God Makes a Covenant with Noah -- section 2 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
Three men in Scripture saw significant rainbows. Noah saw the rainbow after the storm, just as God’s people see it today. But the prophet Ezekiel saw the rainbow in the midst of the storm when he had that remarkable vision of the wheels and the throne (Eze, 1.28x). Ezekiel also saw living creatures and each one had four faces! One was like a man, one like a lion, one like an ox, and one like an eagle—the same faces John saw (Rev. 4.6, 7xi). Of course, the apostle John saw the rainbow before the storm of judgment broke loose (v. 3). In fact, John saw the complete rainbow around the throne of God! On earth, we see “in part”; but one day in heaven we will see things fully as they are (1 Cor. 3.12xii).
The personal lesson for God’s people is simply this; in the storms of life, always look for the rainbow of God’s covenant promise. Like John, you may see the rainbow before the storm; like Ezekiel, you may see it in the midst of the storm; or like Noah, you may have to wait until after the storm. But you will always see the rainbow of God’s promise if you look by faith. That’s the Old Testament of Romans 8.28xiii.
God’s covenant with creation affects every living creature on earth. Without it there would be no assured continuity of nature from day to day and from season to season. We would never know when the next storm was coming and whether it would be our last.
God wants us to enjoy the blessings of natural life and spiritual life, because He “gives to us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6.17). When you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the world of nature around you becomes more wonderful, because the Creator has become your Father.
When in later years the American evangelist D.L. Moody talked about his conversion as a teenager, he said, “I was in a new world. The next morning the sun shone brighter and the birds sang sweeter . . . the old elms waved their branches for joy, and all Nature was at peace. It was the most delicious joy that I had ever known.”
The God of creation is the god of salvation. Trust Jesus Christ and you can then truly sing, “This is my Father’s world.”
i And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
ii Psalm 104 emphasizes that all creation depends on God and worships God, including the beasts of the field, (vv.11, 21), the foul (vv. 12, 17), the cattle (v. 14), and mankind (vv. 14, 23).
iii And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
iv Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
v The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant. It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.' "
vi But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
vii For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit,
viii "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
ix This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
x Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
xi Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle.
xii Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
xiii And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.