When we come to Genesis 9 verses 1-17 what we immediately ask is what is the point of this passage and how we would preach it?
For many, the text is simply Noah and his family get a "fresh start" with God "recreating" after the destruction of the flood with the Lord God forming a new Covenant with them. It's almost like a rerun of Genesis 1 & 2.
Yet is it?
Even though there are parallels between Genesis 9 and Gen 1 & 2, still there is more at play here.
After the destruction of the world by the flood God does again direct man as to his role on the earth "be fruitful and multiply" and as we read this is again mentioned in verse 7. Here one needs to ask "why the repetition?"
Is it merely an emphasis on the new beginning?
I don't believe so. Just look closely at the literary flow of the text.
After the command to be fruitful and multiply in verse 1, God indicates that unlike in the garden Gen 1-2, the animals will now fear mankind, vs 2.
Secondly, now everything is edible, not merely the green plants, vs 3. And given that, one must make sure the animal is dead, that there is no life blood, before eating. vs 4.
Also importantly, if a person is killed by another man or animal they will be held accountable. vs 5-6. Indeed whoever sheds the blood of man [ death ] will forfeit his life! After this our text repeats the command to be fruitful and multiply! Why?
I'd suggest it is telling you that even though sin will continue, man is to be fruitful and multiply.
After the massive judgment upon mankind because of man's sin, even after that, with a new beginning the sin problem remains. One may have been tempted to give up. In the face of the affirmation that man will still commit evil, that he will still kill his fellow man, man is still called upon to covenantal obedience and be fruitful and multiply.
So we need to ask, What will God do?
Well, the following verses tell us that he will not ever again flood the earth and destroy everything. and he confirms this promise by the sign of a rainbow.
[ as an aside here we note for those who suggest that the flood was local in extent doesn't gel with the text because it makes God to a liar since there have been destructive local floods with great loss of life since then. ]
So how do we go about seeing the application here?
The first is to see God keeps his promises. After the fall Genesis 3, God gave a promise to defeat Satan through His seed. Gen 3:15. The promised one, won't eventuate if all mankind is destroyed. so even though Man does his utmost to destroy each other and break relationship with God, to reject Him, and in all this satan works to stop the coming seed, despite all this God works to fulfil his promise! that encourages you doesn't it? From the beginning God allows nothing to thwart his gracious promises, so that we see Jesus crucified for our sin, for all mankind's sin and resurrected. That God keeps his promises should make us delight in the promise of His return.
A second application here has to do with man created in the image of God. That makes him special so that even though we see in the flood the Sovereign judgment of God, still He will persevere with man, until Jesus, the perfect image of God. it's not an ogre God, a judgmental God but one who also shows great patience and Grace.
Third, one cannot ignore that the commands to be fruitful and multiply is a demand of obedience so that with relationship comes responsibility.