Today’s message came from Genesis 9, which includes approval of capital punishment in verses 5-6. Pastor Steve said this demonstrates one of the primary points of the chapter: our value originates with God’s creation of humans. This means that racism, abortion and murder are abhorrent since they attack the image of someone He created. The same is true of lying about others or holding grudges against them.
This also means our value comes because God made us, not because of how we look. The “plumb line” is we were made in God’s image, not the modern standard of beauty or perfection.
“Our culture is obsessed with something that is meaningless,” Steve said. “We’re going into a political season where people will hate each other based on political ideologies. It’s silly. That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree with each other. It used to be normal to disagree with your friends and still be friends.”
Another primary element of the chapter is God establishing a covenant with people, promising that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. As a sign, He put a rainbow in the sky. The thing about a covenant is it’s unbreakable—and if God rooted His covenant in people’s faithfulness, we would be hopeless.
God instituted three covenants, Steve said. The first was with Noah and symbolized by the rainbow. The second was with Abraham, symbolized by circumcision. The third was the New Covenant, symbolized by the cross. We take Communion as a sign of this covenant.
There is another significant element of Genesis 9: the story about Noah getting so drunk he wound up passed out and naked. Steve said this isn’t a blanket prohibition against alcohol; Scripture says God made wine to gladden our hearts, but warns us to not get drunk.
In addition, it reveals how Noah’s son, Ham, dishonored his father by going to tell his brothers what Noah had done and exposed his sin. This resulted in Ham’s son, Canaan, being cursed. Steve said many racists have tried to use this passage to justify their beliefs, saying all black people are descendants of Canaan. While people like the Canaanites and Hittites were Canaan’s descendants, it is not remotely true that this means all black and brown people.
“There’s something you need to know about sin: God forgives it,” Steve said. “This story tells me there ain’t nobody perfect. If you’re walking in the illusion that Christianity is a walk of perfection, that’s a delusion. If you’re feeling this morning you’re a worthless sinner, you are. But God redeems worthless sinners.”