The flood ended.
A wind whistled across the earth and began drying everything off. The ark landed. God opened the door that He shut so many days ago and Noah peeked out into this familiar but new world. As he looked at the emptiness that used to be crowded with people, maybe Noah wondered, Will God flood this earth again if we keep disobeying? Maybe Noah should have run out of the ark and thrown himself on the ground yelling promises like, “God, we will never make the world so bad again! Please, no more floods!”
But Noah didn’t make any promises to God. Funnily enough, when he got off the ark, God began making promises to him.
“Noah, I want to make a covenant with you.” Now, covenant is a fancy word that means a promise, but it’s bigger than just an ordinary promise, like when you say, “I promise I’ll clean my room,” or, “I promise I’ll finish my homework.” A covenant is tougher than nails, stronger than steel, big, and unbreakable. The God who created the sun, scattered the stars, and made man out of dust said that He would make this kind of promise to Noah, his family, and to all the people that would come after them. Wow! Noah opened his ears wide and listened as God promised that He would never, ever, in all the years of forever, destroy the earth with another flood. Then suddenly, across the sky, God painted a brilliant rainbow of many colors. It was a seal of this covenant—which means it was a sign that Noah and every person ever after could look up at the sky, elbow each other in the ribs, and say, “Hey! A rainbow! Remember, that time God sent that huge gigantic flood? That was so big! That rainbow reminds us He won’t ever do that again! Beautiful!”
This covenant and many others that God made in the Bible were to help get us ready for the biggest and best covenant that ever was: the New Covenant! In this strong, unbreakable, forever promise, God says to all the people who trust in Jesus that all of His anger against all of our sin has all been poured out onto Jesus when He died on the cross. Not a drop of it is leftover for us. And because God likes to seal His covenants to make sure we know He is super serious about them, He puts the Holy Spirit inside our hearts as a seal of the New Covenant. The Holy Spirit reminds us every day for all of our lives that God loves us. We don’t have to be afraid of Him punishing us because Jesus was punished for us. The Holy Spirit is like a rainbow shining upon our hearts, pointing us to the God of the universe who has given us the strongest and the most beautiful promise in all the world.
Has someone ever made a promise to you and then they weren’t able to keep it? Maybe they ran out of time or money, or they got lost, or forgot, or changed their mind about it. Why is it different for God to promise you something than for a person to promise you something?
God decided to protect Noah and his family from the flood. What could be some reasons that He decided to protect Noah and his family instead of wiping them out too and simply starting over with new people?
This Advent devotional resource was produced by The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, TX. The original resource can be found here.