Sunday, March 05, 2006


Genesis 8:1-19

GENESIS 8:1-19


April 10, 2005

Good morning! Today we return to our study of Genesis the Book of Beginnings. I will recap by reminding you we are approaching this study as Fundamentalists, that is, those who accept the fundamentals of scripture, one of the first being that it is literally true. Last time we left faithful Noah, his family and 7 of each clean animal and 2 of each unclean animal safely in the ark as it rides the waves of a planet totally immersed, or as we would say in Greek, baptized, by the Flood. The waters now are “prevailing” over the earth. We will start with verse 23 of chapter 7 to maintain the context:

Genesis 7:23 – 8:19 Read.

We see the story from the 601st year of Noah's life. One of my modern translations done by liberal scholars suggests that what is really meant here is the 601st year of Noah's family. But as I said in our study of Job, we will simply look at the text, it often casts light upon the footnotes. MacDonald has done the hard work for us on tracing the chronology of the Flood for us, so we will look at it first.

1.7 days -- from the time Noah entered the ark until the Flood began (7:10).

2.40 days and nights – duration of the rain (7:12).

3.150 days – from the time the rain began until the waters decreased (8:3) and the ark rested on Mt. Ararat (7:11 and 8:4).

4.224 days – from the beginning of the Flood until the mountain tops reappeared (7:11 and 8:5).

5.40 days – from the time the mountaintops were seen until Noah sent out a raven (8:7).

6.7 days – from the sending of the raven to the first sending forth of a dove (8:6-10; v. 10, yet another 7 days).

7.7 more days – until the dove was sent forth a second time (8:10).

8.7 more days – until the final sending forth of the dove (8:12).

9.314 days – from the beginning of the Flood until Noah removed the covering from the ark (7:11 and 8:13).

10.371 days – from the beginning of the Flood until the earth was dried (7:11 and 8:14). At this time Noah was commanded to go out of the ark (vs. 16).

Genesis 8:1 Read

Unbelieving liberal scholars here claim a proof of scripture being mythology. The say the writer is describing an anthropomorphized or “manly” God who is forgetful of things and has to be reminded like a distracted factory foreman who suddenly remembers he has a crew scraping paint on floor seven. This is blasphemous. It is actually the “higher” critics doing what they are accusing the writer of Genesis of and that is attributing to God THEIR attributes. It all goes back to the Enemy who said before the fall, “I will be as the Most High”. This is not remembering as something forgotten accidentally brought to mind, this remembering proven by actions. We will see two actions on God's part that illustrate his remembering.

1.He began to remove the water from the face of the earth. We have the narrative telling us that he made the wind to pass over the earth. Yet with the storms and rain there must have been something more going on than just wind. We find the first clue back in chapter 1, verse 2. “And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.” The Hebrew word translated “wind” in 8:1 is the same translated as “Spirit” in chapter 1. Once again, as in creation the Spirit of God is moving on the face of the waters, and as we'll see later, creation is again occurring. Often in scripture words carry both a physical and a spiritual meaning, this is especially true of “Spirit” or pnuemos. This is why when we say scripture is inspired we say it is “God breathed”. God's spirit is like a wind and is also literally a wind. Let's look at a familiar passage in Corinthians.

Corinthians 2:1-4 Read.

So back in Genesis 8 God's spirit is both blowing the waters off the earth and guiding the ship to it's final safe resting place on Ararat. You don't have to have deep spiritual insight to recognize the similarity to what God's spirit did in Genesis 8 and what it does in the life of the Christian indwelt by the spirit. We see salvation, power, protection and guidance. Believe it or not, the Japanese have a term for this combination of spirit and wind. They call it Kamikaze, or divine wind. As with the flood story, the idea of divine wind resonates throughout history.

We forget that we have no record of God having any communication with Noah during those long 371 days in the ark. Do you think that in the long storm and terror he sometimes felt forgotten? I'm sure he did, yet he obeyed God without question and in the end he had God's proof of remembering. Do we ever feel forgotten? That we are alone and abandoned in the storms and trials of this life? We must do as Noah did, stay faithful and obedient and the day will come when we can look back as he did and see that God's spirit WAS moving on the face of our waters.

Genesis 8:2 Read.

Here we see three separate acts of God. First the fountains of the deep, the mighty storehouses of water are stopped up. My guess is that those massive caverns, emptied of their stores, collapsed and formed the seabeds into which the waters on the surface rushed. Next the windows of heaven were stopped. The great vapor canopy which had insulated and protected the planet was at last gone. Finally the rains themselves were held back by the natural balance of nature which continues to this day.

Genesis 8:3 Read

You'll remember I said the flood was one of God's great creative acts. The waters of the flood now rushed down into their basins. The newly formed layered crust of the earth, still comparatively soft and malleable was cut and grooved into river beds and canyons. The Grand Canyon in Colorado and mostly Arizona cries out the evidence of that massive rushing of waters. Go to Saylorville Dam or the Coralville Reservoir dam and look at what happened when in a tiny example of this outpouring, the Des Moines and Iowa Rivers flowed over the emergency spillways and formed miniature Grand Canyons. And the mountains were pushed up as the ocean basins fell and mountain ranges became visible.

Genesis 8:4 Read.

God's divine wind of his spirit guided the ark to rest on the one he had prepared for it.

Genesis 8:5 Read.

Noah watched out the window and saw the waters pouring off the earth and KNEW God remembered him. To digress, if Noah kept a diary of this, and I suspect that he did, I have to wonder if Moses read it or a translation of it when he was absorbing all the knowledge of Egypt centuries later. It may be that in your hand you hold exerpts of that diary, miraculously preserved by a loving God for you today, a constant reminder, that God remembers.

Genesis 8:6,7 Read.

You'll notice that the raven, the unclean bird does not return. It eats carrion and no doubt found dead corpses aplenty to feed upon and floating debris to rest on.

Genesis 8:8,9 Read

Both Col. Scofield and Dr. MacDonald find types of man in this passage.

Scofield's comment, Read.

Dr. MacDonald says:

The unclean raven and the clean dove are good illustrations of the believer's old and new natures. The old nature loves to feed on garbage and carrion whereas the new nature cannot find satisfaction in a scene of death and judgment. It finds no rest until it sets foot on resurrection ground.

So we come to the second evidence of God's remembering of Noah.

2.He gave him a sign in the sending out and returning of the dove.

Genesis 8:10,11 Read.

We are seeing here at the very beginning of man's history one of the most powerful symbols of peace ever developed. Every nation and culture, deny this account as they might, use the dove with an olive branch in its beak as a symbol of peace. The U.N. reports that the prime minister of Israel extended an “olive branch” to Egypt. Rabid animal rights activists who worship the creation instead of the Creator, cry of dove hunting, “but it's the symbol of PEACE, how can you kill it”?

Olive trees either seeded by the flood or branches sprouted half buried had leafed out and the dove could now live and nest. So Noah, waited another 7 days and set her free again.

Genesis 8:12 Read.

The sign was fulfilled, she went to establish the nest for the mate who would soon join her.

Genesis 8:13 Read

Have you ever been closeted in your house during several days of rain or for the duration of a blizzard or ice storm? Then you can sympathize with Noah. He was ready to raise the roof, and he did. The window that ran the circumference of the top of the ark under the eves of the roof allowed him to look to the side and see the tops of the other mountains, but now with the the evidence of God's sign of the dove he knew the earth was returning to life and wanted to see it with his own eyes. So they dismantled the roof and looked down over the sides of the ship and saw dry ground. So they opened the door and rushed out, right? Wrong. Noah had learned to put his trust in the God who Remembers. He waited and stayed obedient as the sun shown down into the ark by day and the stars and moon by night.

Genesis 8:14 Read.

So what was Noah waiting for?

Genesis 8:15 Read.

He was waiting for God to speak. The animals were speaking, I'm sure. God certainly must have shut up their mouths as he would later the lions in their den when Daniel was thrown in. There's no doubt he was capable of and did put many of them into hibernation. But now as the sun streamed in and the odors of the the bountiful spring wafted through, they must have begun to awaken and become restless, but still Noah waited on the Lord. In a way our breaking of bread rememberence is like that. We wait on the Lord till he brings to mind the passage from his word or the song that will touch our hearts. When my cousin visited a couple years back who I knew had never worshiped at an assembly I warned her of this knowing who was used to a very loud and active worship service where she attended. But she let me know she understood completely. “You're being still and knowing He is God.” she quoted. And she was right.

Genesis 8:16,17 Read.

God here gives his first commandment since he ordered Noah and the animals into the ark. As his spirit moved on the waters both in Genesis 1 and here, now he repeats the commandment that he made in Genesis 1 to replenish the earth. We not only have a God who Remembers, we have a God of Second Chances. His judgment comes, but it's tempered with mercy and to the one who remains faithful comes the second chance. So Noah and his family and the animals have another commandment. Do they obey it?

Genesis 8:18,19 Read.

They obey. The imagery for us is powerful. Saved by the shed blood of his son Jesus Christ, guided and protected by his baptizing and indwelling spirit, God calls us to go forth. Through his son he will say millennia later, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel, to the Jew first and also to the gentile, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.”

Will WE remember?
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