Then God told Noah and his sons, "I hereby confirm My covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you--the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals--every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming My covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth." 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." (Genesis 9:8-17 NLT)
I love the word covenant. It reminds me of the type of relationship we are in with God. Often times, when the storms clear up (like today) and I see a rainbow in the sky (not today, but I’m still looking) I like to remember God’s promise: never again will I flood the whole earth. This rainbow is a reminder to both God and us. Look at how God describes it. The rainbow is “the sign of My covenant.” Sign of the covenant? What covenant? I thought this was just a one-sided promise from God to us!?! No, it is not. It is a covenant agreement between God and us. It is a place were we come together with God. It is a place where we end up on the same page. What is our part of the covenant? Well, just back up a bit in the same chapter to see.
Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables. But you must never eat any meat that still has the lifeblood in it. "And I will require the blood of anyone who takes another person's life. If a wild animal kills a person, it must die. And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. If anyone takes a human life, that person's life will also be taken by human hands. For God made human beings in His own image. Now be fruitful and multiply, and repopulate the earth." (Genesis 9:1-7 NLT)
What is our part? Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and have dominion over the animals. Other than changing our diet from vegetarian to include hamburgers, what’s the big deal? The big deal is this: stop killing people. Cain did it. Cain was punished. Cain’s descendants were doing it. They were so bad that God had to wipe them out with a flood. We need to stop killing one another. Then God will hold back from wiping us out with a flood.