In our dominant American culture, names tend to say more about our family ties or what our parents found pleasant-sounding around the time of our birth. But in other cultures, names say something about one’s character and destiny. This is especially the case in the cultures of the Bible.
God strikes a covenant here and promises to never again flood the earth. God promises to stay in relationship with humanity (that is still prone to violence and all sorts of evil, by the way) but God’s keeps God’s end of the bargain. And what’s our end of the covenant? To, like Noah, be vessels of peace in a world gone mad.
Looking back over our personal histories, how many of our lives have changed because of those moments when we followed the tug of the Spirit and took the riskier, less convenient, or more truthful route? It’s often in the opposite direction of having it our usual way that was Jesus said comes into full view: “The kingdom of God has come near.”