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Noah keeps covenant with God

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Genesis 8:20-9:17

Our Heavenly Father — the creator of the universe — gives eternal assurance to His highest creation — mankind — that he is faithful to his eternal word. Our fallen human race knows the fickleness of our own treacherous hearts. For this reason, we like to have some assurance that the promise given by any individual will be performed.

The divine record — the Bible — gives the record of the downward spiral of the lost human race. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. The divine observation was met with a declaration of divine judgment — “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Genesis 6:6.

The divine sentence was given — “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” Genesis 6:7. The “die of judgment” is cast! Of all of the population of the earth at that time, the record is specific in giving very important information. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8.

God spoke to this man, Noah. We are not given details regarding the means by which this information was given to this one godly man. “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” Genesis 6:13. Even with the wickedness that had filled the earth, God had a plan for delivering this man and his family — “Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Genesis 6:14.

Architectural details for this ark were given. Genesis 6:15, 16. There is no indication that Noah had experience in building such a structure. The term, “ark,” in the Hebrew language means “box.” Modern studies have shown that this “simple design” is very stable in the rough waters that would have been known in this great disaster.

At this time, God gave assurance to Noah — “But with thee will I establish covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy son’s wives with thee.” Genesis 6:18.

There are two ideas, as we read of a covenant — agreement. There are bilateral agreements — two parties agree to carry out certain actions

— and unilateral agreements — only one party agrees to certain conditions. These unilateral agreements are seen in scripture, when our God — Jehovah — covenants with His people. This promise to Noah was not dependent upon any particular action on the part of this godly man. Only his obedience to the divine directive was needed to assure his divine position.

Noah was given specific instructions regarding the occupants of the ark — his family and the animals — and the provisions that were to be made. Genesis 6:19-21. The record is clear — “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Genesis 6:22.

When the ark was completed — according to the divine design — “the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Genesis 7:1.

The animals were, now, in the ark. Genesis 7:2, 3. God told Noah, “For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him.” Genesis 7:4, 5.

This passage of scripture is the first reference to “rain.” The atmosphere before the flood was different than it is, today. The records tells us of the first condition — “there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.” Genesis 2:6.

Noah might not have understood the concept of “rain.”

The record tells us that “the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” Genesis 7:24. One can only imagine the thoughts that must have plagued the mind of Noah and his family during their time in the ark. The record says, “And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged.”Genesis 8:1

When this family and the animals were able to leave the ark, “Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” Genesis 8:20. God accepted the offering, and made a promise to all of the earth — “While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22.

The destruction that came upon the earth was the result of sin. Sin continues in the world. God made a promise to Noah — that reaches to our day. “And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you...neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood...” Genesis 9:8-13.

The One who made this promise of old has sent His Son to be our Savior. John 3:16. Please accept Jesus Christ into you life, today.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478, 299, 2068. Email:

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