Introduction: After Adam and Eve sinned, the course of humanity took a real downward spiral. This week we look at two sides of God’s reaction to sin. The one side is judgment, the other side is the blessings of a special, protective relationship for those who reject sin. Let’s dive into our lesson to learn about Noah’s special relationship with God.

  1. The Spread of Sin

    1. Read Genesis 4:8-9. List for me the sins that you find in these two verses?

      1. How did we move, in one generation, from the original sin of distrusting God to the sin of murder?

    2. Read Genesis 4:10-16. God did not execute Cain in punishment for the murder. More than that, God protected Cain by putting a mark on him. Why did God show such mercy to Cain?

      1. Why did Cain think God was being harsh? (He could no longer pursue his job. He could no longer be with his family.)

      2. What punishment would be imposed on anyone who killed Cain?

      3. In the introduction I wrote of the blessings of protection for those who reject sin. How do you explain this situation?

    3. If you continue in Genesis 4 you will read about Cain’s descendants. Read Genesis 4:19-22. What impresses you about these verses? What stands out? (We have the first example of polygamy. We can see the beginning of the breakdown of marriage. But we also see great advances in learning and culture. We have the introduction of musical instruments and the invention of bronze and iron tools. We also see that man is domesticating the animals. This gives us a picture of a smart group of people who may be walking away from God.)

    4. Read Genesis 4:23-24. What do you think about the Lamech’s attitude about killing?

      1. What is he saying in these verses? (It appears that he is claiming self-defense for the killing. Whatever the extent of his justification for the killing, he is concerned about revenge against him. For that reason he recites the protection God gave to Cain ( Genesis 4:15), and says that God should be more anxious to protect him (Lamech) because his killing was in self-defense, and not a murder as in Cain’s case.)

    5. What general impression do you get of Cain’s descendants? (Smart, some evil, but a knowledge of God.)

  2. Noah

    1. Read Genesis 6:5-6. What was the state of civilization during the time of Noah?

      1. What was God’s attitude about His creation?

    2. Read Genesis 6:7-8. Was Noah like those around him?

    3. Read Genesis 6:9. What made Noah different?

      1. This verse says Noah “walked with God.” Is God Noah’s exercise partner? If not, what does this mean? ( 1 John 1:6-7 sheds light on this. “Walk,” means the habits of life. What do you normally do? Where are you headed? Do you “walk” in darkness or in light? Noah’s habit was to be in accord with God’s will. That was the direction of his life.)

        1. Do you think a person’s “walk” primarily refers to actions or thoughts?

      2. Compare the “walk” of the wicked in Genesis 6:5. What aspect of life was God focused on for the wicked? (Their thoughts.)

      3. How do your thoughts fit into these two opposite examples? Regardless of whether you behave yourself in your day to day living, are your thoughts mostly wicked or mostly in tune with God?

    4. In Genesis 6:13-17 God reveals to Noah that He is going to destroy the earth with a flood. God gives Noah exact instructions on how to build a giant boat so that Noah, his family and a representative sample of the animals can survive. Read Genesis 6:18. What do you think are the terms of this covenant with Noah?

      1. We know from Genesis 6:9 that Noah was already “righteous” and “blameless” in his generation. If Noah was already righteous, would that be a term of the covenant?

      2. We know from Genesis 6:8 that Noah had already “found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” If Noah was already favored, would that be a term of the covenant?

      3. Are the terms of the covenant, build and enter the ark and I (God) will save you from destruction? (I think that is at least the beginning of it.)

    5. Read Genesis 6:14-16. We know from the first lesson in this series that God created the world by just speaking. God is a “high tech” Guy. Why all the work required of Noah? Why not just have all the people and animals who will be saved show up at some predesignated place and put some force field around them to keep out the water? How about a secret cave high in the mountains and seal the opening?

      1. If you have to build a boat, why does it have to be these exact specifications? Why not just make it the size that fits with the lumber in the area?

      2. Is there a lesson for us in all of these “whys?” (Following God’s covenant is not necessarily the easy or convenient way. He has instructions and He wants us to follow them.)

    6. Put yourself in Noah’s place. Would you accept this covenant offer?

      1. Remember that all of your favorite places will be destroyed, all of the Internet, television, and radio will be gone. All of the people you know (except family) will no longer exist. Your favorite restaurants and shopping malls – gone. No electricity, no gas, no roads, no airplanes, no cars, no computers, no motorcycles, no bicycles.

    7. Read Genesis 9:20-21. This records that after the flood, Noah got drunk. Do you think he was celebrating his deliverance or feeling sorry that all the “stuff” was gone? (The text tells us that this was some time after the end of the flood, because Noah was drinking the juice from grapes he had planted after the flood. This seems to show us that, like Lot ( Genesis 19:18-20), a lot of us would find it difficult to leave “civilization.”)

      1. Is leaving familiar surroundings often an aspect of a special relationship with God?

  3. The Sign

    1. Read Genesis 9:12-16. Is this the same covenant as before? (It seems to be an extension. God first said to Noah, build the ark and I will save you. God now tells Noah that he is safe (from water) for good.)

      1. What is the sign of this covenant? (The rainbow.)

      2. From these verses, why is a rainbow the sign that God chose? (Rainbows are associated with clouds and rain. The sign of God’s covenant promise appears when the sign of rain appears.)

    2. Christian institutions and Christian employers in the United States face a huge challenge if the “Equality Act” becomes law.  The Act is specifically intended to crush religiously based opposition to LGBT practices. Why do you think the proponents of LGBT practices chose the rainbow as their symbol?

    3. Read Genesis 7:7. There were a lot of people living on the earth, but God saved just a few. Although all could have entered the ark, very few chose to do so. Do you think it will be the same way when Jesus comes again? Will only a few choose to enter into heaven?

    4. Friend, as you consider the growth of sin, God’s reaction to it, and God’s decision to save just a few select people, what lesson do you learn for your life? Are you encouraged to be faithful?

  4. Next Week: An Everlasting Covenant.