Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. UNLIMITED POSSESSION OF THE EARTH, and use of its inhabitants and products, whether for food or otherwise; thus supplying -
1. The scope of life.
2. The enjoy-meat of life.
3. The development of life.
II. Absolute RESPECT FOR HUMAN LIFE, and preservation of the gentler feelings (the blood being forbidden as injurious to man in this case), promoting -
1. The supremacy of the higher nature over the lower.
2. The revelation of the ethical law.
3. The preparation of the heart for Divine communications.
III. Man living in BROTHERHOOD,
(1) revealing the image of God,
(2) observing God's law,
(3) rejoicing in his blessing, he shall multiply and fill the earth.
The earth waits for such inhabitants; already by Divine judgments prepared for them. - R.
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."
II. GOD'S REVELATION SET BEFORE OUR FAITH.
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.
Luke 17:27) all gone. Yet signs of new life; the earth putting forth verdure, as though preparing for a new and happier chapter of history. His first recorded act was sacrifice - an acknowledgment that his preserved life was God's gift, a new profession of faith in him. Then God gave the promise that no such destruction should again befall the earth, and so ordered the sign that the rain-cloud which might excite the fear should bring with it the rainbow, the pledge of the covenant. But as Genesis 6:18 foreshadowed the Christian covenant (1 Peter 3:21) in its aspect of deliverance from destruction, the text points to the same in its beating on daily life and service. The Godward life and renewal of the will which the law could not produce (Romans 8:3) is made sure to believers through the constraining power of the love of Christ (cf. 1 John 3:3; Revelation 12:11). And if clouds should cause fear, and God's face be hidden, and the energy of dedication grow languid, we are reminded (Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:24). And in the vision of the glorified Church (Revelation 4:3) the rainbow again appears, pointing back to the early sign, connecting them as parts of one scheme, and visibly setting forth the glory of God in his mercy and grace (cf. Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:6; John 1:14).
I. THE COVENANT WAS MADE WITH NOAH AND HIS SEED AS CHILDREN OF FAITH. They had believed in God's revealed way of salvation and entered the ark (cf. Numbers 21:8). The root of a Christian life is belief in a finished redemption (2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 John 5:11); not belief that the doctrine is true, but trust in the fact as the one ground of hope. Hast thou acted on God's call; entered the ark; trusted Christ; none else, nothing else? Waitest thou for something in thyself? Noah did not think of fitness when told to enter. God calleth thee as unfit (cf. 1 Timothy 1:15). Try to believe; make a real effort (cf. Matthew 15:28; Mark 9:23).
II. THE POWER OF A CHRISTIAN LIFE; FAITH AS A HABIT OF THE MIND. Look to the bow. "Looking unto Jesus." The world is the field on which God's grace is shown; we are the actors by whom his work is done. How shall we do this? Beset by hindrances - love of the world, love of self, love of ease. We cannot of ourselves (cf. Luke 22:33, 34; Romans 11:20). We are strong only in trusting to the power of the Lord (cf. 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 4:13).
III. IN THIS THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR HELPER. His office is to reveal Christ to the soul. His help is promised if sought for. - M.