A Promise

Then God said to Noah, “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it.”

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on the earth—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.” (Genesis 8:15-22)

After God told Noah and those with him that it was safe to exit the ark, Noah’s first reaction was to thank God for sparing him and protecting him. After God smelled Noah’s sacrifice, he promised that he would never again destroy all life. The ground would not be cursed again, either.

God did not make the promise to Noah, his family, or the animals because the human race had suddenly become righteous. In fact, God pointed out that human beings were full of evil from their childhoods on; in fact, every thought of every human was always tinged with wrongness.

So why did God decide to spare the human race from future destruction? Despite how awful human beings are, God still loved us. Rather than solving our problem by destroying us and punishing us, God chose to solve our problem by destroying and punishing his Son, Jesus Christ, when he died on the cross. Jesus took the punishment due the human race: everlasting destruction. Therefore, we can rest secure now. God doesn’t break his promises.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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