God's judgment against the sinful people of Noah's time resulted in the cataclysmic flood that wiped all life except what was contained in Noah's ark. God may have thought there was no other choice at the time, but afterward, God clearly had second thoughts.
That's how we end up with the rainbow covenant in today passage from Gen. 9. Here is the divine promise never again to flood the earth and destroy all creatures. Humans have some minimal responsibilities in this covenant, preceding our passage. But it's God who makes a binding agreement with humans and the rest of life in God's creation. It's the first real balancing of the sacred priorities and the profane reality of this life for the creatures.
From the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Jesus addresses spiritual practices and identifies how these disciplines can be manipulated and corrupted to lose their promise.
He calls out donors to the synagogue who want everyone to know how big their donation is. Their pursuit of acclaim and recognition makes it clear that their interest is in status, not faithfulness.
He calls out the the loud pray-ers, the ones who make a big scene, either on the street or in the synagogue. They, too, simply want to be seen, posturing as if they're more devout and pious than anyone else. God knows better.
Finally, Jesus takes a swipe at the Gentiles. In their prayers to their gods, the practice was to pray - often in babbling sounds like speaking in tongues - for long durations. The purpose was literally to wear down the deity and force its submission to the prayer request. That won't work with our God.
Jesus caps this off by saying that such elongated prayers are unnecessary because God already knows what you need before you pray. What? Before you pray? What about that?
You better click on the sermon video below and find out more, right? Don't miss the downloads below the video panel.