“ ‘I establish my covenant with you that never again will every creature be wiped out by floodwaters; there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.’ And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed my bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I form clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all the living creatures: water will never again become a flood to destroy every creature. The bow will be in the clouds, and I will look at it and remember the permanent covenantbetween God and all the living creatures on earth.’ God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and every creature on earth’ ” (Genesis 9:11-17, CSB).
The word “covenant” appears seven times in those few short verses. God established his covenant with Noah and spoke these words after Noah emerged safely from the ark. He promised the rainbow as a symbol of His irrevocable promise that He would never again destroy the earth by flood.
Remember, before the flood, “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually... So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord... God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth’ ” (Genesis 6:5-13, CSB).
In an era of profound wickedness, God was gracious to Noah. Noah found favor with God. That’s grace.
He “found favor with the Lord... God said to Noah... ‘Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it with pitch inside and outside. This is how you are to make it: The ark will be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high... You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper decks. Understand that I am bringing a flood—floodwaters on the earth to destroy every creature under heaven with the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives’ ”
(Genesis 6:8–18, CSB).
Not because of Noah’s goodness, but because of God’s grace, God said, “I will establish my covenant with you” (Genesis 6:18). God promised to keep Noah safe during the dark and deadly storm. God destroyed the earth because of wickedness, but God saved Noah.
Like the rainbow, the cross is a symbol of God’s gracious covenant. Jesus made every provision to keep us safe during the darkest storms. God’s final judgment is coming, but because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we can be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone.