Genesis 9: Scared of “the Man.”

Posted: December 28, 2011 in Chapter-a-day, Uncategorized
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Genesis 9

8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you…

15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

Can you imagine stepping off the ark?  After six months of water, water, everywhere, finally stepping down onto solid ground? If you’re in the Navy, or were, you might be able to envision this.  I would suggest though, that while similar, the experience is not exactly the same, because even though you were in the middle of the ocean, and there was no land in sight- you knew that somewhere out there, over the horizon there was land.  You were on your way somewhere.

The bible says that when Noah got off the boat, he made an altar and burned a sacrifice  to God, and that God was pleased by the aroma of the sacrifice.

Putting myself in Noah’s position, I wonder if there might be an element of fear- worry that if I somehow screwed up, this time I might not get the heads-up or the boat.  Worry that if I did something wrong, the rains might come back.  I’m not saying that the sacrifice was done fearfully- I’m guessing that it was done in a spirit of elation.  But down the road, after the first argument on dry-land, after the first mistruth between a husband and a wife, or a father and a son- then, would he wonder?

But God steps back into the picture, kneels down, and firmly promises:  Never again.  I solemnly swear [covenant] that you never need to fear the storm.  I will never again destroy all life by the flood.  The seasons will always come and go, and the sun shall always follow the rain.  And I will always remember.

And, he says, just to solidify your confidence in this promise, I will make a visible reminder- visible to me, and visible to you, to remind us both of this day.

God has reset the score.  The LIFE He created had been almost completely consumed and wrapped in the stench of dead-living.  So he cleaned the surface off again, and set the only righteous person he could find in the middle of it to start over again.  And he does!

Sort of.

Till the harvest.  And then he discovers the wonders of wine.  And gets himself so faced that he ends up naked on his couch.  Amazing?  Talks directly with God, and then heads straight for the first frat party he can find.  These are the people God talks with!

These are the people that God talks with.

1 of Noah’s 3 sons sees his skunked, naked dad, crashed out on the couch, and makes fun.  He calls brothers 2 and 3 over to get a gander.  But they decline, and choose instead to cover their dad, and go back to trying to forget the whole naked, 600 year old business.  When Noah wakes up from his “slumber” (read: passed out), he discovers what had happened and lays out a curse that would make a fisherman blush and cover his dainty ears.  And we see the Bible lay out an explanation for the beginnings of a conflict that would permeate the Persian culture forever.  We read about it now, every day.

Back in the garden, God made man in “his own image” and gave him authority over the earth.  Ideally, that was supposed to work in a more cooperative way.  God makes a ruling, man executes that ruling on earth, acting as God’s regent, bearing God’s image, and standing as God’s man on earth.  God vested man with that authority, with that power.  So when a blessing flows from a man, or a curse, it has certain degree of weight.  When Noah lays the curse on boy #1, and the blessings on boys #2 and #3, it has weight.  Just as Jesus declared thousands of years later- “what you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven…”  

What will I curse today?  What will I bless?  I haven’t feared God probably, like Noah might have, following the flood.  Maybe I should be more afraid.  But Jesus has come, and he has removed the need for me to fear.  Maybe that’s my evidence of salvation- I don’t really fear God because I have confidence that the blood of Jesus is enough for me.  But that doesn’t remove the fearful aspect of a Holy God in the presence of corruption.

But God delivered somebody from the flood.  And he continued to talk to him, even though Noah proved to be human (read: prone to sin).  And ultimately, God did this to reestablish LIFE- in contrast to the dead-living, death-wrapped “life” that covered the earth prior to the Great Flood.  God did this to fulfill his long-term promise to Eve in the Garden that somebody from her lineage would smash the serpent’s head.  And He promised that because God loves LIFE.  He loves being around LIFE.  He wants LIFE to spread and rise, and fill.  God loves LIFE.  And God keeps his word.  Always.  And it is to his pleasure.  His desire to see LIFE.

When the Man Comes Around


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