Let your soul take a moment of rest as you hear God’s word. Put your busy schedule, wandering mind, stressful thoughts, and burdened heart at the feet of the cross and open up to God’s voice as the Giver of Life tends your soul.
Genesis 9:1-17 (NRSV)
God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.
Whoever sheds the blood of a human,
by a human shall that person’s blood be shed;
for in his own image
God made humankind.
And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
I loved the Noah’s Ark story as a child, but as an adult I have often wondered why we have deemed this an appropriate story for children. As a child, I guess I was so focused on all of the life on the ark that I never considered all the people and animals that were destroyed in the flood. But in today’s passage we are past that part of the story and moving on toward God’s promises.
After Noah and his family left the ark, God told them to be fruitful and multiply. God also told them that all living things: plants, fish, birds, and animals were provided by God to be food for the people. God promised never again to send floods to destroy the whole earth. The rainbow was to serve as a reminder to them, to God, and to all creatures on earth of God’s promise. This story is a reminder of God’s ability to bring hope and life even after great devastation.
God of promise and wonder, we thank you for your reminder that we, too, are protected by your promise to Noah. We see the beauty and wonder of your creation and are moved beyond words by your care for all creation. Keep us faithful in the promises we make to you. In the name of our Savior, we pray. Amen.
Go with God.