A New Beginning (Genesis 9:1-7)

SIGNIFICANCE:  Why is this passage significant to Genesis and the Bible?  I see two theologically important points.  First is that there is a world waiting after judgment.  God’s judgment of the earth with the flood and the final judgement at the end of time does not annihilate all of created existence.  The Flood came, took all the evil away and then a new world was waiting on the other side.  The Bible says that an eternal kingdom is waiting on the other side of the coming judgment.

Secondly, Noah was righteous, and by God’s mercy he survived the judgment of the flood and inherited this new world.  That is a picture of what is coming too:  only the righteous will inherit the kingdom of God.

Thirdly, while Noah was “righteous in God’s sight,” he was not without sin.  As Pastor Ray pointed out last week, while all of evil humanity was wiped off the face of the earth through the flood, sin came through the flood with Noah and his family.  They were descendents of Adam and Eve, thus they inherited sin.

What place does it have in explaining the book, the Bible?  How does it move human history forward?

Our sermon this morning will have 4 headings:  1) New Blessing, 2) New Menu, 3) New Rule, 4) New Covenant

A New Blessing (1, 7)

As Noah gets his land legs back the first thing God does is bless him.  Read verses 1 and 7 with me.  God tells Noah at this New Beginning the same thing He told Adam and Eve at the first Beginning.  Read 1:28.

God is starting over with Noah and his family.  Noah and his family are the couple of “seeds” that God will cause to grow the vine of humanity all over the earth again.  The LORD gives and the LORD takes away.  The Lord took away evil humanity before the Flood, now He’s going to start over and replenish the earth with mankind.

What I notice as I keep rereading through Genesis is that God’s blessing is seen in “increase” and “multiplying” and “filling”.  Basically blessing means “more.”  Throughout Genesis wherever God is blessing we read of people experiencing increase, getting more.  We saw it first with Adam and Eve, God blessed and they increased in number.  Now the same thing with Noah.  But follow along with me to see the principle that God’s blessing means increase.

  • Increased Wealth.  “The LORD has blessed my master abundantly and he has become wealthy.”  Genesis 24:12 says.  In Genesis 26:12-13 God blesses by increasing Isaac’s wealth…. [READ]
  • Increased Land.  God’s blessing is seen in increasing land ownership.  Genesis 26:3-4 says…. [READ]
  • Increased Age.  Genesis 24:1 says “Abraham was now old and well advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed him in every way.”  God gave increase to everything in Abraham’s life – including the length of his life.  He was old!  And that is an honor!
  • Increased Children and Descendents.  Genesis 17:16-20 describes God’s blessing of Sarah and Ishmael as increasing their children…[Read]  He says the same thing to Abraham in 22:17-18 and Isaac in 26:24.  SPeaking of Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, her family blessed her when saying goodbye to her and said, “And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, ‘Our sister may you increase to thousands upon thousands; may your offspring possess the gates of their enemies.’”
  • Increased Joy.  Sarah’s joy over Isaac’s birth (21:1, 6-7)
  • Increased Victory.  Genesis 14:19 and 20 says, “And God blessed Abraham….[He] delivered your enemies into your hand.” 
  • Increased Favor.  “The LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph.  Joseph found favor in the eyes of Potiphar.” (Gen. 39:4-5).  

APPLICATION:  God’s blessing brings increase.  That may mean material, as in physical health and financial.  No real believer sees their good health as something other than God’s blessing.  No real believer sees any financial success or gift as something other than God’s blessing.  

But this is not the only ways in which God can bless and increase.  God blesses spiritually as well.  “For we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3).  Increased joy…increased wisdom….increased faith….increased peace….increased love….increased knowledge….increased strength…..  God 

APPLICATION:  Sometimes God takes away in order to add.  Sometimes God takes away in one area of life to add in another.  If God takes away wealth or health it very well could be to increase something else:  your faith, your trust in Him and dependence upon Him.  It could be to increase your confidence that He truly is good.  It could be to open up a greater ability in you to have joy in Christ and not in those material and physical things.  To be hurt by financial loss, the loss of a job, a home, the loss of health, the loss of a child or spouse, certainly isn’t “increasing” any of those things.  

But God doesn’t take something away without a good purpose.  How was Job a different man at the end of the book compared to the beginning?  Jesus said the church of Smyrna was materially destitute while at the same time He called them “rich.”  Its because “rich” is far wider a term than merely money and possessions.  Think of Proverbs 15:17 when it says, “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred.”  Translation:  “Better a meal of Ramen noodles where there is love than filet mignon with hatred.”  Or Proverbs 17:1 when it says, “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife!”  Translation:  “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife!”  

The poor guy is richer, you better believe it!  Choose poverty and peace instead of wealth and war!  

A New Menu (2-4)

Another significant change now occurs on the earth.The new change is the relationship between man and animals.  Animals will now fear man, and they are also now free game for food.  Read verses 2-4 with me….

God said to Adam and Eve, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it.  They will be yours for food.” (Genesis 1:29).  God said, “I give you.”  Now he tells Noah, “I give you everything that lives and moves as food for you to eat.”  The menu has been expanded.  Steak, burgers, bacon, chicken nuggets are all added to humanity’s menu.  Noah would soon realize how much it really did pay to have spent all that time building the ark.  

A couple points come to mind.  The righteous eat better.  Think about it, all the delicious meats we love were never available to pre-Flood man.  But then again, pre-flood man was very wicked in God’s eyes.  God had some great things in store for Noah after the flood.  See – it pays to be righteous!  You eat way better!  In case you’re wondering how Biblical that is, remember what Jesus said in Matthew 8, “I tell you that many will come and take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”  There is a coming feast in the kingdom of heaven that only the righteous will attend.  The righteous eat very well.

Another thought is that after the flood is when fishing and hunting can begin.  Chapter 10 says Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the LORD.  Chapter 25 says Esau, Jacob’s brother, became a skillful hunter and a man of the open country.  There was no hunting and fishing before the Flood. Ah!

A final thought here is this:  vegetarianism is not morally superior to eating meat.  If someone doesn’t eat meat for health reasons that is understandable.  If someone doesn’t eat meat for ideological convictions, and they think its immoral, then they’re wrong.  God said, “I give you meat to eat.  Every land animal is yours.”  Later in Genesis, it says that Esau’s father, Isaac, loved Esau more than Jacob because Esau was a hunter.  It says he “had a taste for wild game” and loved to eat what Esau hunted.  Later in the sacrifices God prescribed for the nation of Israel it says that the choicest portions of the animal were reserved for the priests.  If you want to be consistent then I may argue once again that the backstraps this fall might be most honoring to the Lord if they’re brought in for your pastor.  Remember that God and the two angels of the Lord that came down to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah first stopped by Abraham’s house and ate beef (18:7-8).  Jesus ate fish after he was raised from the dead (Lk 24) and in the Millennial Kingdom Isaiah 25 tells us this, “On this mountain [Jerusalem] the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines.”  

Meat is on the menu and it will be on the menu.  Food is not just useful for sustenance.  Food is part of the gladness of feasting and the joyful sharing of fellowship with others.  

Interestingly, the fear animals have of humans and each other will be changed in the Kingdom.  Turn to Isaiah 11:6-9 and follow along.  

Do not eat meat with its lifeblood still in it.  This rule was incorporated into Law of Moses, “If anyone eats blood that person must be cut off from His people.” (Leviticus 7:27).  In the early Church, when it was still mostly all Jews, the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem wanted to encourage the new Gentile converts who were coming to Christ.  But they gave them some instruction to help promote unity with Jews.  Acts 15:29 records their letter:  “You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from the meat of strangled animals, from sexual immorality and FROM BLOOD.”  

It has been explained well by scholars that the life of the creature is in the blood.  Ane

A New Rule (5-6)

Now we see a New Rule.  Follow along in 4-6….

This new rule has to do with taking human life.  There are 3 things here to pull out.  

First, Man is accountable to God for the killing of another man.    The point of this point is that God is the judge.  That’s a meta-theme from beginning to end of Scripture.  Abraham called God “the Judge of all the earth” (18:25).  Paul told Timothy that Jesus Christ “will judge the living and the dead.” (2 Tim. 4:1).  “For God has set a day” Acts 17 says, “when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed – Jesus Christ.”

Everyone who has taken the life of another human being wrongfully WILL answer to God.  God gave that life and He will force every man and woman to stand before Him and answer for their sin.  Every murder, every abortion and every slaughter of innocent people will be judged by God.  “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.”  

I remember talking with a man I worked with years ago, he was a scientologist, and the nicest guy you could ever meet.  We talked a lot about spiritual things.  One day in the Plant Manager’s office with everyone around we were deep in a talk.  I asked him how does Scientology explain the origin of the universe?  How does it explain the origin of man and all of life?  How does it explain the existence of evil?  What does it say about eternity?  And what proof for any of these answers do you have?  Finally I said, “Bob [not his real name], the Bible says you were created by God, and that you have sin and Jesus died for your sins so you could have eternal life.  If you don’t believe in Jesus you will stand before God and give an answer to him for your sins.  And you won’t satisfy him.”  The nicest guy I ever met got a fierce look in his eyes, and while gritting his teeth snarled, “I’m accountable to NO God.”  I snapped back, “Yes you are Bob!  Hebrews 9:27 says, ‘It is appointed for man to die once and face judgement” so Bob your Scientology belief in reincarnation is wrong and you are also dangerously wrong about standing before God.”

Second, anyone who murders shall be put to death.  There is wrongful killing and there is just killing.  When Cain killed Abel that was murder, that was a wrongful killing.  When God killed the whole world – save Noah – that was a just killing of man.  Man deserved death, and had no right from God to continue living.

You have two killings mentioned in verse 6.  You have the murder “Whoever sheds the blood of man.”  And you have the just killing of the murderer, “by man shall his blood be shed.”  The murderer, who like Cain wrongfully takes the life of another innocent human being, must be put to death.  It is not wrong to kill the murderer.  It is the command from God to do so.  Later in the Law of Moses this foundational rule would be built upon in all sorts of ways.  

This command is born out of God’s justice.  Notice this is God speaking here, giving this command.  You know what that means?  It means that this passage is an outright denunciation of the idea of “Karma.”  Impersonal “karma” is some force in the universe that supposedly keeps moral balance – making sure that “what goes around comes around” and “people will get what they deserve.”  This is idolatry straight from Hell.  Justice in the universe comes only because there is a Just Creator of the Universe who has perfect wisdom and knowledge and He PERSONALLY will make sure that every man gets what he deserves – whether good or bad.  Stop saying “karma”.  It’s idolatrous.  And if you say, “Well I don’t mean karma, its not like a believe in it, I just use it in my language.”  Well then its not a very important word to you so it shouldn’t be a big deal to stop using it.  

It is an ongoing historical debate in societies over what is the purpose of punishing wrongdoers.  Should society seek to reform criminals and their sentences should be for that end?  Or should their consequences be based on punishment with no eye towards their reform?  Here the Bible has punishment in mind.  God does not seek the moral reformation of the murderer, but, instead their punishment.  And you see the principle of lex talionis at play as well, “eye for an eye”….or more accurately, “life for a life.”  The man who sheds blood must have his blood shed.  The man who is a threat to the innocent lives of others is no longer innocent and forfeits any right for himself to go on living.  

Here we have the basis of capital punishment.  Society is supposed to protect and promote innocent human life.  In order to do that society has to deal with the reality that people will threaten social peace and innocent lives.  And society has the obligation, not the option, to put down those people who are threats.  

Lastly, the image of God is the basis of this rule.  The image of God is demanding.  It obligates us to protect and promote human life.  The answer to Cain is echoed here:  “Yes, you are your brother’s keeper.” 

The image of God in man is the reason why we treat our fellow man with dignity, care, respect and even honor.  You may not like someone, and even detest them, but they are made in God’s image.  teachings for how we are treat each other.  James 3 says we are not to curse our fellow man because they are made in God’s image.  God is life, He created all life, He created an environment on earth for life to flourish.  God is “all about” life.  He WANTS life.  As a matter of fact, He offers a way out of death to have eternal life.  Yeah, God cares about life.  

God promotes life but Satan promotes death.  He is the enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy.  He was a murderer from the beginning.  He can’t kill God but he can kill those who bear God’s image.  He does it through murder, through abortion

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