Stephen preached last night on the covenant God made with Noah. The last time he preached on Noah, we looked briefly at Genesis 6:18 (“But I will establish my covenant with you”) and this time, Stephen developed the idea of what a covenant is.

A covenant is a binding agreement between two or more parties. In the Bible, covenants are usually sealed with blood, with sacrifice. There are many covenants described in the Bible (with Abraham, with David, the ‘old covenant’, the ‘new covenant’, the covenant of marriage, for example), but all have the idea of a permanent and fixed agreement and the concept of faithfulness.

In Genesis 9: 9-17, God expands on the idea of covenant: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you— the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you— every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. So God said to Noah, This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

In this passage, we see God’s promise of an everlasting covenant and the fact that He gave a visible, physical sign to remind us (and Him) of this binding agreement. When we see the rainbow, we are reminded of God’s promise never to flood the whole earth again. May we learn to rely on His faithfulness and understand the binding nature of covenants so that we too become faithful people.