And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.” – Genesis 9:12-17
This text continues the important introduction of God’s covenants to redeem and preserve creation. The importance of signs in creation cannot be overplayed. Abraham received circumcision (Gen 17:11), David a “house” (2 Sam 7:11) and Jesus Christ the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:20). The sign is the assurance that God has established the covenant with the recipient. It is meant to be a visual aid to sinful, forgetful man.
The second important detail is the expansive nature of the covenant. Originally God provides it to Noah (Gen 6:18), then to Noah and his sons (Gen 9:9) and then here to the whole earth. This expansive nature is reflected in God’s covenant with Abraham (Gen 15; 17:2, 7, 12-13) and Peter’s great Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:39). God’s covenants are never meant solely for individual. They are never meant solely for families. They are to redeem and preserve the world.