Genesis 9:8-11 (ESV)
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “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. 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.”
After the Great Flood, God told Noah, “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.”
What was God doing? And what is a covenant?
In biblical times, covenants signified a new relationship between the parties involved. Generally, each party bound themselves to perform specific duties or services for the other. Covenants were unalterable and permanent.
Throughout the Old Testament, God made covenants with his people. Besides Noah, God made covenants with Abraham, Moses, and David.
Space limits discussion of these divine covenants. However, each succeeding one revealed something new about God and his relationship with his people. Moreover, each one foreshadowed more clearly the saving work that God would accomplish through Jesus.
In the covenant with Noah, we see the grace and long-suffering nature of God… and his commitment to his creation. God would never again send a consuming flood. Instead, God would find a different way to deal with human sin.
(Jesus) took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:19-21)
The body and blood of Jesus. These were how God dealt with human sin for all time. On the cross, my sin, your sin, the sin of all his followers, was crammed into Jesus. He was made dirty. We were made clean. He died. We live.
We celebrate this New Covenant every week in bread and wine.
Thank you, Jesus.