Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Summary of Genesis 9

The era of the pre-flood world, which spanned over 1500 years, had come to an end. A worldwide flood had engulfed the planet, destroying everything and bringing in the era of the post-flood world, an era that began with eight people: Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives.

Genesis 9 gives us the first glimpse of life in the post-flood world. Some things remained the same; in the opening verses of Genesis 9, God repeats the command in Genesis 1:28 that he gave to Adam and Eve at creation:
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. (Genesis 9:1)
Although some things in the post-flood era remained the same as before, there were also several changes. The relationship between man and animal would no longer be as harmonious as it once was (Genesis 9:2). Animals would now be filled with the fear of man, with good reason too— for the first time in history, God permitted man to kill animals for meat. Man was no longer required to abstain from eating meat (Genesis 9:3) so long as it was cooked (Genesis 9:4).

The beginning of the post-flood era also marked the first time that God directly told man how murderers should be treated:
Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.
(Genesis 9:6)
Perhaps the biggest change that the post-flood era brought was the covenant God made with man. In His Sovereignty, the Creator of all things, God Himself, promised to man that He would never again flood the entire earth (Genesis 9:8-11). This promise, known as the Noahic Covenant, has been represented ever since by the rainbow (Genesis 9:12-17).

The world, in a sense, was cleansed by the flood. The utterly corrupt human societies that had filled the globe had been eliminated. The violence which had once filled the earth was no more. Noah and his family, however, had not been fully cleansed by the flood. Though it may have seemed as if, for a moment, the flood had brought Heaven to Earth, sin was still present in the hearts of Noah and his family. This becomes clear in the remainder of Genesis 9, which describes Noah's fall.

One day, Noah began farming. He planted a vineyard, then he made wine. And then, Noah— the man who had done so much, worked so hard, and been so mightily used by God— indulged himself in wine. Noah fell (Genesis 9:20-21).

To made a bad situation worse, when Noah was lying in his tent drunk and naked, his son Ham wronged him (Genesis 9:22-24). Scripture does not state exactly what Ham did wrong, but when Noah awoke, he cursed Ham's son (Genesis 9:24-25) and then proceeded to bless Shem and Japheth (Genesis 9:26-27). This saddening event marks the close of Scripture's account of the life of Noah.

After the flood, Noah lived 350 years, dying at the age of 950 (Genesis 9:28-29). He had been a man of obedience, and although he sinned, he was a man who by the grace of God ultimately walked by faith.
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

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