I Establish My Covenant with You

Genesis 9:8-17

Today we read of the covenant that God establishes with Noah after the flood. He promises to never again send such a deluge upon the earth and He gives a rainbow as a sign of this covenant. Saint Ephrem the Syrian writes,

After these things God made a covenant with Noah and with all those who came out of the ark with him, saying, ‘All flesh shall never again perish in the waters of a flood. I will set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the eternal covenant between God and all flesh that is on the earth.

God establishes this covenant out of love for human beings, and to show His care for us. Saint John Chrysostom comments,

God’s purpose, therefore, was to eliminate all apprehension from Noah’s thinking and for him to be quite assured that this would not happen again. He said, remember, ‘Just as I brought on the deluge out of love, so as to put a stop to their wickedness and prevent their going to further extremes, so in this case too it is out of my love that I promise never to do it again, so that you may live free of all dread and in this way see your present life to its close.’ Hence he said, ‘Behold, I make my covenant,’ that is, I form an agreement. … See the Lord’s loving kindness: Not only with your generation, He says, do I form an agreement, but also in regard to all those coming after you I give this firm guarantee.

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A Reading from the Book of Genesis 9:8-17:
Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.”