“But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6.18-20).
The focus passage contains the very first recorded usage of the word covenant in the Scriptures. God was the One making the covenant; Noah was the recipient of the covenant. The threat was the threat of sin; the remedy was the flood. Some see the flood as “cruel and unusual punishment” on the part of God. In reality, the sinful state of mankind was cruel and unusual punishment to the innocent souls (as well as the righteous souls) that were alive at the time. The righteous souls included Noah and his immediate family; the innocent souls included the countless thousands or hundreds of thousands of children who knew neither good nor evil due to their youth. To have allowed them to be reared in such a depraved world was more than God could stomach!
Although we do not know all the facts, when we take into consideration the character of God, we can deduce that the greater harm would have come to these innocents by withholding the flood than they experienced through the floodwaters that raged upon the earth. For that reason, God determined to destroy all mankind. Noah was to be spared through the covenant action of the Lord God Almighty, but a fact that many fail to understand is that the innocents (those who were destined to die in the flood) were also spared by the very waters that took their lives! “Spared?” you ask! “How can you say they were spared when they died in the flood?” Answer: They were spared from the horrific futures they faced at the hands of a world filled to overflowing with evil; they were delivered to live with God where the righteous and the innocent dwell eternally!
The fact that God seeks the greater good for humanity at all times is a fact that should not come as a surprise to those who believe the Bible. We may not understand all the circumstances of every situation, but we do know the character of God! Knowing His character allows us to confidently draw such conclusions. Had there been a better way, He would have chosen it! You can make that same argument for every situation in Old Testament history in which men “second guess” the actions and character of God. It is an indisputable truth that God always acts in man’s best interest, even when man doesn’t know what his best interest is!
God was a covenant making God. His covenants were made because of His love for humanity and due to His desire to see us as a race succeed spiritually. His covenant with Abraham looked forward to the time in which the entire human race could be blessed through the promised seed. God’s covenant with Moses and the children of Israel looked to the time when a Prophet who was greater than Moses would arise and through whom access to the Lord’s throne would be granted. God’s covenant with David was one which foresaw the promised Messiah seated forever on God’s right hand and seated upon the Throne of David. All of His covenants looked to better things for His children!
Faith (or trust as we sometimes say it) demands that the true face of God be viewed and proclaimed among all of humanity. His covenants are testimony to His desire to bless us in all that we say and do; He only demands that we bless Him in all that we say and do! That is a bargain in any age!
1. How wicked was the world at the time of the flood?
2. What happened to the innocents who died in the flood?
3. How does the believer know that God always seeks our highest good?
4. Was the flood cruel and unusual punishment? Why or why not?
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