Lesson 1: September 3, 2017

The Rainbow: Genesis 8:20-22; 9:8-17

Teaching Strategy: Discuss the biblical meaning of God’s commitment to humankind and all of creation as described in the covenant with Noah and symbolized by a rainbow. Then invite participants to reflect upon the contemporary meaning of the covenant with Noah – in light of natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey.


The Scripture Matrix (adult) in the Guide for Lesson Development notes that “The Flood story concluded with three theological affirmations:

  • Apart from relationship with God, humans are hopeless; their sinful inclination has not changed (8:20-22);
  • God will continue to work with humankind; their rebelliousness will not be allowed to thwart God’s plans for creation (9:1-7); and
  • The post-Flood situation is decisively different; God declares that “never again” will such a flood destroy the world (9:8-17).”

The Special Concerns Matrix (youth and adult) reminds leaders of the need to “be sensitive to how one applies natural disasters as a punishment from God.”

News for the last week – and the foreseeable future – has focused on the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey on major areas of Texas, including Houston, the nation’s 4th largest city. Such natural disasters challenge our thinking: How are we to understand such destruction? What causes it? Why does it God allow it to happen? Is the occurrence of an event like this related to climate change(s) or the effects of human activity? What about God’s promise to Noah?

The massive destruction of land and property, and the loss of life and livelihoods, also compel us to act: What can we do to help those in need? How can we share faith and hope in the promises of God with those whose hearts are heavy with grief and despair? How can we assist in the repair and rebuilding of communities? What does the rainbow mean today?

Fall 2017 Theme: Covenants with God

Unifying Principle: After tragedy strikes, there are possibilities for people to seek renewed hope and strength to rebuild their lives. Is there a reliable source humans can turn to for rebuilding and protecting their lives? As an act of benevolence, God used the rainbow to assure Noah that neither humankind nor the earth would ever again be destroyed by water.

Posted on: August 28, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing