Day 5

God’s Covenant with Noah

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 9:1-29, Genesis 10:1-32, Isaiah 54:9-10, Hebrews 11:7

BY Sharon Hodde Miller

Recently, I met with someone who was agonizing over a big life decision. She wanted to make the right choice, and she was terrified of making the wrong one. But her fear was not simply about discerning God’s will. It was about disappointing God. Or worse, failing Him. If she made the wrong decision with the wrong motivation, she worried that God would punish her for it.

This is, not surprisingly, a common fear among Christians. Many followers of Jesus live with the unsettling worry that God will judge us for our sin, despite receiving His gift of grace and salvation. Either consciously or subconsciously, we operate out of a place of fear rather than love, and it’s often because of stories like Noah and the flood.

This fear of judgment would be understandable if the flood—or any judgment from God—were the end of the story, but thankfully, it is not. Instead, the flood is only a chapter in a bigger, redemptive plan.

What we encounter in the chapters following the flood is a second story of creation. It’s as if God wipes the slate clean and begins again. In the same way God directed Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, He commands Noah to do the same (Genesis 9:1). Noah is, in some sense, a new Adam.

However, what is different from that first creation is the presence of sin. Humanity’s relationship with God has fundamentally changed, which makes this story fundamentally different. He explains what it means to be His people and what He expects of them, but He also promises never to rain down this kind of judgment again (v.11).

God calls these commands and His promise a “covenant,” which is significant. What God is offering is not a cold, legal “contract,” but a relational covenant that is instituted and upheld by God, and here is why all of this matters: In these opening chapters of Genesis, we are learning about who God is. God is just and He will not be mocked, and we see this in His judgments. But, God is also a rescuer and a redeemer who gives everything He has to deliver us.

In every story that follows, God affirms these two things: this covenant, and His commitment to preserve His people. And ultimately, He fulfills it in Christ. Jesus receives our judgment and achieves our redemption, and then makes this restoration available to all who enter this covenant through Him.

That is why we can read these stories of God’s wrath without fear. Sin has consequences and God is indeed just—but the judgment has been dispensed. Because of Christ, God looks upon us in all our weakness and mistakes, and promises, “Never again.”

Post Comments (51)

51 thoughts on "God’s Covenant with Noah"

  1. Kylie Ho says:

    Covenant is relational. Initiated by His love and made possible even when we fail by His forgiveness, mercy and power.. Thank you for the powerful reminder of who the God we love is!

  2. Beckie Dotson says:


  3. Elle says:

    Praise be to God! Giving thanks today for God’s redemptive power!

  4. Laurie Crary says:

    I also grew up believing I could lose God’s love and favor.
    Listen to “No Matter What” by Ryan Stevenson. Amazingly captures this erroneous belief.

  5. Diana Fleenor says:

    Kristen, I see that God’s word speaks about the grace of God and the discipline of God very much in the way you wrote. This is how I understand these things of God thus far as well. Yet, I continue to seek to know him better, so together let’s keep exploring!

  6. Tracie Nall says:

    I am struck by v 14-15, when God brings the clouds over the earth and the rainbow is seen in the clouds, “HE will remember” the covenant He made with all living creatures….who am I that you are mindful of me (man) Psalm 8:4? I am the recipient of His covenant and promise.
    I have always thought that the rainbow, the sign of the covenant, was for man to remember God, but what a beautiful truth that God sees that same rainbow and remembers me – and my effort to live according to His commands in this corrupt world so He patiently tarries His return until the fullness of time when ALL those He remembers are ready!
    What an AMAZING and AWESOME God we serve! He loves us enough to remember us, lowely humans heirs of His inheritance, object of His love!

  7. Ashley WellsComerGavronsky says:


  8. Kristen says:

    Diane, I agree with you. I want to read Scripture to see the Lord’s character in all aspects. I do believe that He disciplines us to help conform us to the image of Christ. I believe that He is Holy, and I am not. I know that I can approach His throne of grace only because of Jesus’ finished work on the Cross. But, I think there are still earthly consequences for sin. I know God works all together for good for those who love Him and that are called to His purpose, but I still think that I may have to live with or for a while the consequences of some sin. Am I on the right track with this? Please help me and let me know!

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