The Flood and the Covenant

A 01.22.2023 self-study about 'The Flood and the Covenant'

The Flood and the Covenant


Genesis 6:5 - The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Genesis 9:5-6 - And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.

Deuteronomy 32:8 - When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.

Acts 17:26-27 - From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.

2 Peter 2:5 - if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others


In the beginning, God said, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3). Days were formed when the light was separated from darkness. The opening chapters of Genesis describe how spiritual darkness descended on the world as eventually all of man's thoughts and actions became evil. 

Now the Lord observed the extent of the people's wickedness, and he saw that all their thoughts were consistently and totally evil (Genesis 6:5, NLT).

God decided that the solution was to bring an end to that period of history and establish a new day. He told Noah His plan for a new beginning, using Noah and his family. Noah's family consisted of his wife, his three sons and his son's wives.

God determined to bring judgment on the earth in the form of a flood that would destroy all living creatures. God would use the ark Noah would build to deliver him, his family and the animals that represented the entire animal kingdom. 

God did not spare the ancient world except for Noah and his family of seven. Noah warned the world of God's righteous judgment. Then God destroyed the whole world of ungodly people with a vast flood (2 Peter 2:5, NLT). 


Noah became a preacher of righteous-ness. Prior to judgment, God's messenger warned the world of His plan to send judgment. His word was unheeded. Judgment came, and a period of history came to an end. With eight people, God started a new system.

Noah believed when he was told of God's plan to destroy the world. He obeyed when God told him to build an ark. He followed the Lord into the ark and was inside when God closed the door.

All of these events came together as building blocks for a special relationship between God and Noah. This relationship found expression in Noah's acts of worship when he built an altar and offered sacrifices to the Lord. 


The special relationship God and Noah developed became the foundation God used to establish a new structure under anew covenant. Up to this point, God's covenant with Adam provided the guidelines for His relationship with His people. That covenant, and the societal structure associated with it. were done away with when the people failed to keep the covenant. 


The covenant with Noah was never revoked. It contained the original promise made to Adam to bless and multiply God's creation; but covenant relationships were expanded and enlarged. Noah's covenant provided a plan for the whole world to function under the rule of God--with natural laws governing nature.

God also provided for an orderly society, with the sanctity of life preserved through the prohibition of murder. 


Life on earth came under a new structure in a new system. Noah's covenant remains in place and defines the relation-ship between God and the whole world. Final judgment will come upon the world on the Day of the Lord, because man has violated this covenant. Until that day, Noah's covenant will control the world system.

Under this covenant, the families of Noah's three sons multiplied. First they became clans, eventually growing into tribes. Further blessings brought additional multiplication, causing the tribes to become nations. God provided territories for each of these nations.

From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he deter-mined their boundaries. His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us (Acts 17:26, 27, NLT). When the Most High gave the na-tions their inheritance, when He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples ac-cording to the number of the sons of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8, NASB).

The curse of God on the language at Babel did not give rise to the nations. Rather, nations resulted from the blessings God gave to the sons of Noah, causing them to multiply. God also gave these nations their lands as an inheritance. Moses saw a definite link between the 70 nations in Genesis 10 and the 70 members of Jacob's family that went into Egypt. 


The inheritance God gave the nations was lost when Nimrod, king of Babylon, conquered them and made them a part of his kingdom. That loss resulted from man violating the clear commands of Noah's covenant. Nimrod and his army controlled the nations. They did this by conquest; they acquired the land of the various nations through warfare. 

And murder is forbidden. Animals that kill people must die, and any person who murders must be killed. Yes, you must execute anyone who murders another person, for to kill a person is to kill a living being made in God's image (Genesis 9:5, 6, NLT). 

Warfare against innocent people is con-demned. Killing other people, even when carried out by soldiers, is still murder in God's sight if the cause is to take from nations the inheritance God gave them.

Nimrod was not the head of any nation that received an inheritance. Instead, he was the head of a  kingdom that obtained territory by taking land from other nations. Therefore, the Babylonian kingdom did not exist in covenant relationship with God.

Their structure was a clear violation of the covenant relationship with God. That violation served to make the various aspects of Noah's covenant more important than ever. It also pointed ahead to the need for the new covenant and a new relationship.

God did this very thing when He established the covenant with Abraham. 

Self-Study Questions

1. Why did God send the Flood to destroy the world?

2. That plan did God have to restore the earth and establish a new beginning?

3. In what way does the ark provide an understanding of hope for us in a world facing judgment?

4. Why does the Bible consider Noah a prophet?

5. Did Noah's covenant provide guide-lines for how society was to be ruled?

6. Does the world still function under the conditions set forth in Noah's covenant?

7. How did nations become a part of God's kingdom, then lose their status?

8. How did Nimrod's cutting off of covenant relationship with God make necessary a new covenant with Abraham?