The Early Chapters of Genesis: Chapter 9:8-11

Genesis 9:8‑11  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 10
THUS the situation is entirely new. It is governmental distinctively, and therefore wholly different in this from the world before the deluge. Life is guarded solemnly as that which belongs to God, and may not as the rule be taken from a fellow-man without the forfeit of his that took it. It is not a sinless state like Adam's in Paradise. Innocency lost is lost forever, however grace may step in, and by the Second Man replace all in due time by a new and holy creation, Himself being both Creator and new-creator, as He became the sacrifice which vindicated God as to evil and was the basis of the good that should abide forever.
But man meanwhile had government in his hand. The fear and the dread of him, in a sinful world where man was now called to govern, should be on all the subject creation, the flesh of which, not the blood, was now to be his food, given henceforth as freely by God, as before was the seed-producing herb and the fruit-bearing tree. But the sacredness of life is all the more maintained. Whose shed man's blood, by man should his blood be shed. Details were not given; but God established government, as a root-principle, in man's hand, responsible to him as from Him he received the charge.
It is the blessing of God, Preserver of all men, especially of faithful. Through one man sin had entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned. Yet the sacrifice which faith offered, God accepted, looking on to Him Whose sacrifice of himself would be the crowning completion of His will, and the savor of everlasting rest. Even now He could, would, and did bless the delivered Noah and his sons. But all creation was delivered afresh to man; the new warrant had government inscribed also, with the license and the restriction man is called to own responsibly to God. Nothing can modify this rightly, nothing justify neglect or forgetfulness.
“And God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold I, establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living soul that is with you, in bird, in cattle, and in every animal of the earth with you, of all that go out of the ark to every animal of the earth. And I establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood, neither shall there be a flood any more to destroy the earth “(vers. 8-11).
Here again we may observe that it is “Elohim” Who blessed (ver. 1), and spoke (ver. 8); nor could it with propriety be any other designation. “Jehovah” would have been entirely out of place. For, far from being an occasion for the expression of special relationship, the object before us is of the most comprehensive character. It is the Creator Who is declaring Himself the Preserver of all here below, notwithstanding the imagination of man's heart evil from his youth, which had so recently resulted in the universal destruction of all on earth outside the ark. God could and would and did bless on the footing of sacrifice provisionally till the infinite sacrifice, in virtue of which would come in the new heavens and new earth, save for such as despised it and so justly perishing both here and hereafter in that day. In all this unfolding of His mind about the earth and man upon it unrestrictedly, it is exactly God, “Elohim,” which is requisite, to the exclusion of “Jehovah,” which first reappears in the momentary introduction of His peculiar relationship with Shem (ver, 26), where only and precisely it is demanded, whereas “Elohim” is immediately resumed with Japhet, who enjoyed no such special place, but only providential dealings of an external kind.
Here accordingly God establishes His covenant with Noah and his sons on a footing which ignores all question of the soul or moral considerations. Where these enter as at the close of the chapter, the divine title is changed in harmony with what is revealed. But in the previous portion all is general as expressly as possible. God never forgets His rights as Creator and Preserver; and even when our blessed Lord brought out heavenly and eternal things, He was far from teaching us to despise the birds of the heaven or the lilies of the field, or God's care in either case. Their Creator and Preserver was our heavenly Father, without Whom not even one sparrow falls upon the earth. No doubt the Christian is called to things higher beyond comparison; but God did not omit to testify and teach His people His mind as to the least of His creatures in the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets, of which last the closing verse of Jonah is not the least remarkable. And the New Testament is quite as clear as the Old in keeping before us the blessed deliverance which He will surely effect for all the creation groaning and travailing in pain together until now. It waits for the manifestation of the Second man, Head over all things to the church which is His body. For when Christ, our life, shall be manifested, then shall we also with Him be manifested in glory.
Meanwhile God Who remembered not Noah only but every living thing and the cattle with him in the ark, covenants not only with. Noah and his sons and with his seed after them, but with every living creature, cattle, bird, and beast; and He so establishes His covenant as to cut off from every heart that trusted in Him the least fear of destruction of all flesh by a deluge any more, or of any such dealing with the earth. Without such a covenant, what could guilty man expect but repeated strokes of the same judgment which had just taken them all away? Would not old sins renewed and fresh sins added provoke like punishment? Not so; God's covenant with man and the earth interposes absolutely. “I have sworn that the waters of Noah shall no more go over the earth.” He will certainly judge and destroy otherwise, as He warns elsewhere; but it was no small comfort, when the world that now is began after the deluge, that God assured their trembling hearts against a blow so naturally and justly to be dreaded.