At Precept Camden we are currently studying the Precept Upon Precept Bible study called Covenant: Knowing God’s Covenant. (For more information on joining our study online, click here.) As I’ve said before, it is my favorite Bible study.
The first mention of covenant in the Bible is found in Genesis 6. God makes a covenant with Noah to save him and his family from the destruction of the worldwide flood that He is going to send to destroy the whole earth because of the wickedness of the people. This covenant is confirmed and expanded in Genesis 9. The sign of the covenant was, of course, the rainbow. The covenant was with Noah and his descendants which obviously included his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Thus the concept of covenant was carried to other cultures as Noah’s sons reproduced and migrated to other parts of the world (Genesis 10).
In his book Peace Child, Don Richardson tells of his discovery of an analogy of redemption within the culture of the Sawi, a Stone Age people of New Guinea. Using this analogy already present in their cultural understanding, he was able to translate the message of redemption through Jesus Christ found in the Bible.
Where did this redemption analogy come from within Sawi culture? Where do other redemption analogies – including covenant – come from in separated and isolated cultures all over the world? They were certainly passed down through the ages from their ancestors. But where did they originate? I believe there is a common thread that goes back to Noah. As his sons spread out over the earth, they took with them the covenant that God made with their father. They took with them the promise of redemption through the seed of the woman (Eve) promised in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). They carried with them the knowledge of God that they gained through their father’s relationship with Him as well as the knowledge that He Himself placed within them (Romans 1:19).
Read this fascinating book and see if you can see the common thread that we share with Noah since we are all his descendants. It is a compelling addition to a study of covenant in the Bible.