Thursday, November 8, 2012

Genesis 8:20 - Genesis 9

Noah worships God

The first thing Noah did after leaving the ark was to build an altar to God.  Noah was thankful to God’s provision and for sparing him and his family.  He sacrificed burnt offerings on the altar.  Being a man of God, Noah had probably done this before.  In Genesis 4 Abel’s offering was a fat portion from some of the firstborn of his flock so this was not something new.  This was so pleasing to God that He made a covenant with Noah, his sons, his descendants, every living creature and the earth to never again destroy the earth by a flood.  He made a rainbow as a sign of this covenant.  Today the symbolism of the rainbow has been corrupted by the world.  It is used to symbolize other things.  It is used as pointing to a treasure with a pot of gold at the end, a peace movement, homosexual rights, etc.

The covenant

What is a covenant?  It is an agreement or contract between two people or two groups that involve promises on each other’s part.  A covenant today has an end date, while a covenant in the Bible is a permanent arrangement.  Covenants in the Bible are still in effect today – snakes still slither on the ground, women still give birth in pain, man hast to work to eat, we all turn to dust when we die, all nations are blessed through Abram because of Christ, and the land of Israel still belongs to the Jewish people.  Jesus made a covenant with the believers at the Last Supper.  “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”Luke 22:20.

In what ways to you give sacrifices to God?  There are different ways to give sacrifices to God:
Ps. 27:6 – shouts of joy, singing to the Lord
Rom. 12:1 – a broken spirit, being sorry for your sins
Eph. 5:2 – living a life of love
Phil. 4:18 – gifts to others
Heb. 13:15-17 – praises to Jesus and sharing with others
1 Peter 2:5 – spiritual sacrifice to God

God gave similar commands to Noah and his family in this chapter as He did to Adam in the first chapter.  He told them both to be fruitful and increase in number and to fill the earth.  He gave Adam every plant to eat.  He gave Noah everything to eat even meat, but said not to eat meat with the lifeblood still in it.  He told them both that man had dominion over the animals and He also told Noah that the animals would fear and dread man – Gen 9:2.  He would demand an accounting from every animal – Gen. 9:5.  God also told Noah that He would demand an accounting for the life of fellow man.  Whoever sheds the blood of man by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God has God made man.” Gen. 9:6.  In other words if anyone murders, the life of the one who murders will be taken.  Today’s term is Capital Punishment.

Murder carries with it a sentence of death.  Capital punishment is not murder.  It is the punishment for the crime of murder.  God requires a life, when a person takes another’s life.  This punishment has been placed into the hands of the State. – Rom. 13:4.  Why does God punish by death?  It is because man is the image of God.  Man belongs to God and we are accountable for taking what belongs to Him.
Why did God forbid man to eat the blood of animals?   The life of a creature is in the blood.  Animal blood was used as a sacrifice for the atonement for man’s sins.  Now that Christ shed His blood, we have a new covenant and His blood is the atonement for our sins.

Because of sin the image of God is blurred and for it to become clear again, you must be born again.  We must be born on the Spirit.  “I tell you the truth no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:1-8.  “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph. 4:22-24

If we focused on God’s image in other Christians, it would affect our relationships with them.  We wouldn’t be so critical and see their shortcomings and faults.  We need to be more like Christ - more loving, forgiving, and compassionate.  When we believe in Him, the veil of ignorance is lifted and we see the truth.  We are changed and can then be like Christ. – 2 Cor. 3:15-18.

The curse

Noah drank some wine and became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent.  I am sure he did not intend to get drunk.  He was probably not use to drinking wine.  His son Ham told his brothers, Shem and Japheth.  Ham probably made fun of Noah.  He stirred up distention instead of promoting love as mentioned in Proverbs 6:16-19 and 17:9.  These passages in Proverbs apply to us, too.  We should not stir up distention with gossip.  We should not be quick to point out the faults of others.  Shem and Japheth had more love for their father than Ham and covered him so others would not see.  “Honor your father and your mother” Ex.20:12.  They did just that.  They honored their father.

When Noah found out what they had done, he cursed Canaan.  Canaan was the son of Ham.  He said Canaan would be the lowest of slaves to Shem.  He blessed Japheth saying God would extent his territory and would live in the tents of Shem meaning he would share in the all blessings of Shem.

Canaan did nothing wrong.  So why didn’t Noah curse Ham instead of his son Canaan?  If you did something wrong, wouldn’t a worse punishment be for your son to pay than you?  

There are several scriptures warning against drunkenness.   Here are just a few.  “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” – Prov. 20:1.  “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.”Prov. 23:20-21. “As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.  For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.” 1 Peter 4:2-4.  Drinking is not a sin in itself, but drunkenness is clearly a sin.

Lessons from Gen.8:20 – Gen. 9

It pleases God when we give sacrifices to Him.
Man is of higher order than animals.
Animals are resources as man’s food.
Man is forbidden to eat an animal with the life blood still in it.
Man’s life belongs to God.
We are accountable to God for taking what belongs to Him.
God made us in His image and He values life.
Murder carries a sentence of death.
The rainbow is God’s covenant with Noah, his sons, their descendants, and every living creature on earth that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood.
Honor your father.
God blesses those who show love and concern for others.

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