As we progress in our journey through Genesis, let’s take a moment for a timely reset.
Actually, last week as I was preparing for this message, the church internet went down. So I called the WOW service center, and they did a reset on our WIFI modem.
Similarly, I would like to help you do a quick reset and refresh of your view of the Old Testament.
There’s a misconception among Christians, that the O.T. is less important than the N.T.
Look at the face of your Bible (opposite the spine). Which pages show they are the least used? Probably, the left 2/3, the O.T., right?
You see, in our lives and ministry, we tend to spend less time in the O.T. and almost treat it as if has less value for us than the N.T.
For example, the unstated thought goes like this: “If Genesis was written around 1500 B.C., well that doesn’t seem relevant to our modern lives in the 3rd millennium.
Well, let’s banish such thoughts from our minds. “For all Scripture (II Tim. 3:16-17) is inspired by God.” That especially talking about the O.T.
And since it is inspired by God, it’s profitable for us.
Profitable for teaching us, for reproving us, for correcting us, and for training us in righteousness; so that the people of God may be complete and equipped for what? Every good work!
Let me remind you, the Bible that Jesus and the apostles lived by- it was the O.T. That’s all they had of God’s written Word.
They loved, studied, and preached that glorious message of the O.T. including Genesis. And time after time, the authors quoted the O.T. as they wrote the New.
Do you realize, there are 352 direct quotations or clear allusions to the O.T. in the New?
That works out to be on average one verse in every 22.5 in the N.T. being from the O.T.!
At the outset of His ministry, how does Christ counter Satan’s vicious temptation? From the Scripture! 3 x, He quotes the O.T., “It is written…”
And remember how our Lord answered the Pharisees’ question about divorce?
He asks them, “Have you not read?” (Mat. 19:4). In other words, don’t you know what’s written in the O.T.? And then He takes them back to Genesis to show God’s plan for marriage!
By the way, if you search, you’ll find 5 other times in Matthew’s gospel where Jesus asks, “Have you not read the Scriptures?”
You see, Christ held them and He holds us responsible for reading and knowing the O.T.
When the Sadducees come along and try to trap Christ with a question about the widow lady who had 7 husbands, and which one would be her husband in heaven.
Christ does a hard reset for them: “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Mat. 22:29
Ouch! You don’t get it, because you don’t grasp the O.T.
And one more to help us prize the O.T. in our lives: Romans 15:4 “For whatever was written in earlier times (that’s the O.T.) was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
So, if you want to soar in your perseverance, encouragement and hope, immerse yourself in the O.T. Scriptures!
Now, all those benefits can be summed up in one word. Blessing.
Yes, in the O.T., God showcases for us what it looks like to be blessed by Him.
Don’t forget. God gives us this not primarily in the form of didactic teaching form but rather narrative- true stories.
That’s because He wants us to picture His working in the lives of people like ourselves.
Yes, God wants us to learn from their positive and negative examples so we can experience His great blessing.
That’s what we are in for now as we look together at Genesis 9: Blessing! Bountiful blessing!
So would you take in with me now, Genesis 9:1-7?
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 “The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man. 7 “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
Glory to God for His saving and sanctifying Word!
Let me give you a few word hooks on which you can hang the keys of God’s commission to Noah.
There’s the multiplication, mastery, menu, and mandate.
Last time together, we saw how Genesis 8 begins with that wonderful 4-word phrase- “But God remembered Noah.”
And now chapter 9 begins with 4 more fantastic words- “And God blessed Noah.”
Remember, back in Genesis 1, 6th day of creation, God pronounced His blessing on Adam and Eve. Now He blesses Noah and his sons.
Well, how does God bless them?
Watch and don’t overlook this. God blesses them by speaking to them. He communicates to them what they need to know as they exit the Ark into a whole new world.
So, this is God’s commission to Noah. It’s a Magna Charta, a new charter in the post-Flood world.
First of all, God tells Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and multiply”
God told Noah when they prepared to get off the ark “Be fruitful and multiply on the earth” (8:17). Now that they are off, he repeats that.
Same thing God told Adam and Eve after blessing them. Multiply! (Gen. 1:28)
Here’s what’s surprising. After destroying the sinful word, God didn’t set a population growth
limit for Noah and his family. He didn’t day, “Listen Noah, I’ve decided to institute a 1-child policy for married couples.”
No, God doesn’t try to curb population growth.
Rather, He says, “be fruitful and multiply,” and he adds, “fill the earth!”
In other words, God is saying, “I love My world filled with people. So, have children, lots of children for my glory!”
This truth refutes the ancient Babylonian epic known as Atrahasis. The gods decided to send the Flood because of noise and overpopulation.
But when they failed to kill off humanity, they decreed that infertility, miscarriage, and childhood sickness would control population growth.
No, God wanted Noah and his family to replenish the earth.
Remember, God loves children. And Psalm 127:3 tells us, “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.”
In other words, babies are a blessing of God!
And by the way, we rejoice in all the new little ones God has given here at Hope!
Now, God’s commission to multiply and fill the earth, that assumes something important. He will protect their lives from threats.
That’s the connection to verse 2 when Gold tells Noah, “And the fear of you and the terror of you shall be on every beast of the earth….”
This is God giving man 2. mastery over animals.
So fascinating. Why it is that animals by instinct are afraid of man? It’s because of what we see right here, God put that innate fear in them.
Remember, the perfect harmony of Paradise was long gone. The entire animal kingdom is now affected by the curse of sin.
That means you have a bunch of 4-footed predators getting off that ark. And they far outnumber the 8 in Noah’s family.
So, God gave the animals an instinct to fear people and not rise up together and kill them.
John Calvin pictured this as the providence of God placing a secret bridle on the animals to restrain their violence.
That restraint (we know from verse 2) included not just the wild beasts but birds, creeping things and fish of the sea.
You say, “O but people die every year from shark attacks.”
Yes, yet we must put that in perspective. According to the University of Florida International Shark Attack File there’s an average of 6 deaths each year from sharks. That’s worldwide. Yet compare that to an estimated 100 million sharks harvested by man from the oceans every year. You see, sharks have more reason to fear humans than the other way around. That’s the way God made it! And remember that fear of animals is a big reason they can be tamed. James 3:7 affirms, “For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.” Speaking of animals, God informs Noah they will not only have fear of man but be food for man.
Verse 3: “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.
Here God commends to man a new 3. Menu
It’s a carnivorous diet; meat.
Men and women before the Flood apparently lived on a vegetarian diet. They ate fruits, veggies, grains and nuts.
Then with the animal menagerie coming off the ark, God makes it clear- “Noah, this my gift of food for you. Add that to your menu!”
Now there’s so much talk about people going vegetarian and vegan. But here’s what you need to remember.
God gave animals- cows, chickens, pigs and all the rest. And with that comes animal byproducts like milk, eggs, and honey to be eaten and enjoyed for His glory. It’s His blessing not to be despised and denigrated.
So the bumper sticker, though tactless is right on the mark as it reads, “I love animals. They taste great!”
Don’t believe the world’s party line that says its cruel to kill and eat animals.
Now if you choose not to eat meat for dietary reason, that’s your prerogative.
But let’s be clear. There is zero, nula, no Scriptural support of an ethical vegetarian or vegan.
That’s believing it’s morally wrong to eat animals or animal products.
In fact, we know our Lord ate meat even in His resurrection body. For He ate broiled fish with His disciples on the shore of Galilee. Lk. 24:41-43.
And in Acts 10, (to break down the Jewish-Gentile food obstacle) God lowered that tarp in Peter’s dream filled with all kinds of animals (clean and unclean) and tells him, “Kill and eat!”
God did that 3x, and Peter finally got the point.
Let’s not forget the warning tied to foods in I Timothy 4:1–4. There we read that “the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”
One of the marks of these false teachers, Paul says, is this: They “advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude.”
So, go ahead. Enjoy that juicy hamburger, fried chicken, fish fillet or hot dog. And eat that with thanks to the glory of God. For that’s God’s gracious gift to you!
Here’s a neat sidebar about how God has designed us from the beginning to eat meat: we have canine teeth.
On both sides of the 4 incisors in the front of your mouth (top and bottom) you have canine teeth. They have the longest root out of all the teeth in your mouth. And they are designed for shredding meat. I confirmed that with a dentist friend this week and learned even more! Your canine as well as other teeth have parasympathetic nerve fibers. And here’s what they do:
When your teeth make contact with meat and begin to chew, the fibers relay signals to your
liver to produce more bile to break down the meat when it gets there.
All that is God’s perfect design planned for us as meat eaters!
OK, God says everything that moves shall be for food. Certainly with that, one must exercise sanctified common sense and self-restraint.
Noah would have eaten first from the clean animals, those that God told him to bring 7 in number. Then when the other pairs multiplied, he would have then eaten from them as well.
Now, God includes one food stipulation. A restriction. Something he tells Noah is off limits: blood.
Verse 4: “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
For most of us, the thought of eating raw or cooked blood is repulsive. Yet that is eaten in many parts of the world.
While our family ministered in Europe, our Czech neighbors used to kill a hog every year. Then they would give us a big pot of blood soup. Well, we couldn’t bring ourselves to eat that stuff.
One day I was having lunch with a group of Czech pastors at a church planting conference.
To our surprise, they served us each a plate of grey-colored blood pudding.
Thankfully, none of the guys at my table chose to eat that stuff.
Well, what’s wrong with eating blood?
Some believed, if you drink the blood of an animal, the soul of that animal would enter you, and you would act more like an animal.
Yet doctors tell us animal blood transmits diseases like Ebola, Trichinosis, and Tuleramia as well as dangerous bacteria. But it’s much bigger than that.
Friends, blood is the God-given sign of life.
And it was God’s chosen symbol for sacrifice, it pointed to a substitute. And God made that symbol a sacred part of His plan of redemption.
He tells His people in Leviticus 17:10–11 “And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who
eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. 11 ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.”
What made the blood of those animal sacrifices so significant? It’s that the shed blood pointed to the ultimate sacrifice.
Christ’s blood would be shed on the cross for sin.
So beautifully, Ephesians 1:7 affirms, “In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses….”
Now the issue of eating blood comes up in the N.T. It’s Acts 15, the Jerusalem Council.
They had to determines how to deal with Gentile converts coming into the church. The apostle James answers:
Acts 15:19–20 “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.”
Here’s what’s clear. The issue of not eating blood here isn’t about salvation. It’s a matter of sanctification. “Gentile Christians, stay away from eating blood since that offends Jewish believers in the church.
Now I can’t leave out a shocking statement about eating blood. It’s what our Lord told the Jews arguing about what He meant by eating of Him as the living bread.
John 6:53–56 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.”
What does Christ mean? Some accused the Early Church of practicing cannibalism because of what Christ here says, “You have to eat My flesh and drink My blood.”
None of the disciples ever did that. But they understood the powerful symbol. Because Christ
explains in his next sentence: 56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
There it is. To eat Christ’s body and drink His blood, that means taking Him into your life. It’s a mutual abiding which equals true Christianity. I’m in Christ, and His life is in me!
So the prohibition to eat and drink blood, it points us to the life and death of Christ given for our redemption.
Every time we share in the cup of communion, we show forth that visibly- we have partaken of the blood of Christ. His death for our life.
God’s blessing of multiplication, mastery over the animals, meat menu lead us to the
4. Mandate for murderers
Would you glance at the first part of verse 5: “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it.”
What’ the point God is making?
If you are a famer with a big ox, and he sees your neighbor out working the fields and runs and gores him to death, what’s to happen?
You ox has to be put down. You have to kill him.
That later became formalized law in Ex. 21:28- “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned….”
Similarly, 18 states including Michigan have a mandatory death law for dogs that have caused death to a person.
But what if it’s not an animal but a person who kills another person? Friends, to get this right, we must follow the truth of God’s Word not the twisted lies of our world.
Continuing on in verse 5, God says, “And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.”
The principle God gives here isn’t complicated.
You take someone else’s life, and you must be killed.
Now let’s bring it closer to home. Do you realize there are some 17,000 victims murdered in the U.S. every year which works out to nearly 50 every day? And a fair share of those are in our state of Michigan (600 a year).
Yet what’s the common objection? If a murderer is then killed, isn’t that doing the same thing and just as bad? Why, doesn’t sixth commandment in Ex. 20:13- “Thou shall not kill?”
There’s no conflict here. By the way, most every current translation renders the Ex. 20:13 this way: “You shall not murder.”
And if you do, God says, you must pay with your life.
My cousin Tim, at the age of 22, just north of L.A. was shot through the heart and died from cold-blooded murder. I got to the hospital just after they had pronounced him dead. What a shock. His life had been cut short by a criminal.
The laws of California sentenced the murderer to prison, by now he’s most likely been released an dis out on the streets again.
Nonetheless, God’s law says that murderer and every other should forfeit his own life. And did you notice God doesn’t give an exception in the case of the murderer being a minor or pleading insanity? They are guilty of death.
Now, when lawmakers tamper with God’s clear command, they overthrow the safeguard He has provided for the good of society.
And you get what we see around us- escalating murder rates including released murderers who repeat that crime.
And on the other hand, when guilty murders are not brought to justice God’s way, you get individuals becoming a law to themselves with blood revenge and vendettas.
Yet friends, what God gives us here goes beyond a deterrent to murder. It’s not just about His graciously protecting society.
We have to look further and see what makes murder such a grave sin in God’s sight.
Verse 6: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.”
There’s the divine rationale why there should be the death penalty for murder. A murderer destroys a life God has made in His own image.
You see, murder is more than an attack against a person. It’s an attack against the Person in whose image that one is made: God.
That’s what makes human life so valuable to protect. Every individual from conception is in the image of God.
By the way, our text speaks to what has been legally practiced in every state in the Union for 45 years: abortion.
Since Roe vs. Wade, there have been over 60 million abortions in America- that’s more than 150 per hour, image bearers of God whose lives have been ended.
Don’t forget, how God views all this. God told Cain after he had murdered his brother Abel: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground” (Gen. 4:10).
In other words, it calls for God’s judgment.
O thank God for His great mercy and forgiveness in Christ. That for those who are in Christ Jesus, regardless of your past sins, there is now no condemnation!
Now what if a person kills another accidentally? I think of a missionary friend whose car slipped on an icy turn, hit an oncoming vehicle and killed the driver.
Well, in God’s book (and in the court of law), that’s a whole different situation. It’s accidental not intentional. It’s manslaughter not murder.
Exodus 21:12–14 speaks to that. “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.” That’s intentional. And the penalty prescribed by God is death.
Yet note the distinction in verse 13: “But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee.”
Since this was accidental killing (manslaughter), the one who caused this was not to be killed but protected in a city of refuge (Joshua 20).
No, these were not sanctuary cities for illegal aliens.
Rather, three cities on the west of the Jordan and three more on the east side were designated as an asylum for those who accidentally killed a person. They were to run into the holy place, grab on to the horns of the altar, and plead protection.
In contrast to that, further in Exodus 21:14, “If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die.”
The death penalty was to be carried out for premeditated murder. And by the way, it’s at this point we see the first hint of God authorizing the institution of government.
People that would implement his laws for the good of society.
By the way, God never changed his mind regarding the death sentence for murder. He affirms it.
Speaking of the God-given authority of government, the apostle Paul explains in Romans 13:4 “for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
The sword symbolizes the right to execution. Authorized authority by God to take a life.
Thus, God has called government authorities to be His ministers. Ministers that carry out His commands including avenging those who shed men’s blood.
Well, that’s serious stuff. And God means every Word of it. But that’s not the last thing God wants to linger in Noah’s mind that day.
Notice the capstone statement in verse 7: “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
God has Moses give us this and verse 1 as matching bookends. It’s an effective literary device called an inclusio. An inclusio comes full circle to restate what was highlighted at the beginning.
It all comes back to God who bountifully blesses His people.
Beloved, don’t forget, God made you for Himself.
He loves you and wants you to know the greatest joy and pleasure in the universe.
Every meal you eat, all that’s on your plate, every precious child and friend, your health and protection, realize that’s God’s gracious gift of God to you.
Yet, Christian, you have been given by God an infinitely greater blessing. You have been blessed, Ephesians 1:3 says, “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Forgiven sins, abundant life, friendship with God, living hope, eternal joy in His presence, you have all of that, we have all of that in Christ!
To which our only fitting response must be to say with all our lives, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Gracious God and Father. You blessed Noah and his family. And You bless us. You bless us with health, safety, work, family, and friends. We praise You for your loving, gracious, and unwavering care for us.
And Father, we thank You for satisfying the greatest need of our soul by providing for us a perfect Savior. We worship, honor, and extol You for showing us mercy in Christ.
Cause us we pray to walk in greater love for You and for one another because of Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.
We thank and praise You in His name which is above all names, Amen.
Genesis 9:1-7 Hope In Christ Bible Church 10.28.18
II Tim. 3:16-17
1. Multiplication 1
2. Mastery 2
3. Menu 3-4
I Tim. 4:1–4
5. Mandate 5-7
“God, in what specific ways would You want me to be obedient to this Your Word?”