Torah: Noach (Genesis 6:9–11:32)
Haftarah: Isaiah 54:1–55:5
In the Word of God, we often find great signs and wonders that serve two purposes. The first is to remind us of Him, and His amazing grace and endless love. The second purpose they serve is to remind us of His wrath and judgment.
In our Parasha this week, we find a verse that always gives me much hope because it shows God’s amazing character:
And God remembered Noah and all the animals and all the livestock that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided.
“God Remembered”… throughout His Word, we find this phrase again and again, and when we read it, it has to do not only with God’s memory, but also with Him displaying His endless grace, love, and redemption. Just as a reminder, only two chapters before, in Genesis 6:5–8, we find that God was incredibly sorry for creating humankind:
Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. So the LORD was sorry that He had made humankind on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. Then the LORD said, “I will wipe out humankind whom I have created from the face of the land; humankind, and animals as well, and crawling things, and the birds of the sky. For I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
The Lord wanted to wipe all men and women off the face of the earth. Yet, there was one righteous person that found favor in His eyes — Noah. As we know, Noah, his immediate family, and the animals on the Ark were the only ones to survive the flood. God remembered Noah and his faithfulness, and not only saved him, but also made a covenant with him and his household. This covenant included a great promise and a great sign, which we see until today:
“I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be eliminated by the waters of a flood, nor shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations; I have set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall serve as a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I make a cloud appear over the earth, that the rainbow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the rainbow is in the cloud, then I will look at it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
The rainbow is an amazing sign of hope for us today, which reminds us of His grace. Yet, God gave us another great sign of hope today, which also ought to remind us of His grace.
At the end of the Parasha, we read of another great man (Abram), and his wife (Sari), who was barren (Genesis 11:29–30). As we will learn from a future reading, God made another everlasting covenant through them with a people group called Israel. We see this covenant in effect until today and here is where we find the connection to our Haftarah portion.
Isaiah 54 is one of the most touching portions of Scripture where God describes His everlasting love for Israel, likening Himself to Israel's husband:
“Shout for joy, infertile one, you who have not given birth to any child; break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor; for the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.
“Enlarge the place of your tent; stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, do not spare them; lengthen your ropesand strengthen your pegs. For you will spread out to the right and to the left, and your descendants will possess nations and will resettle the desolate cities. Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and no longer remember the disgrace of your widowhood. For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of armies; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. For the LORD has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting favor I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer.”
Just as the rainbow is a sign of God's covenant to never again destroy the world with water, so is the nation of Israel a sign of God's covenant made with Abraham. I always say that Israel is the greatest proof of God and His faithfulness to keep His promises! It is no coincidence that in the following two verses in Isaiah 54, God reminds us of His covenant with Noah:
"For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My favor will not be removed from you, nor will My covenant of peace be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.”
In closing, whenever you look at the rainbow, remember the sign that He gave us to remember not only His wrath, but also His endless grace! Whenever you look at Israel today, remember His endless love, grace, and faithfulness to keep His promises!
Don't lose heart; He sees you and remembers you. He is our great hope for today and tomorrow!
Share this Post