Welcome back! Three more weeks and “In the Beginning God” will be complete, then Part Two will start in July. More info on the Part Two of our study of Genesis will be included in the Week 12 post.
I pray you have learned much from the study so far. The Word of God is rich in His Truths.
This week, we will take a closer look at Genesis 8. Noah, his family, and the animals get to finally disembark the Ark to behold a very different world than what they knew previously.
As I mentioned last week, the story of the Great Deluge is a parallel to Salvation. God invites us into His safety from the penalty of sin. He gathers us in. He cares for us by providing for us even during great trial and tribulation. We simply must be obedient to His will. We also are given a beautiful gift of being able to participate by sharing the Gospel with others, but we are also the object of His Salvation through Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. Salvation is a wonderful gift only given to a few, just like the example we see in the account of the Flood. Only a small minority of people and animals were wrapped in the safety of the Ark while the Great Deluge ravaged the world.
Verse one starts out with an amazing truth: God remembered Noah. First, God had not forgotten Noah and the other occupants of the Ark. The Ark as a place of refuge was an act of God’s merciful grace. God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him on the ark. What we see here is called an anthropomorphism. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines anthropomorphism as the “assignment of human attributes to nonhuman things.” (See note on Anthropomorphism below.) In other words, God remembering Noah is an anthropomorphism of a human characteristic attributed to God. It makes it easier for us to understand and relate to the story. God didn’t forget Noah. God protected and saved Noah from God’s righteous judgement over the evilness that reigned in the hearts and minds of the people during the pre-flood age. God showed mercy in the midst of judgement. Just like God showed mercy to mankind in sending His Son to die on the Cross as THE redemption to a lost and dying world of the past, the present, and the future. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8, NKJV). “The Ark is a striking illustration of Christ, who preserves us from the flood of divine judgement through His grace.”1
God turned His attention to Noah, and as He did that He made a wind blow across the earth to subside the waters (v.1). We can assume the wind had not blown during the cataclysmic upheaval which gushed forth from below the earth’s crust and also while the water canopy was released above the earth. The wind would have been an extra element of disaster at the time and was not needed to bring destruction to earth. As we know, wind can also act as a drying agent. The wind, as it is mentioned in verse one, was used to evaporate the waters.
Verse 2 can almost be seen as conflicting with Genesis 7:12, but it isn’t. In Genesis 7:2, the water literally poured from the sky and water burst up from subterranean sources which most likely opened due to earthquake activity on a large world-wide scale. In Genesis 8:2, it means the subterranean sources from below the earth ceased to be access points for water to release, and no more rain fell from the sky. The water cycle was interrupted to allow the waters to recede. Water cannot dry up if there continues to be a ready supply of it. Verse 3 reiterates the continual reduction of waters as they receded to the places God had prepared for them to stay contained (see Psalm 104: 5-9). The Flood waters decreased at the end of 150 days (five months).
Two months after the waters began to recede, the Ark rested on the mountains of Ararat (v.4). Notice that Scripture does not say it rested on Mt. Ararat. Noah’s Ark landed in the region of the Ararat Mountains, not the actual mountain itself. Some reports over the years have been made that the Ark has been found, but it is doubtful the Ark has or will be found. More likely parts of it were used for building by Noah and his family, or they left it behind exposed to the elements, or glacier movement in the mountainous region destroyed the Ark. We’ll likely never know. (Read the article below on this topic by Answers In Genesis. The writer makes a logical conclusion that the Ark was never on Mt. Ararat, a young stratovolcano.)
The water continued to recede steadily over the next three months. In the tenth month, since the start of the Flood, mountaintops began to appear above the water level (v. 5). Forty days later Noah opened the Ark’s window (v.6) to release a raven (v.7). The raven soared back and forth, but it did not return to the Ark but kept flying. A raven will feed on dead animals, so it had no need to return to the Ark to rest since it could find an ample supply of animal carcasses to feed (and rest) on.
Noah also released a female dove (v.8). Doves feed on seeds on the ground and their feet give them the ability to perch on trees. The dove returned to the Ark when it found no land (v. 9). Noah put out his hand to take her back into the Ark (v.9).
Scripture tells us Noah waited seven days before sending the dove out again (v.10). Verse 11 tells us the dove returned to Noah with an olive leaf in her mouth. Noah had clear evidence the waters had receded, and the land was nearly ready for humanity and the animals again. Noah waited another seven days and sent the dove out again, but the dove did not return (v.12). The dove did not return because she found what she needed to sustain her life.
In the first month of Noah’s 601st year, on the very first day of the year, the Bible tells us, in verse 13, the waters were dried up from all the earth. A peculiar portion of verse 13 mentions a covering Noah removed from the ark. What exactly was the covering? Up until this point in Scripture this word had not been. According to Strong’s Concordance, the word in the original Hebrew is mikseh (מִכְסֶה) which literally means covering. The same word can be found in Exodus and Numbers. (See Exodus 26:14, 35:11, 36:19, 39:34, 40:19 and Numbers 3:25, 4:8,10,11,12,25.) In Exodus and Numbers, it is referring to the covering of the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle), and was made from animal skins (ram, badger or porpoise) sewn together. We don’t know exactly its use here in verse 13 but based on how it was used in other Scripture references, we can assume it was used in a similar way in Genesis 8:13. Some have suggested it was used as a sort of covering over the window which Noah removed to get a better look at his surroundings. To remove the roof, or a portion of the Ark’s roof, would have been a difficult task, so it is likely it was used over the window to keep the rain out.
Although Noah had been told by God the exact day to enter the Ark, God had not told Noah when to leave it, until verse 16. Based off the information given in verse 14, we know it had been one year and ten days since they had entered the Ark. Imagine staying in an enclosed structure for over a year with stinky animals. Guess they got use to the smell after a while. Right?
In verses 15 – 17, God spoke to Noah again. It was time to go. I can’t help to think that Noah and his family were quite relieved the time had come to leave. They had survived devasting destruction, and the earth was ready to receive them back on dry, vegetated land. There was now sufficient means to sustain them and the animals. In verse 17, God tells the animals, birds, and creeping things to be fruitful and multiply which parallels Genesis 1:22. Verses 18 and 19 tells us they left the ark, according to their families; i.e. their kinds. We don’t exactly know how they exited the Ark, but they did.
What does Noah do first thing? He builds an altar to the LORD. He takes of every clean animal and bird and sacrifices them on the altar. This act of worship was a risky sacrifice, but it was one God would honor. The smell of the sacrificed animals upon the altar pleased God. This is also another example of an anthropomorphism. The sacrifices of Noah were a soothing or sweet-smelling aroma to God. A sweet-smelling aroma is also used in Ephesians 5:2 which states: “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” The sacrifice of Christ on the Cross was a sweet-smelling aroma to God because it satisfied our own sin-debt we owed to God. It was an act of worship by Christ in our place. What a beautiful parallel with Noah’s sacrifice. Noah’s sacrifice brought forth a response from God built around a beautiful promise intertwined with mercy. God covenanted with Himself, on our behalf, through the sacrificial death of His willing Son. God was/is merciful to us, sinners.
God established a new covenant with Noah in verses 21 and 22. God did not forget Noah as verse 1 of this chapter pointed out. God remembered, and He remembers each of us who love Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. I like how the study notes of Chapter 8 in the Explorer’s Bible Study, In the Beginning: Genesis states this about the Noah’s sacrifice: “God, who always delights in mercy and welcomes the least sign of love and gratitude in us, accepted this offering and responded by giving Noah a promise.”2 God promised to never curse the ground again, nor destroy every living thing again even though the heart of man is inclined toward evil (v.21).
In verse 22, God points out in His covenant promise with Noah that the earth would now have seasons: winter, spring (seedtime), summer and fall (harvest). The post-Flood world would be a different world than the pre-Flood world. This would be a new start for mankind and the animal kinds of the earth, and the earth would never be destroyed again as the LORD had done through the Great Flood.
The words of verse 22 are beautiful to me:
“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat’
And winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
Out of chaos would come seasonal order, responsibility, character building, and a new opportunity for being grounded upon the truths of God. The earth would remain through all its seasonal order, and by the sowing of seed, working the land, and with the subsequent harvest, man would be able to provide for themselves because God would make sure they would have all they needed to make it so.
What a beautiful picture or redemption we have in the account of Noah and the Great Flood. I’m grateful for God’s grace He generously poured out on Noah and his family, and all the ark inhabitants. The Great Flood happened. I believe, because I believe God and His Word.
Next week, we’ll look take a deeper look into the Noahic Covenant in Chapter 9. Please join me mid-week. I’m excited to share with you. Blessings!
Have a blessed Memorial Day as we remember those who gave all so that we could have freedom in our great nation.
(Oh, before I go, I want to add a retrospective question for this week: How has God shone you His grace in an unexpected way? It could be something that happened this week or anything that comes to your mind from a time in your past. Worship Him in truth as you remember His grace-filled mercy.)
Homework assignment for next week:
Scripture reading: Genesis 9
Suggested Scripture Memorization:
11Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12And God said: “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. Genesis 9:11-12, NKJV
1.What is God’s first command to Noah and his sons in this chapter?
2.What does verse 2 mean? What does it reaffirm from Creation?
3.What does God tell them they can eat? What was one prohibition given in verse 4?
4.Verses 5-7 speak of Human Government. Was this something new? Where have we already seen a sense of Human Government? (It’s okay if you’re not sure of this answer. I’ll explain it in the Overview for Chapter 9.)
5.Who is the author of Human Government?
6.Verses 8-10 refer to the covenant God is making with Noah and his sons. Who or what else is God making a covenant with?
7.What is God committing to never do again in verse 11?
8. What is the sign of the covenant?
9.When would God show this sign?
10.With the sign’s appearance what does God say it will remind Him of?
11.Verse 18 repeats info we already know. What is it? What is something new this verse reveals to us?
12.By whom did God use to repopulate the earth?
13.What was Noah’s new career? What did he plant?
14.After his vineyard produced grapes, what did Noah make from it? What happened to Noah as a result of overindulgence?
15.Who saw Noah naked? Who did he tell?
16.What did Shem and Japheth do? Were they honorable in their actions? What does this tell us about their character?
17.Was Ham honorable in his actions? Why or Why not?
18.What does verse 24 tell us?
19.Verse 18 tells us Ham was the father of Canaan. What does verse 25 tell us about Canaan?
20.What does verse 26 tell us about Shem?
21.What does verse 27 tell us about Japheth?
22.What is consistent about verses 25-27?
23.Noah lived how much longer after the Flood? How old was he when he died?
1The New Open Bible: Study Edition. “Noah’s Ark” article. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), p.13.
2In the Beginning: Genesis. Explorer’s Bible Study Quest Series. (Dickson, TN: Explorer’s Bible Study, 2009), p. 58.
For Further Information:
Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat?:
Although, I did not broach this subject in the overview, I thought I’d include a few links on the subject of Dinosaurs and the Great Flood. Have fun exploring! (You can also find videos and books about dinosaurs that are from a biblical creationist point of view.)