And God spoke to Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,…
I. GOD'S SYMPATHY WITH MAN AND LOVE FOR HIM. Ver. 8.
II. THE TRANSMISSION OF PARENTAL BLESSINGS TO CHILDREN. Ver. 9. Dispositions of good or evil are almost sure to transmit themselves to succeeding generations. The descendants of a single vicious man and his wife, in the state of New York, numbered by scores, have been paupers and criminals. Put against this another illustration. The grandfather of Mary Lyon, the devoted principal of Mount Holyoke Seminary, was accustomed to pray daily for the blessing of God upon his children and the generations that should follow. Nearly all his descendants have been earnest Christians. In one graveyard lie fifty who died in the Lord. So when God covenants with Noah, it is with his children also. Here was the ground of circumcision in the Jewish Church. But it was because of this Divine principle that Peter said, "The promise is unto you and to your children." We ought to expect that our children will grow up Christians, and labour for it.
III. THE ADVANTAGE ENJOYED BY OTHER CREATED BEINGS IN THE BLESSINGS GIVEN TO GOD'S PEOPLE. Ver. 10. Men often enjoy privileges that are solely due to a Christianity at which they scoff. Certain scientific unbelievers, who deride prayer and declare man an automaton, and seek to prove the blight of Christian influence on society in the Middle Ages, would find no market for their books but for the quickened intellect that Christianity has induced. They are basking in the gospel's sunlight. There are heathen nations that are pierced through and through with Divine rays of light. Japan will illustrate this fact. A while since an embassy from Japan was in this country (United States of America), studying our national characteristics. It carried back for use in its own land our systems of education, of railroading, of manufacturing, of newspaper publication, of post office management, and what not beside. In doing this, it carried back Christian influences, for as Joseph Neesima, himself a Japanese, assured the embassy, our civilization is built upon the Bible. Today every prison warden in Japan has been studying a book furnished him for his guidance by the Japanese Government. That book was written by a missionary and contains a chapter on Christianity as an influence in managing prisons. Thus do the Divine shafts of the gospel fling themselves into the most inaccessible places. Even the animals are blessed through our religion. To be sure, some heathen nations have considered certain animals to be gods, and cared for them in consequence. But the tenderness of Christian people toward the inferior creation extends to all forms of sentient life and springs from reverence to God and a religious desire to spare His creatures suffering.
IV. GOD'S PROMISE OF CARE AND PROTECTION. Ver. 11. We distrust God when the lightning affrights us, or when we tremble in a storm at sea. Let us seek the spirit of the Christian sailor, who, when asked, as the waves were raging, how he could have so little fear, replied, "Though I sink, I shall only drop into my heavenly Father's hand, for He holds all these waters there."
V. NATURE APPEARS IN THE NARRATIVE AS A TEACHER OF MORALS AND RELIGION. Vers. 12-14. God designs that we should learn spiritual truths from the open pages of creation. His power and wisdom, His plans for man's good, are manifest in sky and earth and sea. The world is a most elaborate and perfect machine, fashioned by the hand of a Master. It is as manifestly fitted for man's needs as is a mansion furnished with the luxurious contrivances of modern ingenuity.
(A. P. Foster.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,