Genesis Day 18: Family first – family always
I am a dad. My shortcomings are ever-present in my mind. Please, don’t try and talk me out of them. Partly it is how I am wired: seeing what could have been and lamenting what wasn’t. Partly it is this “bit in me” that wants to not duck my responsibility. Partly it is being raised on TV shows that portrayed families in such an idyllic way, that my sense of reality is warped. (Right now you are probably thinking you need to pray for my wife—you should.)
Noah and his three sons begin the human family again—or do they?
As the waters subside, as the offering goes up to God, we see God bonding Himself to humanity—in Covenant.
As I mentioned yesterday, I love the language in chapter 8, verse 21: “…the Lord said in his heart…” His heart! And then God tells Noah what He told Adam "…be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…”
We hear from the very heart of the first parent. The Father, the one who breathed into Adam, now speaking these same words to his descendant, Noah. Do you believe this is also your family tree? Do we feel the weight of that? Can we grasp, can we daily live, with the image of being a part of God’s family?
Today we come across a word, an idea, which seeks to help us understand being a part of God’s family—that word is covenant. The idea of God and humans bonding. I did not want to talk about it when we first started reading Genesis. Early on I wanted you to simply enjoy the richness of the story, its emotion, and God’s deep presence.
In this story of Noah, God has been similarly, deeply, present. But now is the time to hopefully show you this Biblical idea of Covenant. It will come up again and again.
Covenant is a rich concept; it is wonderful. It is what one scholar described as “extended kinship.” A covenant is a way of making people believe and live as part of the family. I find we mouth the words that we are part of God’s family, but in our hearts we, at times, doubt.
The concept of a covenant very much relates to the idea of the way that maybe a father in a family makes sure that he is good to that family and in return expects that family to be obedient to his wise and proper direction.
That is the goal of Covenant.
Because it is used so frequently in the Bible, scholars have wrestled with it, hoping to exactly define it.
At its most basic level, a covenant is an oath-bound relationship between two or more parties. Thus, human covenants (for example, marriage) fall under this general definition. In divine covenants, God sovereignly establishes the relationship with His creatures. There are other nuances, but a divine covenant given after the fall is, fundamentally, one in which God binds Himself by His own oath to keep His promises—and God is faithful.
Still, there are conditions attached to that oath on the human side. If the human party involved in a covenant with God does not keep the covenant’s conditions, there will be consequences.
We have already read and thought about this. When Adam and Eve broke the commandment that they should not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they suffered numerous consequences (Gen. 3:16–19).
As we come now to Noah, after the flood, he offers a sacrifice, a “cutting” (which is a Hebrew root word from which we get the word covenant) God’s response is to make an Oath, an EVERLASTING Covenant.
The Covenants we read about in the bible happened in real-life circumstances—on earth—in space and time. They are real historical events.
As we’re reading the first book of the Bible, we will see these covenantal moments over and over again – where God is saving us and redeeming us, through real-life events, where He shows us He is faithful—that we can trust Him.
And that is a HUGE POINT: can we really trust God? Through these covenants God is trying to show us that, YES, WE CAN!
He promises, He covenants, that He will never again destroy the world with a flood.
Do you feel like you can trust you are part of God’s family? What covenant has God given you?