Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

 Sermon Text: Genesis 8:15-22

 Other Readings: 2 Corinthians 9:10-15 and Luke 17:11-19


  1. Verse 21 says, “Every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” In light of that, respond to these statements:
    1. People are born basically good.
    2. People have a free will. 
  2. Moses wrote this account under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Here, he uses two names for God – God and the LORD. Why might he have used these different names in the same account?
  3. What is a burnt offering (Leviticus 1:1-9)? What might Noah’s burnt offering signified (Romans 12:1)?
  4. Genesis 7:2-3 tells us that there were seven of each kind of clean animal on the ark, not just two (as with the rest of the animals). Even still, Noah’s sacrifice of clean animals means that he was sacrificing a substantial percentage of what remained alive! What’s our confidence when we sacrifice a large percentage of our time, talents, or treasures in service to God and our neighbors? Consult our Second Reading, 2 Corinthians 9:10-15.
  5. In what ways does Genesis 8:22 shape the way Christians approach the issue of climate change?

  1. Statement “a” is completely false; Scripture makes clear how completely corrupt mankind is by nature.

Statement “b” is also not a good statement. We humans may have free will in some areas of earthly life (what to wear, what to eat for lunch, when to go to bed), but we do not have the free will to do on our own the spiritual things that God requires of us. On our own, we are not free to come to faith, do good works, etc.

  1. The name “God” can emphasize God’s creative activity. After all, Moses opens up Genesis by writing, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” So, the name “God” here reminds us that God used his creative power to bring the flood, to save Noah, and to give him a new life in his creation.

The name “the LORD” is God’s covenant name which is often associated with his one-sided grace and compassion (cf. Exodus 34:6). So, the name “the LORD” here reminds us that in his grace and compassion God would not treat sinners as they deserve and would make the world go round, even without their help.

  1. A burnt offering was a sacrifice that was completely consumed by fire on an altar; there was nothing left to eat or use. In the time of Moses (who lived after Noah), the Israelites did burnt offerings to express total dedication to God. So, Noah’s burnt offering here might have expressed, “God, I am dedicating my whole life and being to you because you have saved me and my family.”
  2. When we are generous with what God has given us, he finds ways to continue giving us the ability to live and to give to others. He also finds ways to use our giving as ways to bring him praise.
  3. Christians do not need to be in a panic about climate change, as if the world is going to go up in a ball of flames because of human intervention. That said, Christians must see it as a privilege to be good stewards of God’s creation and not to harm creation by overuse or negligence (Genesis 1:28-30).