safety in the ark to Noah’s family and many classes of animals. In the style of a royal grant or unilateral agreement, this portion of the Noahic covenant unconditionally promises that there will never again be a flood of the same destructive scale as Noah’s flood.[7]
    • This covenant is still in effect.
    • In Genesis 9:9-15 God says 5 times that the covenant is between Him and all the creation of the earth, again, including animals.

Verse 11, Genesis 9:11: 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.”

  • This is now the covenant.
    • All flesh, all flesh, all animals and humanity shall never again be cut off by water like the flood.
    • Never a flood to destroy the earth.
    • In Genesis 8:21 God had said that He will never again curse the ground.

Verses 12-13, Genesis 9:12-13: 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. 

  • This is now the sign of the covenant.
    • K&D: An “everlasting covenant” is a covenant “for perpetual generations,” i.e., one which shall extend to all ages, even to the end of the world.[8]
    • The rainbow. The NET Bible does share: The Hebrew word קֶשֶׁת (qeshet) normally refers to a warrior’s bow. Some understand this to mean that God the warrior hangs up his battle bow at the end of the flood, indicating he is now at peace with humankind, but others question the legitimacy of this proposal.[9]

Verses 14-15, Genesis 9:14-15: 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. 

  • God talks about Himself seeing the bow and remembering the covenant.
    • God shall never again use water to destroy all flesh.
    • God oftentimes talked about remembering the covenant: Lev 26:42, 45; Deut 7:9; Ezek 16:60.[10]
    • Verses 16-17, Genesis 9:16-17 make more emphasis: 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.”
    • The bow is in the clouds. Again, this is a reminder.
    • This covenant is everlasting.
    • Verse 17: God is speaking to Noah.
    • This is the sign.
    • Again: the covenant is between God and all flesh, not just humanity.
  • Applications and review:
    • God continues to re-affirm His love and support for Noah, his family, and humans. We must trust and worship God.
    • God put the fear of humans in every animal (Gen 9:2), this shows God’s protection of humanity. This also shows that humans are not equal to animals. God created humans in His image. This teaches a lot about what it means to be human. We are created in the image of God. Though we are not to abuse animals, we are on a different level than animals.
    • It is okay to eat meat (Gen 9:3).
    • We are not to eat blood (Gen 9:4).
    • We are not to take human life and for those that take human life, there is a penalty (Gen 9:5-6).
    • God makes an everlasting covenant with Noah (Gen 9:8-17), this covenant is still in place. We can trust God that He will never again flood the whole earth.

God is good. The problem is that many of His children are ungrateful—quick to complain about what they don’t have but slow to give thanks for what they do.

A little boy went grocery store shopping with his mother. They were in the checkout line and the grocer asked the mother if he could offer her son some candy. The mother agreed. As the grocer held out the jar, encouraging the boy to reach in, the little boy shook his head. The man stretched the jar out a little further and told the boy he could take as much as he would like. The boy continued to say no. With a confused look on his face, the grocer gave one last effort. The boy finally said, “I want you to give it to me.” The grocer happily took some candy out of the container and handed it to the boy who quickly offered his thanks.

When he and his mother were in the car and on their way, she curiously asked, “Why wouldn’t you take the candy? Why did you tell him to give the candy to you?” Her son replied, “Because, Momma, his hands were bigger than mine!” Smart boy. He understood that the hands of the source were bigger.

If God’s children would simply let Him be God, they would soon discover that His hands are bigger than their own.392[11]


[1] “Humans Are Ones on Display at London Zoo,” yahoonews (8-26-05)

[2] Andy Crouch, Playing God(InterVarsity Press, 2013), page 66

[3] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 9:4.

v. verse

[4] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 62.

[5] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 65.

v. verse

[6] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 22.

[7] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 22–23.

[8] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 1 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 97.

[9] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 9:13.

[10] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995).

[11] Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 130–131.

Noah worships and receives a word of promise (Genesis 8:20-22).

Joni Eareckson Tada shares:

On most nights when I wheel out my office door and into the courtyard of our building, if the wind is blowing just right, I experience the most pleasurable sensation. I catch a whiff of the mouthwatering aroma of charcoal-broiled Tri-Tip steak sizzling on the grill over at the Woodranch Barbeque Pit across the freeway. Invariably I stop, draw in a deep breath, and say with a groan, “Wow, does that ever smell great!” As I drive away from the office, I can sometimes spot a billow of smoke rising from the chimney of the restaurant. Little wonder the place is always packed—the smell of burnt fat and meat on the grill attracts more diners than any billboard or newspaper advertisement.

Not long ago as the scent of grilled steak wafted across the courtyard, it struck me that this is exactly what Old Testament sacrifices must have smelled like. The temple in Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement was filled with the aroma of meat cooked on an open fire, what with so many lambs being sacrificed. In fact, considering that thousands of animals were sacrificed on that one day, the entire city must have smelled fragrant. The sacrifices were pleasing to God—not so much for the smell as for the sins confessed.

Inhaling the aroma of meat on the grill (and smiling as a result) gives me a tiny insight into the enormous pleasure God must experience when his people confess their sins. “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Cor. 2:15-16). Oh, to please God with the aroma of Christ in our lives!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Rom. 12:1).

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998

Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids

We are continuing our trek through Genesis chapters 1-11. We come to Genesis 8:20-22.

My theme is: Noah worships and receives a word of promise.

  1. Noah’s sacrifice (8:20–22): He builds an altar and sacrifices on it animals approved by God for that purpose.[1]

Verse 20 reads: 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.

  1. Remember in Genesis 7:2 God had Noah take 7 pairs of the clean animals for sacrifices.
    1. NET Bible: Offered burnt offerings on the altar. F. D. Maurice includes a chapter on the sacrifice of Noah in The Doctrine of Sacrifice. The whole burnt offering, according to Leviticus 1, represented the worshiper’s complete surrender and dedication to the Lord. After the flood Noah could see that God was not only a God of wrath, but a God of redemption and restoration. The one who escaped the catastrophe could best express his gratitude and submission through sacrificial worship, acknowledging God as the sovereign of the universe.[2]
    2. CSB: that is, one of every mammal that chewed the cud and possessed split hoofs, as well as one representative of every kind of bird that did not eat carrion—was offered, it must have been an impressive sacrifice.[3]
    3. This is the first alter and sacrifice in Genesis.
    4. It seems to me that the Lord told Noah, by special revelation what were the clean animals and how to build the altar and make sacrifices. Later in Lev 11, God will give instructions on clean animals (Also, Deuteronomy 14).
    5. Abraham will build alters a lot (see Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:18; 22:9).
    6. Moving back to our text:

Verse 21 reads: 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.

  • This is anthropomorphic language.
    • The Lord is described with human attributes.
    • He is smelling the aroma. God does know the smell of the sacrifice, but He does not smell like we do.
    • It is still true that God is pleased with the sacrifice.
    • The sacrifice atones and makes amends for the sin. Though ultimately the sin was to be taken care of at the cross, the sacrifices still had a symbolic significance of taking care of sin.
    • Now, it says that the Lord said: “in His heart.”
    • This a passage revealing the Lord’s thinking. This is pretty awesome.
    • God inspired Moses to reveal His thinking.
    • God now commits to never flood the earth like this again. He commits to never strike down every living thing that breathes oxygen again.
    • Then God says, or His thinking is, the intent of man’s heart is evil, or it could better be translated the “inclination of man’s heart is evil.” The intent of man’s heart is evil from youth up.
    • That has not changed:

Ps 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Je 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Ro 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Ro 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

  • God repeats that He will never again destroy every living thing.

Verse 22 gives more detail: While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Verse 22 reads: Basically, while the earth remains in its current era. This is because God is still going to restore everything someday (Rev 21 and 22).

  • Seedtime and harvest: that is spring and fall
    • Cold and heat: that is winter and summer.
    • Day and night shall not cease.
    • In the flood it seems that God interrupted seasons, but not anymore.

Ps 74:17 You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth; you have made summer and winter.

Je 33:20 “Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time…

Je 33:25 Thus says the Lord: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed order of heaven and earth…

  • Applications:
    • Noah responds in worship. We must respond in worship (Genesis 8:20).
    • How do we view worship? Do we take seriously singing to the Lord (Psalm 96; 100; 101; 106; 107; 150)?  

Listen to Martin Luther:

Next after theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor. I would not change what little I know of music for something great. Experience proves that next to the Word of God only music deserves to be extolled as the mistress and governess of the feelings of the human heart. We know that to the devil music is distasteful and insufferable. My heart bubbles up and overflows in response to music, which has so often refreshed me and delivered me from dire plagues. (Here I Stand, 266)[4]

Piper shares: I’ll tell you a story why I’m so convinced of that: four years ago I got a phone call — 10:30 at night — and the person on the other end said, “There is a woman in this apartment who is demon possessed. Would you come over?” “Alright, I’ll come over.” I called Tom Steller on the phone. “Tom, would you go with me?” “Sure.” We go; our wives stay home and pray. We don’t know what we’ll find.

What we find is an apartment with about five young women and one young man who will not let this woman out of this apartment. She had glazed eyes, was bitter, and had a little penknife in her hand, threatening. For two hours I talk to this woman: I read Scripture and read prayers of deliverance. It comes to a head where she starts getting very violent. She knocks the Bible out of my hand, she rips the paper out of my hand, she pounds on my back. About 1:00 in the morning, when the word of God and the force of evil were at their fever pitch, one of those young women started to sing. And what they sang was the little phrase “Alleluia.”

And she became vicious, threatened everyone if we wouldn’t stop singing. She fell on the ground, screamed for Satan not to leave her, went into convulsions, and then went limp. When she came to, she didn’t have any idea what had happened. She was willing to take the Bible, read Romans 8, and pray with us.[5]

  • Noah responded to the Lord’s faithfulness with worship.
    • We must also worship.
    • Sometimes we are so busy judging God that we do NOT worship Him.
    • The Lord responds with a promise (Genesis 8:22). Are we trusting in the promises of God?
    • The Lord says that seasons will continue, can we trust that we do not need to worry about the future of the earth, God is in charge.
    • God is sovereign and we can trust Him.
    • We must worship Him.


[1] H. L. Willmington, The Outline Bible (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), Ge 8:1–22.

[2] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ge 8:18–20.

[3] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 22.