Read: Genesis 9:3-7
In chapter 2 of Genesis, God creates man uniquely for relationship with Himself. He imparts within them His image and sets them over the rest of the things He creates. However, by the time we get to Chapter 9, a lot of time has passed in the narrative since Genesis 2. This unque beauty that has been given to humans has been degraded by murder, rape, and incest. Human beings themselves have degraded themselves.
When Noah gets off the boat, God reminds him of the value he places on life. God does this first by commanding Noah not eat anything that had not been drained of its blood. This is a common command that is repeated throughout the Old Testament law. It is not that there’s anything wrong with blood intrinsically, but it’s that it symbolizes life. In having to drain the blood of whatever Noah and his descendants kill to eat, they would be reminded of the precious cost of life that would continue to sustain them.
God continues and separates man from animal, saying that He will require a reckoning for human blood that is shed. He commands that every man or beast who kills someone should be killed. This is another principle that’s common in the Old Testament law.
Here God sets an even stronger precedent. By creating such a harsh punishment on the taking of human life, God sets up how valuable human life is. I think sometimes we like to think that our actions have no consequence, but that’s just not true. Sin has major ramifications, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
In a beautiful way these commands shadow the promise of redemption. We know that man continues on its path of destruction, even though they are given a second chance after the second chance. We continue to undermine the image of God by taking advantage of our fellow image bearers through labor explotation, rape, and even murder. And for our injustice towards each other there is a reckoning that has to be paid.
This reckoning happened in an unlikely way. On some random hill in the middle east God made flesh came and let His own lifeblood so we did not have to pay with our own.
In what ways have you disrespected your fellow image bearers. Remember Jesus tells us that bitterness, hatred and insult is the same as murder (Matthew 5:21-26). Ask God to search your heart. Are there any people group that you find you are have hatred or apathy for? Those in prison? The widows? Homeless? The LGBTQ community? Ask God to give you compassion for them as fellow image bearers.