By RANDY WHITE, D.Min.
Founder and CEO
(Read Part 6)
We have been walking through the Genesis account leading up to the flood, and have come in our study to Genesis 8.
As we begin, let me ask you this question: Do you ever feel forgotten? Have you ever felt like God had forgotten you?
When we come to this point in the text—as far as we know—Noah had not heard from God for nearly a year during the events of the flood, since God shut the door of the ark (Gen. 7:16). God had earlier given extensive instruction to Noah, but then He was silent. Noah may have even felt all alone and wondered where God was when he needed Him the most.
But then as we open chapter 8, we read these wonderful words:
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged (Gen. 8:1).
The idea of remembrance here does not imply that God had previously forgotten Noah and everyone else—and all the animals—on the ark. God is not subject to the kinds of weaknesses that we suffer, causing us to forget important things. However, it does imply that these eight people—even though they were the only eight people left on the earth—were not at the center of the universe in God’s eyes. This shows us that God’s plans are bigger than any one of us.
In fact, God had everything under such control that there was no need for Him to keep a close eye on Noah and his family. He had given instructions to Noah and closed him safely in the ark, so He was not worried about small things such as whether or not the boat would leak. Noah and everyone else on the ark were safely in His care.
Perhaps more than we would like to admit, it appears that this is how God works. It is very seldom that God shows up in our lives every day. He is certainly not constantly providing new revelation. For another example, there were 400 years of silence between Malachi and Matthew. God was always active, but there were vast periods of time throughout Scripture and history in which nothing spectacular happened. Therefore, we must not get frustrated when we do not sense God doing something in every aspect of our lives at any given moment. That is not how God works, yet He is carrying out His plan.
The Hebrew word for remember (zakar, זָכַר) really means “to bring to the top of the memory.”
God is never late in fulfilling His promises. As Peter states,
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9, NASB).
Genesis 8:1 also hints at the idea of a new creation of the world following the flood. Notice how both accounts emphasize the Spirit or wind (from the same Hebrew word, ruach, ר֫וּחַ) doing similar actions (Gen. 1:2; cf. 8:1). We see also the gathering together of the waters, on the one hand, and how “the waters were abated” on the other (Gen. 1:9; cf. 8:3). In both cases, the water and the dry land were separated from one another and the created land was becoming visible. There were also similarities with regard to the creation of the firmament, first, and then, at the time of the flood, “the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped” (Gen. 1:7; cf. 8:2). Notice how waters under and above were restrained in each case.
The creation was beginning to be seen again! This was, in essence, the rebirth of the creation.
We also have word pictures here that allow us to see some of the amazing things that were happening in the environment outside of the ark.
The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated (Gen. 8:2-3).
Genesis 8:4 then tells us that “the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” Noah’s name, interestingly, also means rest.
Today, there is a mountain in Turkey that is called Mount Ararat. But that is not necessarily the mountain that the Bible is referring to here.
Noah first sees “the tops of the mountains” (Gen. 8:5). Then 40 days later he is going to open the window to the ark (Gen. 8:6).
What would he see if looked down from the window at that point? Water? Dry ground?
To find out more, he first sent out a raven that never returned (Gen. 8:7), then a dove that did return (Gen. 8:8-9) and then—a week later—another dove (Gen. 8:10-11). That dove brought back on olive leaf, which told Noah that there had been at least some land which was dry for some time.
After another seven days of waiting, Noah sent out one more dove, which never returned (Gen. 8:12).
Verses 13 and 14 offer the following summation:
Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry (NASB).
However, Noah did not leave the ark yet—until God told him to leave. He was probably ready to leave the ark, but it appears that he was waiting—perhaps impatiently. It seems that Noah was dependent upon God—who had shut the door (Gen. 7:16)—to open the door (Gen. 8:16).
Jesus Christ has the keys of ultimate authority. Revelation 1:18 states:
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
He is also the One described in Revelation 3:7 as:
He that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth.
There is a real possibility that Noah was somewhat trapped here while he waited for the Lord to act, but he was obedient in the process. He was going to step off the ark onto a new world—having spent perhaps exactly one year on the ark.
We will see next time how the Lord directed him, and how he responded. May we likewise be faithful and obedient to God.
Editor’s Note: This blog article is taken from the following sermon, which you can watch in its entirety here:
(Read Part 8)
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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the King James Version.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
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Photo within the article is by Paul J. Scharf
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