Resources: Climate change and the purposes of God

Bible study: future promises

Posted in: Climate change and the purposes of God, Theology
Resource type: Bible studies and reflections

A Bible study on God’s future promises, based on the Noah story and Deuteronomy 33: 26-29.

Thinking about climate change may leave us feeling confused, fearful and uncertain about the future of our precious earth. This final study looks at some of the promises that God has made to humankind. They encourage and give us hope as we direct our efforts towards protecting our environment.

Read Genesis 6:9-13

The story of Noah and the ark is well known. God destroyed humankind – and all other creatures living on the earth and in the air when he was grieved by the wickedness of people. He did this by a flood which reversed all the patterns of creation.

  • Noah is described as righteous and blameless. Although we know that God saved the lives of him and his family, the experience of the time spent in the crowded ark cannot have been a pleasant experience! He could be said to have suffered from the sins of others, until he passed through the time of judgement and was able to walk free from the ark. What parallels do we see with this around the world?
  • Verse 13 is interesting because here the violence of mankind is also said to have filled the earth. What might this mean?
  • Are there modern examples of this?

Read Genesis 8:13-22

After over twelve months under water, it was finally dry enough to emerge from the ark.

  • What was Noah’s first response on leaving the ark? What would yours be in a similar situation?
  • In verse 21 we read that God says that every inclination of humankind is evil from childhood. How does make you feel? Why does God continue to pour out such love on us?
  • The words in quotes in verse 22 indicate they quote God’s response to Noah. What is your response to this promise?

Read Genesis 9: 8-17

  • Floods certainly continue today but they do not generally destroy all life – or last for nearly two months. God’s covenant was with both people and with all living creatures. Why should his covenant cover both humankind and living creatures?
  • Is this covenant likely to continue as sea levels rise due to global warming?

Read Deuteronomy 33: 26-29

The whole of Chapter 33 of Deuteronomy is made up of Moses’ blessing on the Israelites – his final words before he died, knowing that despite the way in which he had led the people of Israel through the forty years in the wilderness, he would not enter the Promised Land with them. He wanted to assure them that God would continue to be with them.

  • In verse 27 how do you imagine or visualise the everlasting arms of God?
  • Do you have examples of times when you have experienced resting in God’s arms?
  • What does it mean to be a people saved by the Lord?
  • How is God our shield and helper today protecting us against our enemies?

Jacob’s spring in verse 28 is a promise of a refreshing water source bubbling up and allowing fruit and crops to flourish. Dew only falls when there is adequate water vapour in the atmosphere. This promise is of particular significance to those who have experienced desert or semi-arid areas. Read out verse 28 together and end with a time of prayer, thanking God for the amazing promises we have studied.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning. 
Great is Thy faithfulness, O Lord.
Great is Thy faithfulness. 

Robert Davidson from Lamentations 3:22-24

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