WE ARE GOD’S COVENANT PEOPLE

One of the most important idea in the Bible is that we are God’s covenant people. God has a covenant with you and me.

A covenant is like a modern contract. It’s an agreement between 2 parties. A covenant is about relationship. A contract is about things – exchanging of things and attaining of things.

This morning we will talk about the first formal covenant in the Bible. The covenant between God and Noah.

GOD AND NOAH

Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt. So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth!

“Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat—lower, middle, and upper.

“Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat—you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring a pair of every kind of animal—a male and a female—into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.”

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him. Genesis 6.11-22 (NLT)

A WORLD GONE WRONG

“Now God saw that the earth had become corrupt and was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, for everyone on earth was corrupt.” vv. 11-12

The most Holy God had a problem: the world he created had become corrupt and violent. Corrupt here means broken, spoilt, twisted – not what it was meant to be. Violent means the absence of justice. People are not treating each other right.

Everything is broken because the people in charge are broken. So let’s reboot this whole thing…

THE REESTABLISHMENT OF CREATION COVENANT

“But I will confirm my covenant with you…” v. 18

Confirm. Reestablish. Not make a new covenant. This means that God is re-establishing a covenant that he had made before. A covenant he made with Adam at the beginning of Creation.

Noah is the New Adam. If you pay attention to the story of the Big Flood, you will see that it shares a lot of similarities with the story of creation.

What then is the original covenant with Adam about? 2 things: Relationship and Authority. Sonship and Rulership.

RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

“When God created human beings, he made them to be like himself. He created them male and female, and he blessed them and called them “human.” When Adam was 130 years old, he became the father of a son who was just like him—in his very image. He named his son Seth.” Genesis 5.1-3

Adam was made in God’s image. Just like Seth was like Adam’s image. God is a father to Adam just like Adam was Seth’s father. We are like him because we were created according to his image. This likeness, this image, is what connects us to God and set us apart from the rest of creation.

God wants to have a relationship with us. That’s why blessed us with his image. That’s why he made us like him.

AUTHORITY OVER CREATION

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1.28

God created us to rule over the rest of creation on his behalf. Theologians call this the Creation Mandate or Cultural Mandate. God made us to rule over creation. That’s the kingship part. But we are only to rule according to his ways or his godly intent. That’s the servanthood part. We reign over everything as kings and queens but we are all his servants.

A HARD RESET

But Adam and Eve decided to go rule apart from God instead. That’s the first sin. And now creation is broken. The rest of creation is no longer easy for mankind to control.

And it gets worst. Mankind are starting to turn against one another. It started with Adam throwing Eve under the bus when God caught them red handed. But things went to a whole other level of craziness when Cain murdered his own brother Abel.

So that’s where we find ourselves in the beginning of Noah’s story. God’s wonderful creation corrupt and broken – filled with violent people.

It was so bad that he sort of did the whole creation act all over again. A hard reset. Starting over again with the flood. With Noah instead of Adam.

But of course we know that the result was the same. The violence and corruption were still there after the Big Flood. Just like Adam, Noah failed as well – embarrassing himself in his nakedness. And one of his sons made fun of him instead of helping him. These are the seeds for more brokenness and more violence down the line.

But did God do another hard reset? Another deluge? No. And that is what this covenant with Noah is all about.

GOD OF SECOND CHANCES

Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.” Genesis 9.8-11

God said “my covenant with you.” God is binding himself to this covenant. No matter what happens, He will make us his children. We will reign over the rest of creation on his behalf.

Even if we are unfaithful, he will keep his covenant with us and the rest of creation. No matter what. God will not destroy us. God will not start over from the beginning with a new set of creation. He is working with this one.

God knows we will fail but it does not matter. That’s why he is binding himself to his own covenant. He will not destroy us. He will keep his covenant.

We are people of Second chances. Some of us 35th chances. God is faithful and will let you join his plan to make us his children and his kings and queens. But we need to not only take that second chance but also make the best of that chance.

This is what our church is all about, for people to take that second chance and make the best. We don’t care where you’ve been but we do care very much where you’re going.

HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF YOUR SECOND CHANCES

1. IT STARTS WITH YOU

The starting point of your second chance is You. It starts with the individuals, whether they want to change or not / to make best of the second chances offered or given.

2. IT REQUIRES TOTAL OWNERSHIP

To make the best of your second chances, it requires your total ownership. Accept the blessing for a chance to not repeat the same mistake. A chance to change your life to the better. A chance to be the bigger person in a relationship. Do not waste it. Own it.

3. IT REQUIRES TOTAL COMMITMENT

To make the best of your second chances, it requires your total commitment. A second chance doesn’t change your life overnight. A second chance is just a start. To make a second chance a reality needs a lot of commitment on your part.

THE SIGN OF THE COVENANT

Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.” vv. 12-17

The sign for this covenant between God and Noah as the representative of humankind and the rest of creation is the rainbow. What’s interesting is that there is no word for ‘rainbow’ in Biblical Hebrew. The word we translate as rainbow actually means a bow – as in ‘a bow and arrows’. It is a weapon. But God is turning that weapon of war into a multi colored symbol of his love across the sky. That’s powerful.

That’s a powerful reminder of God’s grace: we don’t get what we deserve. We deserve to be destroyed because of our corruption and violence – because of our disobedience. God deserves to destroy us with his divine weapons and armies. But instead, he chooses mercy. He gives us a second chance. He gives everyone a second chance.