I ESTABLISH MY COVENANT
Genesis 9:8 ¶ And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
Genesis 9:12 ¶ And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Let us first see the necessity of the covenant. It is revealed to us at the time of Noah’s sacrifice in the new world. Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. The new covenant in which the Lord God takes upon himself the salvation of man by grace alone, is necessary because man is still as prone to sin as ever! If the Lord doesn’t take totally upon himself mankind’s redemption, he would just have to drown every successive generation! Jonah 2:9 Salvation is of the LORD.
Just observe this one thing. Notice the order in which the Lord commanded Noah to go forth from the ark. Genesis 8:16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. He is told to go forth with his wife. For that was the whole issue of the universal flood in the first place! Genesis 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 7 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 the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
The godly line of Seth mingled with the ungodly line of Cain and the wholesomeness of the line to bring forth Messiah was being polluted! But there was only one marriage that found grace in God’s eyes, and that was Noah’s. Therefore the order of God to exit the ark was to be Noah, with his wife; and their sons with their wives.
But what do we read? Genesis 8:18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Noah comes out with his sons! And the women have to come out separate from the men! But isn’t that the same way in which they went in? Yes! Genesis 7:7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. It seems that nothing had changed in their hearts, as we just read in Genesis 8:21!
Depravity had to be dealt with exclusively by God if he wanted to have fellowship with his creation! Romans 3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Consider these words of the Lord Jesus: John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
For you see, dear Reader, marriage is given to mankind for them to come to know the relationship of God as a Husband (Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband;), and the true church as his Bride! 2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
And take notice of the clearly given fact that one’s relationship within their marriage can affect their relationship with God! 1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
And the next verses tell of the spiritual conduct of the believer to the rest of the believers, which does not exclude, but clearly includes their spouses! 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
Carefully consider that the relation of the Holy Spirit dwelling within the believer is a great mystery revealed in the marriage relationship! Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
But even though the Lord God instructs Noah to come out of the ark with his wife, he comes out with his sons! Same song, second verse! Nothing had entirely changed! Therefore, again, if the Lord wants fellowship with men, he must take the initiative and have salvation rest entirely upon himself!
Now let us consider the covenant itself. Notice the title of this article obtained from verse nine of our text. I Establish My Covenant! In verse eleven we read, I will! And in verse twelve we read, I make! It is all to be set forth and established by the initiative of God’s will alone! There is not a single, thou shalt as in Adam’s covenant of works! Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. For Adam broke his covenant with God, not being able to remain obedient to the one single law God gave him! Therefore man’s relationship henceforth is solely on the basis of pure and sovereign grace!
Speaking of God granting this covenant to Abraham, for all the elect, both Jews and Gentiles, the Apostle Paul states, Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, Abraham became the father of us all by faith before the law was ever given!
Listen as the Lord speaks to the Prophet Jeremiah: Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Jeremiah 31:31-34.
Consider these verses in Isaiah, in which it is stated that even if one is not recognized by Israel of old, if he is recognized by the God of the covenant of free grace, he is one of the redeemed! Isaiah 63:15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? 16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
Noah covenant still remains in effect today! For there has never been another universal flood as God promised. And we still have the token of the covenant seen by us throughout all generations! And this token Adam did not have. In verses twelve through seventeen of our above listed text we see that the token is the rainbow. And it is something that humans look upon and point out to others. But, better still, it is that which the Lord is also looking upon to assure us that he remembers his promise! (See verses fifteen and sixteen above.)
This Hebrew word, here translated token, is the exact same Hebrew word translated, a mark in Genesis 4:15. There God put a ‘token,’ or ‘a mark’ upon Cain for men to see, in order to spare his physical life. But our token is for men and God to look upon to spare mens lives eternally! For it marks the covenant of grace, where upon all believers, of all nations, are eternally saved! Revelation 5:9 … for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
There is fear upon entering into the cloud. Luke 9:34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. But there rests the bow, the token of God’s promise of salvation by free grace. We have both God’s word and his token that whosoever – no matter what nationality, or of what condition of sin – shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21, Romans 10:13).
And the bow being in the cloud is so that even when a cloud appears, men need not to seek a physical ark in terror and fear! The token is there to assure all men to see, no matter what language they speak, that salvation and safety is afforded them in the ‘ark’ of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
But as Sheba remarked to Solomon of the glory of his kingdom, behold, the half was not told me: (1 Kings 10:7), truly only a half of the bow, representing the glory of God’s grace, is seen on earth! For when we look at the bow, we only see the half that the horizon of earth does not block out! But to those redeemed, who sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6), there is seen the full circle of the extension of the peace afforded us. Revelation 4:3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
And where does that bow originate? Upon the very head of our precious Savior! Bless his holy name! Revelation 10:1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Isaac Watts 1674-1748
Majestic sweetness site enthroned,
Upon the Saviour’s brow;
His head with radiant glories crowned,
His lips with grace o’er-flow,
His lips with grace o’er flow.
Samuel Stennentt 1727-1795
Dear Soul, that’s where the glory is seen! The legalism of the law of works can never see the fulness of the rainbow of peace. 2 Corinthians 3:13 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: Only in the face of Jesus Christ may the full glory be seen! 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Praise the Lord for his sovereignly provided salvation!
Pastor Gene Breed
October 22, 2015