Minimalist Bible: Noah's Ark - The Promise
|Written by Chad -|
God has given me the idea to pursue a personal design project of creating minimalist posters to share the awesome stories of the Bible. If you missed out on previous posters, don't worry, I have created a landing page where you can easily catch up. Check it out here.
This poster series comes from a story that we have all heard from our childhood—Noah's Ark. I'm excited today to reveal The Promise, part six of a seven part series.
The Promise comes from Genesis 9:12-17 (NLT) which says, "Then God said, 'I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.' Then God said to Noah, 'Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.'”
Imagine two kids playing on a playground. While out on the jungle gym, they pretend they are deep in a heated battle with the invisible pirates below. Egging each other on the whole time, the two boys prepare their imaginary cannons to fire upon the evil pirates, whose ship is actually the merry-go-round below. One of the kids actually hurls a large rock onto it. DIRECT HIT! The cheers between the kids slowly change to silence when they realize the structural wound they left on the merry-go-round. They quickly jump down off the jungle gym and race over to see the damage. Not only is there a large section of paint missing, but one of the hand rails is mangled beyond repair. Like most kids, they try to fix it right away with their little muscles, but when that doesn't work out, their eyes are the size of saucers. They look around over their shoulders and quickly put out their pinkies to secure an oath that they will never tell anyone or talk about it ever again. When they link pinkies, it could be equal to that of a blood contract. When pinky promises are made with kids, it's for real!
"I pinky promise!" is a saying that wasn't taken lightly on the playground. If you broke that pinky promise, not only did you violate the sworn oath that you took, you just destroyed a friendship's trust. Oh, to have the passion and zeal of a child for keeping promises. They take them seriously and follow through because they believe in the power of the pinky promise. For some reason, as we grow up into adulthood, the authority and importance of "the promise" begins to diminish. We start to see destruction in our lives come out of broken promises, broken marriages, bad intentions, poor decisions, miscommunication and selfish manipulation. We, as fallen [sinful] humans, continue to break our "pinky promises" with each other, with ourselves and most importantly with God. What was once so important to us that we made an intentional promise, often fades over time causing our viewpoint or value on that promise to change completely.
Throughout Scripture, God constantly made promises with us humans. The difference with God is that He does not simply "pinky promise" us things that later lose their importance. You see, His very nature is different than that of our human nature. God is incapable of change. (Malachi 3:6, "I am the Lord and I do not change...") He cannot lie, cheat or steal because it is not within His nature to do this. He actually despises those things. When He makes a promise to His people, you bet He is going to keep it and fulfill it.
In Noah's story, after a pretty traumatic event of global destruction, God made a promise to humanity and all living creatures—that He would never again fully destroy His creation with floodwaters. The cool thing is, He even gave us a beautiful, visual reminder of that commitment to us in the form of a rainbow from that point on.
It must have been a tough promise for God to make at the time—He was so saddened by the behavior of humans that he wiped them out to start over. Obviously God knew that humans would surely mess up again in the future... In Noah's day, animal sacrifices to God were symbolic for asking forgiveness and making them "ceremonially clean" to be allowed in God's presence, though they were sinful people. The thing is, God knew that our human nature would always be sinful. There simply would not be enough goats or bulls to sacrifice in this world to make us right with Him.
The best promise God has ever given humanity is that of redemption. Out of His love for us—even though we are not worthy—God still came up with a plan for our ultimate second chance. He did this through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. Hebrews 9:12-15 reveals what Jesus did for us: "With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. That is why he is the one who mediates a new covenant between God and people, so that all who are called can receive the eternal inheritance God has promised them. For Christ died to set them free from the penalty of the sins they had committed under that first covenant."
I don't know about you, but this is an AWESOME promise—way better than any playground "pinky promise" that will ever be made. I know it will never be broken, forgotten, erased, delayed or questioned. It's one that we don't deserve. It's a gift to us. (See Ephesians 2:8-9.) We will never be able to repay God for this undeserved gift of salvation (the gift of being saved from sin and its consequences). But how can we thank God for it and accept that gift? Well, it is often said that the highest form of worship is obedience. In John 14:15, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey me." In order to obey God, we need to know what He asks us to do. We need to be reading the Bible—the written word of God, talking to God through prayer, learning from like-minded believers by attending a church and most of all, by listening to Him intentionally. Don't get me wrong, it may sound like an easy solution at first, but I know from my own experience that this lifestyle can be tough. Christianity—true, Biblical Christianity—is not popular. The road to accepting salvation and living it out is definitely rough and narrow, but our God is BIG and He's totally worth it. His promises are true.