Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quote of the Day #187 - John Winthrop


This is a famous quote from John Winthrop, a well-known puritan leader in early Colonial America. The quote below comes from a sermon Winthrop wrote while crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 1630.
For wee must consider that wee shall be as a citty upon a hill. The eies of all people are uppon us. Soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our God in this worke wee haue undertaken, and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. Wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of God, and all professors for God's sake. Wee shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into curses upon us till wee be consumed out of the good land whither wee are a goeing. (source)
Here's the same excerpt with modern English spelling:
For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. So that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a by-word through the world. We shall open the mouths of enemies to speak evil of the ways of God, and all professors for God's sake. We shall shame the faces of many of God's worthy servants, and cause their prayers to be turned into curses upon us till we be consumed out of the good land whither we are a going.
~John Winthrop

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Quote of the Day #188 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day #184 - John Owen
Quote of the Day #185 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day #186 - William Gurnall
Quote Index

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Blessing On Shem And Japheth - Genesis 9:26-27 Bible Commentary


After cursing Canaan, Noah speaks of his two sons Shem and Japheth:
He also said,
"Blessed be the LORD,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
"May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant."
(Genesis 9:26-27)
Notice that twice in this blessing, Noah reinforces the curse on Canaan. Notice also that between Canaan, Shem, and Japheth, Shem is the son that Noah honors the most. Noah calls Yahweh the God of Shem, but does not call Yahweh the God of Canaan or the God of Japheth.

This distinction may seem strange at first, but if you jump forward a few chapters to Genesis 11, you will see that Shem is one of Abraham’s ancestors. Shem, then, is singled out by Noah because the Hebrew people would come from his lineage. Even more importantly, from the lineage of Shem came Jesus Christ: who saves all those who come to Him, regardless of ancestry.

After blessing Shem, Noah speaks of Japheth's future, saying, "May God enlarge Japheth". Noah then says that Japheth will "dwell in the tents of Shem". This could possibly be referring to the Romans who were descendants of Japheth and eventually conquered Judah— thus the descendants of Japheth would be dwelling in the "tents" of Shem. Another possible interpretation is that through the lineage of Shem they received the good news of the gospel, which could be considered a type of spiritual tent.

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Noah's Curse On Canaan (Part 2) - Genesis 9:24-25 Bible Commentary


I ended the previous post by bringing up a lingering objection you might have. You might be wondering how it is right for an entire line of unborn descendants to be cursed on the basis of a decision made by one of their ancestors. Ham wronged Noah, but Noah cursed Canaan. How is that right?

The concept of God punishing people based upon the actions of their ancestors makes an appearance in the Ten Commandments. God said to Moses:
You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:4-6, emphasis added)
The sinful decisions made by a person's ancestors often have a negative influence on the generations that come after them. The first generation of Israelites that let a tiny bit of idolatry into their lives allowed those who came after them to let even more idolatry into their lives.

The truth is, as humans, we like to think we are independent. But in all reality, we are not. Although we are ultimately condemned on the basis of our own actions, from Adam onward, the decisions made by other humans have affected every part of our daily lives. When Adam sinned, God cursed Adam and every other human that would come after Adam.

The sinful decisions made by our more recent ancestors can also have a negative effect on us— and it is only by the grace of God that we can escape our idolatry, turn from the ways of our sinful ancestors, and kneel before the foot of the cross.

<< Prev

Related Posts:
The Blessing On Shem And Japheth - Genesis 9:26-27
Ham's Evil Act Against Noah - Genesis 9:22-24
Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21
Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Noah's Curse On Canaan (Part 1) - Genesis 9:24-25 Bible Commentary


When Noah was drunk, Ham did something to Noah. Something that was wrong. And whatever that something was, when Noah awoke, he cursed Ham's son:
When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said,
"Cursed be Canaan;
servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers."
(Genesis 9:24-25)
This passage probably causes numerous questions to come to mind. However, I want you to first focus on this question: Did Noah have the power to control the future?

The answer is probably what you think it is: No. Noah definitely did not have the power to control the future. No mere human has the power to determine the future of countless generations by speaking a few words.

Noah's curse, then, should be seen as a type of prophecy. Noah was not determining what would happen hundreds of years down the road; he was just prophesying (through God's grace) what would happen because of Ham's actions.

Which brings us to the next point: We know that Noah was prophesying, but what does his prophetic curse mean?

This question can best be answered by looking to Abraham. Nearly one thousand years after Noah uttered his curse, God made a covenant with Abraham. Part of the covenant was that Abraham's descendants would receive the Promised Land. The only "problem" with this covenant at the time was that the Canaanites- descendants of Canaan- were already living in the Promised Land (Genesis 17:8).

The Canaanites were a thriving culture for many generations after God's covenant with Abraham. It was not until about 500 years later that the Israelites, under the command of Joshua, conquered the Canaanites. Yet even then, they did not conquer them completely:
It came about when the sons of Israel became strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely. (Joshua 17:13)
This could be a fulfillment, or at least a partial fulfillment of Noah's curse. Some, however, see a more broad fulfillment of the curse. The argument goes something like this: throughout history, the descendants of Canaan have generally been in positions of servitude. Perhaps this is a good argument, or perhaps not. Either way, Noah's curse on Canaan should never be used as a justification to mistreat Africans as people of "Ham's descent" (as was done in the past by some slave masters in the American South).

It is important to keep in mind what Paul wrote to the Galatians:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)
Ancestry no longer matters for those who are in Christ Jesus. No Christian should ever look down on another man because of his "race" (note that every human can find Adam and Noah in his family tree, for more info see Genesis 9:18-19).

You probably still have one lingering objection to Noah's curse. You might be wondering how it is possible for an entire line of unborn descendants to be cursed on the basis of a decision made by one of their ancestors. In the second part of this series, I intend to address this objection.

Next >>

Related Posts:
The Blessing On Shem And Japheth - Genesis 9:26-27
Ham's Evil Act Against Noah - Genesis 9:22-24
Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21
Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19

Monday, November 21, 2011

Quote of the Day #186 - William Gurnall


A quote from William Gurnall:
What would you say of a prisoner who was sent money for his release, but used it instead to amuse himself while in prison? This is in essence what we do when we take the talents God expects us to use in preparation for the hour of death, and instead bestow them upon our lusts.
~William Gurnall (The Christian In Complete Armor Volume One, Chapter 4, Part 2)

This quote was taken from the book The Christian In Complete Armor Volume One - A modernized abridgement of the Puritan Classic by William Gurnall, published by Banner Of Truth.

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Quote of the Day #187 - John Winthrop
Quote of the Day #183 - William Gurnall
Quote of the Day #184 - John Owen
Quote of the Day #185 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote Index

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quote of the Day #185 - Charles Spurgeon


A quote from Charles Spurgeon on the most noble of the sciences:
He who often thinks of God will have a larger mind than the man who simply plods around this arrow globe. He may be a naturalist, boasting of his ability to dissect a beetle, anatomize a fly, or arrange insects and animals in classes with well-nigh unutterable names. He may be a geologist, able to discourse of the megatherium and the plesiosaurus and all kinds of extinct animals. He may imagine that his science, whatever it is, ennobles and enlarges his mind. I dare say it does, but after all, the most excellent study for expanding the soul is the science of Christ and Him crucified and the knowledge of the Godhead in the glorious Trinity.

Nothing will so enlarge the intellect, nothing so magnify the whole soul of man as a devout, earnest, continued investigation of the great subject of the Deity.
~Charles Spurgeon (The Immutability Of God 1)

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Quote of the Day #186 - William Gurnall
Quote of the Day #182 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day #183 - William Gurnall
Quote of the Day #184 - John Owen
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Always Look To Christ - The Gospel (Part 9 of ∞)


Do not merely trust in Christ in the low points of your life. Do not merely trust in Him when you are at your weakest and sin is at its heaviest. Instead, trust Christ in both the low and the high points of your life. When you are at a high point, filled with confidence, and filled with the joy of Christ— keep on looking to Him!

If you do not look to Christ at all times, then you are sure to fall. That old saying that pride comes before a fall is true. In those moments when you feel as if you are in control of your life— when you feel as if sin is absent, and when you feel as if everything is going according to plan— it is in those moments that the temptation arises to turn your gaze away from Christ. And, oh, how easy it can be to fall prey to such temptation!

It is in the moments that we are least sorrowful over sin and most confident in ourselves that we fall. Look to Him! Look to Him in everything! Never be content with your spiritual condition. There is always more to be done. There is always a deeper communion with God to be found. Seek after that, and never stop seeking! Because if you do stop seeking, spiritual idleness will begin to creep into your life. Your pride will begin to grow, and soon, you will find yourself weeping before God because of a great fall— a fall that you could have avoided if you had been diligent to keep watch over your soul.

As Jesus said to His disciples: Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. (Matthew 26:41 ESV)

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The Gospel (7 of ∞)
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quote of the Day #184 - John Owen


A quote from John Owen:
The difference between believers and unbelievers as to knowledge is not so much in the matter of their knowledge as in the manner of knowing. Unbelievers, some of them, may know more and be able to say more of God, his perfections, and his will, than many believers; but they know nothing as they ought, nothing in a right manner, nothing spiritually and savingly, nothing with a holy, heavenly light. The excellency of a believer is, not that he has a large apprehension of things, but that what he does apprehend, which perhaps may be very little, he sees it in the light of the Spirit of God, in a saving, soul-transforming light; and this is that which gives us communion with God, and not prying thoughts or curious-raised notions.
~John Owen (Of The Mortification Of Sin In Believers, Part 2, Chapter 12)

This quote was taken from the book Overcoming Sin and Temptation, Three Classic Works By John Owen, published by Crossway in 2006.

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Quote of the Day #185 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day #181 - Augustine
Quote of the Day #182 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day #183 - William Gurnall
Quote Index

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ham's Evil Act Against Noah - Genesis 9:22-24 Bible Commentary


Noah— the man who had accomplished so much and had been so faithful to God— was lying in his tent, drunk and naked. Noah's already bad day turned worse when his son, Ham, walked into the tent:
Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it upon both their shoulders and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were turned away, so that they did not see their father’s nakedness. (Genesis 9:22-23)
Noah's reaction to Ham's actions is described in the next few verses:
When Noah awoke from his wine, he knew what his youngest son had done to him. So he said,
"Cursed be Canaan;
A servant of servants
He shall be to his brothers." (Genesis 9:24-25)
What exactly did Ham do that caused Noah to curse him? This question has stumped people for a long time, but for a good reason: The Bible does not tell us what Ham did to Noah!

The only thing that we can be sure of is that Ham did something to Noah. Some suggest that Ham merely saw his father, but verse 24 clearly implies that Ham did something to Noah. What that something was, we do not know. Some have suggested Ham committed some sort of lewd act against his father. Yet it is important to remember that such a suggestion is merely speculation, not firm fact.

So why is this here? Why is Ham's evil act in Scripture? What's the point? If anything, Ham's evil act shows us that although the flood had passed, man was still the same. Noah sinned after the flood— and so did his son. Just as the pre-flood era was filled with rebellion against God, so too would the new post-flood era world be filled with rebellion.

Related Posts:
Noah's Curse On Canaan (Part 1) - Genesis 9:24-25
Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21
The Genealogy: Adam to Noah - Genesis 5
Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quote of the Day #183 - William Gurnall


A quote from William Gurnall on pain:
Our death was bred when our life was first conceived. And as a woman cannot stop the hour of her travail, which is a natural consequence of conception, so neither can man hinder the bringing forth of death with which his life is impregnated. Every physical pain you endure is a groan from your dying nature, warning you that death is at hand.
~William Gurnall (The Christian In Complete Armor Volume One, Chapter 4, Part 2)

This quote was taken from the book The Christian In Complete Armor Volume One - A modernized abridgement of the Puritan Classic by William Gurnall, published by Banner Of Truth.

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Quote of the Day #184 - John Owen
Quote of the Day #180 - William Gurnall
Quote of the Day #181 - Augustine
Quote of the Day #182 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote Index

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Quote of the Day #182 - Charles Spurgeon


A quote from Charles Spurgeon on the cross:
Leave out the cross, and you have killed the religion of Jesus. Atonement by the blood of Jesus is not an arm of Christian truth; it is the heart of it... I know nothing of Christianity without the blood of Christ. No teaching is healthy which throws the Cross into the background.
~Charles Spurgeon (The Blood Shed For Many 1971.375)

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Quote of the Day #179 - Charles Spurgeon
Quote of the Day #180 - William Gurnall
Quote of the Day #181 - Augustine
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21 Bible Commentary

Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself inside his tent. (Genesis 9:20-21)
Noah was blameless.
He had walked with God,
and heard God's voice.
He had built an ark,
survived the flood,
built an altar,
and received God's covenant.

Everything was finished.
Now he could
settle down,
rest,
and relax.

And so, Noah began to farm.
He planted a vineyard.
Soon enough,
The vineyard grew.

The fruit from the vineyard was gathered.
Wine was made.

Noah drank the wine.
And he drank some more wine.
And then, he drank some more.

The man who had weathered so great a storm—
The man who had been so faithful for so long—
had given into temptation.

Noah fell.
And his fall was great.

He uncovered himself so that his drunken sinfulness was on full display.
Noah, after being mightily used by God, fell, just as so many others have.
He fell like Samson did with Delilah.
Like David did with Bathsheba.

If you do not get anything else out of Genesis 9:20-21, get this: It does not matter how much God has used you. It does not matter how faithful you have been in the past. You are still living in a mortal body that is subject to temptation. You are not yet in a pure, resurrected body, and every single day you must seek to kill off the sin that clings to you. If you do not, you will be caught off guard, and you will fall— just as Noah did.

Related Posts:
Ham's Evil Act Against Noah - Genesis 9:22-24
Noah's Obedience - Genesis 6:22
Noah's Name: Its Meaning and Significance - Genesis 5:29
Noah: Blameless In His Time - Genesis 6:9-10
Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quote of the Day #181 - Augustine


This is a quote from Henry Bettenson's translation (1972) of Augustine's book, City of God, on the grace of God in saving sinners:
For it is only sins that separate men from God; and in this life purification from sins is not effected by our merit, but by the compassion of God, through his indulgence, not through our power; for even that poor little virtue which we call ours has itself been granted to us by his bounty.
~Augustine (City of God (Penguin Classics), 1984, Book X, Chapter 22)

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Why You Are Related To Noah - Genesis 9:18-19 Bible Commentary


Were you born after Noah was born? Then you are related to Noah.

It really is that simple.

But if you would like a more complex explanation, here it is: Around 2349 BC (according to James Ussher's dating system), a massive flood filled the entire earth. This flood, usually referred to as "Noah's Flood," destroyed everyone living on the earth— everyone, that is, except for eight people.

Scripture tells us the names of only four of the eight people who survived the flood: Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The other four people who survived were each of their wives.

Since the seven people who left the ark with Noah were all in some way related to Noah, it is simple enough to conclude that everyone who has lived after Noah's flood is also related to Noah. This fact is clearly supported by Scripture:
Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated. (Genesis 9:18-19)
After all the corruption in the pre-flood world, after all the destruction, and after nearly a year on the ark, Noah and his three sons left the ark. From these four men and their wives, the entire earth was repopulated.

Now I know that there are some people who would object to such a statement. Such objectors might try to claim that there were other people on the Earth who were not destroyed by the flood— and that since those people were not related to Noah, it is impossible to conclude that everyone on Earth is related to Noah. This objection, however, has no basis in Scripture. In fact, such an objection is directly contradicted by Genesis 9:18-19, as well as everything else that Scripture has to say about the flood.

If there is one thing about the flood that Scripture makes clear over and over again it is this: Noah's Flood was a global flood. During the flood, the highest of the mountains were covered (Genesis 7:19-20). Every living thing with the breath of life died (Genesis 7:21-22). And only Noah's household survived (Genesis 7:23). How much clearer could it get?

Related Posts:
Noah's Fall - Genesis 9:20-21 Bible Commentary
The Destruction of The City of Enoch - Genesis 7:17-18
What Is The Noahic Covenant? - Genesis 9:12-17
The Origin Of The Death Penalty - Genesis 9:5-7
The Cave Men of Genesis - Genesis 4

Monday, November 07, 2011

Quote of the Day #180 - William Gurnall


A quote from William Gurnall on putting on the whole armor of God:
Satan is not challenging you to a mock battle; this war is a life-or-death struggle... This war is a spiritual holocaust. Either you destroy the power of Satan in your life by putting on the whole armour of God and keeping it on, or Satan will destroy you.
~William Gurnall (The Christian In Complete Armor Volume One, Chapter 4, Part 1)

This quote was taken from the book The Christian In Complete Armor Volume One - A modernized abridgement of the Puritan Classic by William Gurnall, published by Banner Of Truth.

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Quote of the Day #179 - Charles Spurgeon


A quote from Charles Spurgeon on the Bible's promises:
Believer, there was a delightful promise which you had yesterday—and this morning when you turned to the Bible the promise was not sweet. Do you know why? Do you think the promise had changed? Ah, no, you changed— that is where the matter lies. You had been eating some of the grapes of Sodom and your mouth was thereby put out of taste and you could not detect the sweetness. But there was the same honey there, depend upon it—the same preciousness.
~Charles Spurgeon (The Immutability Of God 1)

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Friday, November 04, 2011

The Hopeless, Melting Marvels Of Life - The Gospel (Part 8 of ∞)


As Christians, we should not put our hope in the things that this world hopes for. This world puts its hope in the well-polished pleasures of this life. Such pleasures, while at first satisfying to the people of this world, soon melt away. What was once a splendid pleasure becomes boring. And so what do the people of this world do? They run after greater pleasure! Why? Because that is where they have put their hope. They have put their hope in themselves— in self-satisfaction.

The hope of the Christian should be different. Much different. Oh Christian, do not delight in the marvels of this life that, like ice, melt away in the heat and passion of the moment— but pursue Christ with all your strength!

In Christ: that is the only place where true and enduring hope can be found!

The ultimate hope is the Gospel— that one day Jesus Christ will come back to reign forever and ever. On that day, we will be perfectly clean and pure and whole— like Him! Put your hope in that and you will be pure, just as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

Of all people, Christians should be the most hopeful. They have the hope of eternity. The hope of the coming resurrection— of the new Heaven and the new Earth.

The hope of the Christian is not an ignorant hope, but a confident hope. A hope which will more surely come to pass than the rising of the sun. The hope of the Christian is this: that this world is temporary— that the pleasures of this world are empty, deceptive pursuits. And most important of all: that God, by His grace, saves undeserving men through the blood of Jesus Christ.

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The Gospel (6 of ∞)
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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What Is The Noahic Covenant? - Genesis 9:12-17 Bible Commentary


What is the Noahic Covenant? The Noahic Covenant is a promise that God made shortly after the global flood described in Genesis 7 and 8. Its contents are rather simple: God promised to never again send a global flood to destroy every creature (man and animal) living upon the earth.

The Noahic Covenant is called "Noahic" because the covenant is specifically for people who are related to Noah. Since Noah and his family were the only ones to live through the flood, you can be certain of the fact that the Noahic Covenant also applies to you. It does not matter who you are or what the color of your skin is, your lineage (in some way or another) can be traced back to Noah. In fact, everyone who has ever lived in the post-flood world can trace their lineage back to Noah (and ultimately back Adam, the first man on Earth).

Even if you have never read the flood narrative in the Bible, you probably know a few things about the flood from various other sources. First, you probably know that there was a guy named Noah. Second, you probably know there was a boat, a lot of animals, and a flood. And third, you probably know that there was a rainbow. But what did the rainbow mean?

Simply put, the rainbow was (and still is) the sign of the Noahic covenant. After the flood, God turned the rainbow into a visible reminder that He would never again flood the entire earth. As the book of Genesis states:
And 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 cloud, 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." (Genesis 9:12-17)
One common objection against the Noahic Covenant is that floods kill people all around the world on a regular basis. Such floods, however, are merely local floods, and the Noahic covenant has nothing to say about local floods. The only thing that God promised in the Noahic Covenant is that He would never send another flood to destroy all flesh (Genesis 9:15)— in other words, God only promised to never again send a global flood.

Another possible misunderstanding of the Noahic Covenant is to conclude that God promised to never again destroy all flesh. This is a misunderstanding, because God only promised not to do so through the means of a global flood. The day is in fact coming when God will bring an end to all flesh on the earth. The next time, however, He will not do this with a global flood, but with fire:
By the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5-7)

Related Posts:
God's Covenant With Noah: Promised - Genesis 6:18
God's Covenant With Noah: Fulfilled - Genesis 9:8-11
How Man's Diet Changed After The Flood - Genesis 9:3-4
God Chooses To Be More Merciful To The Post-Flood World - Genesis 8:21