Read Genesis 8:20-9:17
Aren’t you glad that God offers fresh starts and new beginnings?
Having witnessed the sinful choices of the very people He had created, the Lord punished mankind with a flood. But He provided a way of escape. It was an ark, through which He rescued a family of eight people and representatives from every type of living creature on the earth. As the waters abated and Noah and his family exited the ark, God spoke of this fresh start.
This fresh start included instruction much like that given at the time of Adam and Eve. Once again, God pointed people towards procreation (“be fruitful and multiply”) and population of the earth (“fill the earth” Gen. 9:1 cf. 1:28).
There were also variations on previous instructions. Although man was, in both instances, assured of his unique position in creation, there were some changes. After the initial creation man was to exercise dominion over all creation (1:28). After the flood, however, this dominion of man over animals was clearly a result of animals’ fear of mankind (9:2).
And, then, at this fresh start, God also gave instruction that was completely different. The first of those changes was reflected in the human diet. Up until the time of the ark, it would seem as if man had been limited to a vegetarian diet (1:29). As Noah and his descendants launched into a new life, they were permitted to eat meat (9:3). And the second major change was seen in a new responsibility. While humans had always been precious as ones bearing the very image of God, the value of human life was now expressed in the fact that man was to punish murderers (9:5, 6).
But along with this new beginning came a new promise…a new covenant. Regardless of the depths of man’s sinfulness, never again would God destroy the earth with a flood. This was an unconditional guarantee. It made no difference what kind of atrocities man would commit in the millennia to follow. In fact, as a visible reminder of that promise, God has given the rainbow (9:8-17), a reflection of His grace.
What kind of new beginnings have you experienced in your life? Undoubtedly, they are a expressions of grace. Pause and thank God for them now!