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Last Sunday Genesis chapter seven described the gradual increase of water. This week Genesis chapter eight describes the gradual decrease of the water. Verse 1 tells us “God remembered Noah”. This word remembered is used in the Old Testament as an idea that God shows kindness, or God or shows favor to protects or delivers someone from danger. I find this rather interesting as it appears that God did not use supernatural means to suddenly cause the waters to recede. Verse 5 tells us the ark comes to rest on the high point of a mountain range. Ararat is a range of mountains close to what we today call modern Turkey and the highest mountain in that range is 16,254 feet high. (Taller than any mountain in Western Europe)
The passage then describes for us the water subsiding from the surface of the earth and what Noah did to in order to figure out when it was OK for them all to get out of the ark. Which he does by sending out birds. First, he sends out a Raven and he waits 40 days. The Raven is a scavenger meaning it could survive by eating carcasses floating in the water. Next he releases a dove. Unlike the raven the dove could only land on a dry place, and because it didn't find any such place it returns to the ark, this time Noah doesn’t wait 40 days he only waits 7 The fact that the second dove did not return indicates that the waters had at least abated to the valleys. Then after another 7 days a last dove goes out this one does not return. The failure of that dove to return was an indication that it had found dry ground. So, the flood has completely receded. There are several principles involved here that I think are important to note.
Firstly, is that God often uses natural means to bring about his purposes when we tend to seek supernatural means. We glory in the dramatic the theatrical but most of what God does he does through natural processes. So, if you’re sick, pray, but also go to a doctor. But the other thing in this part of the passage that I think we can learn from is that God works at his pace not ours. There is no greater area where that's true then in the area of spiritual growth. When God works, he often works slowly, but there the reason he does this is because that’s the only pace at which we can learn spiritual truths.
Verse 15-17 is a re-commission of the command from Genesis Ch 1 when God said he wanted all the creatures to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Everyone who entered the Ark, now safely leaves the Ark. Then Noah remembered the Lord. We are told in Hebrew chapter 13 that we offer a sacrifice of praise, but in the Old Testament they offered a lamb, a bull or a goat etc as a sacrifice. The sacrifice of Noah under the Old Testament ordnances was an expression of gratitude for God's gracious protection and deliverance from the flood. A sacrifice thanking God for his safe deliverance and indicating his dependence on the Lord as well as his devotion to the Lord. The scripture then tells us the Lord was pleased with Noah and his sacrifice; he makes two promises.
Firstly, God promised that he would not destroy the earth again, even though man's heart still was inclined towards evil, all the time. The flood wiped the slate clean as far as that previous generation was concerned. However, it’s clear it did not solve the problem of humanities inclination towards evil. The flood did not solve the problem of the depravity of human nature. That problem still stands true today.
Secondly God promised the natural processes would continue for as long as the earth exists. He plans to continue to allow the natural processes to take place. This story reminding us that God often use natural means to restore the creative order despite humanities attempts pull it down.
In a nutshell, this passage teaches us that when, God remembers us, we should remember him. The passage starts out by saying God remembered, Noah and saved him and his family. It ends up with Noah remembering to be thankful to God and offering a sacrifice in praise to God. I think the great spiritual lesson of this passage is, that when God remembers you, you should remember him. Sometimes the sacrifice might mean offering something of your financial or personal resources in thanksgiving for what He has done but it always means offering a sacrifice of praise.
God is sometimes works in miraculous ways, but remember God is always working in natural ways whether we see it or not It’s our nature not to remember God or His goodness to us, even though we should I must confess, I often forget to thank God. I suspect we all forget sometimes. We so easily forget to thank the Lord even after he has just remembered us. So, the next time that’s you find yourself in deep water.
“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”.
Next time the Lord delivers you or next time the Lord remembers you, don't forget to remember him.
The Earth Submerged