When we read the Bible, these stories about men and women who lived centuries before us, we can struggle to see what their stories could possibly have to do with ours. And while it’s true Scripture was written about particular people living in particular times, and written to particular people living in particular times, it was preserved for people just like us.
God blessed Noah, his family, and all of creation, and that blessing is so lavish, so extravagant, it reaches clear across time and space to us and every living creature on the earth today. We are inheritors of God’s covenant with Noah. And just as God was faithful to keep his promises to Noah, we can be certain that he will be faithful to keep his promises to us.
But even though we are the beneficiaries of God’s blessings through the Noahic covenant, we know all too well that life is not all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, it seldom is. Humanity has not given up its wicked ways, natural disasters still happen, and we still feel the “painful toil of our hands” (Genesis 5:29). And that’s because, like Lamech, we’re still waiting for our rest to come.
Lamech believed Noah would bring humanity rest from their toil, and while he wasn’t wrong—rest would come through one of Noah’s descendants—he ultimately took that hope to his grave.
Lamech died in hope. And even though God blessed Noah and renewed his commitment to all of creation, Noah also died in hope. He lived, just as his father and forefathers had lived, and he died just as they had died. The son that Lamech hoped would bring rest died.
But Lamech’s hope was not in vain. Generations later, long after Lamech and Noah had died, a boy would be born, a descendant of Noah, who would ultimately fulfill Lamech’s hope. He would overturn not only the curse on the land, but every curse. The curse of sin itself. That boy would be born in a manger to a young virgin named Mary, and they would call his name Jesus.
Through the Noahic covenant we see that all that God does is good. He is good when he spares the world of unbridled sin, and he is good when he spares the world through the life of one man. Through the Noahic covenant we see that all that God does is to bring us into relationship with himself. He re-establishes his commitment to the earth and to all living things that live on the earth, all so that humanity can be in relationship with him. And through the Noahic covenant we see that God is faithful even when humanity is not.
Lamech and Noah died waiting in hope. We are also called to live in hope, even as we wait. And so we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, and bring us rest.”