The Redeeming Rainbow: Genesis 9

[8] Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, [9] “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, [10] and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. Genesis 9:8-10

The waters had flooded the earth and all of creation, except for Noah, his family and the animals safe in the ark, had been killed. This is not a cute children’s tale: it is a story of God’s divine judgment.

Discussion: Do you think God was fair in judging the world so harshly? What made this fair or just?

Talking points: Noah built the ark and (according to Peter in the New Testament) preached for 120 years. People had the opportunity to repent and they didn’t. When people don’t respond to God’s invitation for salvation, it isn’t unfair on God’s part–they are being ungrateful.

[11] I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”  Genesis 9:12

Discussion: God established a covenant with Noah and all of creation. What is the difference between a covenant and a contract?

Talking Points:  With a contract, if one agreeing party does something in violation of the contract then it is considered broken. The whole contract becomes null and void. Basically the signers of a contract agree to hold up their ends as long as the other signatories hold up theirs too.  With a covenant, both parties agree to hold up their ends regardless of whether the other party keeps their part of the agreement. A violation of a covenant by one party doesn’t matter as far as the other party’s responsibility to continue to do what they agreed to do.

[13] I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. [14] When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, [15] 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. [16] 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.” [17] 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.” (Genesis 9:13-17 ESV)

Discussion: When we think of rainbows, what comes to mind?

Talking points: Notice that it is called a “bow.” Think of it as a “bow” for a moment without it being a rainbow. What is a bow used for? Hunting. Killing. Death. Now think of a rainbow you’ve seen. Which way is it pointed? Toward God! God put a bow in the sky, pointed toward him, to say that he would die before he would break this covenant with all of creation. And he made good on that promise. On the cross, Jesus died for the sins of mankind.

Have you ever received Jesus as your Savior? If not, talk to a family member about how to trust Jesus as your Savior. The next time you see a rainbow, remember God’s faithful promise to His people–and to you!