Friday, September 1, 2017

International Sunday School Lesson For September 2, 2017
                 "The Rainbow"


To recognize that despite the often destructive forces of existence, God’s promise of life endures
Bible Lesson
Background: Genesis 8:20–9:17

Genesis 8:20-22 (CEB)
20 Noah built an altar to the Lord. He took some of the clean large animals and some of the clean birds, and placed entirely burned offerings on the altar. 21The Lord smelled the pleasing scent, and the Lord thought to himself, I will not curse the fertile land anymore because of human beings since the ideas of the human mind are evil from their youth. I will never again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22As long as the earth exists,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and hot,
summer and autumn,
day and night will not cease.

Genesis 9:8-17 8 God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “I am now setting up my covenant with you, with your descendants, 10 and with every living being with you––with the birds, with the large animals, and with all the animals of the earth, leaving the ark with you. 11 I will set up my covenant with you so that never again will all life be cut off by floodwaters. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 God said, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I am drawing up between me and you and every living thing with you, on behalf of every future generation. 13 I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember the covenant between me and you and every living being among all the creatures. Floodwaters will never again destroy all creatures. 16 The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I have set up between me and all creatures on earth.”

Key Verse
I will set up my covenant with you so that never again will all life be cut off by floodwaters. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth. (Genesis 9:11)

Some Thoughts

As I prepared for this lesson, I could not help but think about how God works. At least seven years ago a group of scholars met as part of the International Sunday School Committee and picked this passage and this topic for today’s lesson.

Hurricane Harvey has struck Texas and Louisiana and left a path of destruction. Rain has fallen in an amount that only be described as Biblical.  Lives have been lost, destruction may be the greatest ever seen in our lifetime.  Yet there is a coming together, with thousands of volunteers, all working to save life and property regardless of race or creed.

I am certain at some point a rainbow was spotted, and the promise of God was remembered.

I have no doubt God will use this national disaster, to heal and unite us.  It will also serve as a reminder, that God’s promises are true, and we can depend on Him to keep His side  of the covenant.

As we look at our printed text, there are a few things that stand out. First it is the faithfulness of Noah.  Without any prompting from God, Noah erected an altar selected those animals that would be considered Kosher, and offered them to God as a sacrifice.

Since Noah and his family had been on the ark for a year, I can only assume that the animals offered were the first born of the animals carried onto the ark with Noah’s family.
According to theologians, until this time man lived off of the fruits and vegetables. Man had not eaten animal flesh.  

With God’s covenant some things changed, man was free to kill and eat animals and for the first time there was fear of man by the animals. Fortunately this happened after the flood, otherwise it would have hard to gather all of the animals as directed by God.

As for man, he would remain corrupted with evil in his heart. Noah becomes a second Adam, still fallen but aware of God’s mercy and grace, and redeemed by God for a new creation.

This all happened about 4-6 thousand years ago, and the amazing thing is that the eight people that came off the ark are our ancestors, regardless of  race or color. If you calculate the population of the earth today, it is easy to see that our civilization is no older that the bible says it is or today's population would be many times larger than it is today.
God accepted Noah’s sacrifice, but still announced man's sinfulness.  But God also announced that He would never destroy the earth and its inhabitants in the future as long as the earth exist.  Interesting that the “bow” was set as a reminder to both man and God, of the covenant made with Noah and his family.  Now we like to think God would never forget, but He includes  the “bow” as a reminder to Himself.

We should never forget who is in charge, Psalm 24 makes it pretty plain, “The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.”
There is an old hymn that paints the picture I want to leave with you today. “ If Your Heart Keeps Right” every cloud will wear a rainbow.

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