Here is, I. The general establishment of God’s covenant with this new world, and the extent of that covenant, Gen. 9:9, 10. Here observe, 1. That God is graciously pleased to deal with man in the way of a covenant, wherein God greatly magnifies his condescending favour, and greatly encourages man’s duty and obedience, as a reasonable and gainful service. 2. That all God’s covenants with man are of his own making: I, behold, I. It is thus expressed both to raise our admiration—“Behold, and wonder, that though God be high yet he has this respect to man,” and to confirm our assurances of the validity of the covenant—“Behold and see, I make it; I that am faithful and able to make it good.” 3. That God’s covenants are established more firmly than the pillars of heaven or the foundations of the earth, and cannot be disannulled. 4. That God’s covenants are made with the covenanters and with their seed; the promise is to them and their children. 5. That those may be taken into covenant with God, and receive the benefits of it, who yet are not capable of restipulating, or giving their own consent. For this covenant is made with every living creature, every beast of the earth.
II. The particular intention of this covenant. It was designed to secure the world from another deluge: There shall not any more be a flood. God had drowned the world once, and still it was as filthy and provoking as ever, and God foresaw the wickedness of it, and yet promised he would never drown it any more; for he deals not with us according to our sins. It is owing to God’s goodness and faithfulness, not to any reformation of the world, that it has not often been deluged and that it is not deluged now. As the old world was ruined to be a monument of justice, so this world remains to this day, a monument of mercy, according to the oath of God, that the waters of Noah should no more return to cover the earth, Isa. 54:9. This promise of God keeps the sea and clouds in their decreed place, and sets them gates and bars; hitherto they shall come, Job 38:10, 11. If the sea should flow but for a few days, as it does twice every day for a few hours, what desolation would it make! And how destructive would the clouds be, if such showers as we have sometimes seen were continued long! But God, by flowing seas and sweeping rains, shows what he could do in wrath; and yet, by preserving the earth from being deluged between both, shows what he can do in mercy and will do in truth. Let us give him the glory of his mercy in promising and of his truth in performing. This promise does not hinder, 1. But that God may bring other wasting judgments upon mankind; for, though he has here bound himself not to use this arrow any more, yet he has other arrows in his quiver. 2. Nor but that he may destroy particular places and countries by the inundations of the sea or rivers. 3. Nor will the destruction of the world at the last day by fire be any breach of his promise. Sin which drowned the old world will burn this.