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Genesis 9:8-17 - Homilies By R.a. Redford

The new Noachic covenant established.

I. It is a COVENANT OF LIFE . It embraces all the posterity of Noah, i.e. it is—

1. The new foundation on which humanity rests.

2. It passes through man to all flesh, to all living creatures.

3. The sign of it, the rainbow in the cloud, is also the emblem of the salvation which may be said to be typified in the deliverance of Noah and his family.

4. The background is the same element wherewith the world was destroyed, representing the righteousness of God as against the sin of man. On that righteousness God sets the sign of love, which is produced by the rays of light—the sun being the emblem of Divine goodness—radiating from the infinite center in the glorious Father of all. " And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud ."


1. It is waiting to be recognized . When we place ourselves in right relation to the revelations and promises of Jehovah we can always see the bow on the cloud of sense, on events— bright compassion on the darkest providence.

2. There is an interdependence between the objective and subjective . The rainbow is the natural result of an adjustment between the sun, the earth, the cloud falling in rain, and man, the beholder. Take the earth to represent the abiding laws of man's nature and God's righteousness, the falling cloud to represent the condemnation and punishment of human sin, the sun the revealed love and mercy of God sending forth its beams in the midst of the dispensation of judgment; then let there be faith in man to look up and rejoice in that which is set before him, and he will behold the rainbow of the covenant even on the very background of the condemnation.

III. TRANSFIGURED RIGHTEOUSNESS IN REDEMPTION . The cross at once condemnation and life. The same righteousness which once destroyed the earth is manifested in Christ Jesus—" righteousness unto all and upon all them that believe ."

IV. UNION OF GOD AND MAN . God himself is said to look upon the sign of the covenant that he may remember. So man looking and God looking to the same pledge of salvation. "God was in Christ reconciled," &c; Their reconciliation is complete and established.— R .

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