And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you…
I. GOD SENT A FLOOD ON THE EARTH; God set the rainbow in the cloud for a token. The important thing is to know that the flood did not come of itself, that the rainbow did not come of itself, and therefore that no flood comes of itself, no rainbow comes of itself, but all comes straight and immediately from one living Lord God. The flood and the rainbow were sent for a moral purpose: to punish sinners; to preserve the righteous; to teach Noah and his children after him a moral lesson concerning righteousness and sin concerning the wrath of God against sin — concerning God, that He governs the world and all in it, and does not leave the world or mankind to go on of themselves and by themselves.
II. THE FLOOD AND THE RAINBOW TELL US THAT IT IS GOD'S WILL TO LOVE, TO BLESS, TO MAKE HIS CREATURES HAPPY, IF THEY WILL ALLOW HIM. They tell us that His anger is not a capricious, revengeful, proud, selfish anger, such as that of the heathen gods; but that it is an orderly anger, and therefore an anger which in its wrath can remember mercy. Out of God's wrath shines love, as the rainbow out of the storm. If it repenteth Him that He hath made man, it is only because man is spoiling and ruining himself, and wasting the gifts of the good world by his wickedness. If God sends a flood to destroy all living things, He will show, by putting the rainbow in the cloud, that floods and destruction and anger are not His rule; that His rule is sunshine and peace and order.
III. The Bible account of the flood will teach us HOW TO LOOK AT THE MANY ACCIDENTS WHICH STILL HAPPEN UPON THE EARTH. These disasters do not come of themselves, do not come by accident or chance or blind necessity; God sends them, and they fulfil His will and word. He may send them in anger, but in His anger He remembers mercy, and His very wrath to some is part and parcel of His love to the rest. Therefore these disasters must be meant to do good, and will do good to mankind.
(C. Kingsley, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: