We enter the biblical narrative of God’s action in human history “already in progress” and right out of the gate we are plopped down in the middle of a major crisis: Noah and the flood. We will spend six weeks witnessing other Hebrew Bible stories of God urging the people forward in times when it seems there’s no way out. We will recall our own narratives and affirm the strength God gives us to find a way through. After all, our percentage of actually living through a crisis at this point is 100%!
Scripture: Genesis 6:16-22; 9:8-15 (Common English Bible)
16 Make a roof[a] for the ark and complete it one foot from the top.[b] Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks.
17 “I am now bringing the floodwaters over the earth to destroy everything under the sky that breathes. Everything on earth is about to take its last breath. 18 But I will set up my covenant with you. You will go into the ark together with your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives. 19 From all living things—from all creatures—you are to bring a pair, male and female, into the ark with you to keep them alive. 20 From each kind of bird, from each kind of livestock, and from each kind of everything that crawls on the ground—a pair from each will go in with you to stay alive. 21 Take some from every kind of food and stow it as food for you and for the animals.” 22 Noah did everything exactly as God commanded him.
Genesis 9:8-15 (Common English Bible)
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.[a] 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.
If doppler radar had been around then, the severe weather warning would have been intense. God tells Noah how to get ready for the deluge and he sets to work, making a way outa no way. We don’t really come to know God until we have some reason to trust God. God’s rainbow covenant allows us the baseline of trust we need to start a journey and process of self-discovery that will lead us into a life renewed that is large enough for us to inhabit with our full selves.