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Sabbath School Lessons on The Promise - God's Everlasting Covenant
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 39 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: "All Future Generations" *
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 a
search for a special, protective relationship with those who reject
sin. Let's dive into our lesson to learn about Noah's special
relationship with God.
- The Spread of Sin
- Read Genesis 4:8-9. List for me the sins that you find in
these two verses?
- How did we move, in one generation, from the original
sin of distrusting God to the sin of murder?
- 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
- Why did Cain think God was being harsh?
- What punishment would be imposed on anyone who killed
- 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 a sinful lifestyle is
beginning. 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
- Read Genesis 4:23-24. What do you think about the Lamech's
attitude about killing?
- What is he saying in these verses? (He has obviously
killed someone. It appears that he is claiming self-defense in the killing. Whatever the extent of his
justification for the killing, he is obviously
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.)
- What general impression do you get of Cain's descendants?
(Smart, some evil, but a knowledge of God.)
- Read Genesis 6:5-6. What was the state of civilization
during the time of Noah?
- What was God's attitude about His creation?
- Read Genesis 6:7-8. Was Noah like those around him?
- What made Noah different? (Read Genesis 6:9)
- Notice 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.)
- Do you think a person's "walk" primarily
refers to actions or thoughts?
- Compare the "walk" of the wicked in Genesis 6:5.
What aspect of life was God focused on for the
wicked? (Their thoughts.)
- 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
- 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?
- We know from Genesis 6:9 that Noah was already
"righteous and blameless among the people." If Noah
was already righteous, would that be a term of the
- 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?
- Are the terms of the covenant, build and enter the
ark and I (God) will save you from destruction?
(Basically, I think that is at least the beginning of
- 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?
- 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
- 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.)
- Put yourself in Noah's place. Would you accept this
- Remember that all of your favorite places will be
destroyed, all of the TV and radio stations 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 Sprite.
- Genesis 9:20-21 records that after the flood,
Noah got drunk. Do you think he was celebrating
his deliverance or feeling sorry for himself
that all the "stuff" was gone? (This is not a
completely serious question. 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. The
serious part of the idea is that, like Lot
( Genesis 19:18-20), a lot of us would find it
difficult to leave "civilization.")
- Is leaving familiar surroundings often an aspect of a
special relationship with God?
- The Sign
- 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.)
- What is the sign of this covenant? (The rainbow.)
- 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.
- Alert readers know that the rainbow (or this color
spectrum) has become the symbol for homosexuality.
What are your thoughts about this? (This is the
ultimate irony. Homosexuals do not reproduce. The
reminder that God made a way for life to continue,
and that He will never again allow a flood that would
wipe away life, is the symbol adopted by the "dead
- 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?
- 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?
- Next Week: An Everlasting Covenant.
* Copr. 2003, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.