The Majesty of God’s Rule
The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed, he is girded with strength.
He has established the world; it shall never be moved;
your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
More majestic than the thunders of mighty waters,
more majestic than the waves of the sea,
majestic on high is the Lord!
Your decrees are very sure;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Covenants are sacred promises. Most of the covenants we have in scripture are between God and people, but today we are probably most familiar with covenants in marriages. Unlike promises, most covenants are long-term commitments. Marriages are meant to last a lifetime. Some of the biblical covenants between families were made to last multiple generations. God’s covenants are made to last forever.
Some of our theological questions arise from the intersection between God’s promises of blessed provision and His judgment. Genesis 1-9 gives us an excellent picture of how those covenants weather the storms of time and unfaithfulness. The single solid point in these biblical covenants is, again like a marriage, “I am yours an you are mine.” It is not an issue of materialistic possession. It is more like the connection between a mother and child. We belong to each other. We belong together. In Exodus, it was “I will be your God and you will be my people.” This is not really any different from what was implied by the relationship between God and humanity in the Garden of Eden.
But humanity messed up and broke their part of the promise. We cheated on God. So how does God handle this? He judges us.
God sent a flood to wipe out all life living on the land. Everything but the fish (and possibly some birds) were eliminated. Sin has a kind of contagiousness about it, and when one part is affected, it takes everything around it down with it. Creation had been ruined by violence and God intended on starting over.
Yet He did not start from scratch. Just as sin corrupts us from the inside out, so God’s mark upon us as our creator remains upon us even in that corruption. That is likely the reason for the judgment. Unlike the animals, we, who were “made in God’s image” are walking advertisements of Who He is, and when we sin we become false advertisements that need to be torn down and replaced. God did not tear us all down though. He found one man in whom enough of His image remained clear that He thought He could work with.
That, in a nutshell, is what the 2nd covenant, the rainbow, is all about. God did His job well enough in creating us that there is always the potential for redemption. Our sin shows there is always a need for redemption. Redemption is the beautiful bridge that crosses that gap between our need and the potential God made and sees in us.
Where do you see your need today?
Where do you see God working redemption in you?