Genesis 8 – Noah and Family Leave the Ark
A. God remembers Noah.
1. (1) God focuses His attention on Noah again.
Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.
a. God remembered Noah: This is an anthropomorphism (a non-literal picture of God in human terms we can understand). Certainly, God never forgot Noah, but at this point God again turned His active attention towards Noah.
b. God made a wind to pass over the earth: God knew how to make the waters subside. Even a big problem like this was not a big problem to God.
2. (2-5) As the floodwaters recede, the ark rests on Mount Ararat.
The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased. Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.
a. On the mountains of Ararat: In a sense, Mount Ararat was not a very “smart” place to leave the ark. Leaving the ark at a high altitude and mountainous terrain meant a difficult departure for everyone and everything in the ark.
b. Mountains of Ararat: However, if God’s purpose was to put the ark in a place where it might be preserved for thousands of years, He chose an excellent place for it.
3. (6-12) Birds are used to test the condition of the earth.
So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made. Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself. And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.
4. (13-19) Noah, his family, and all the animals leave the ark.
And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried. Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.
B. God’s covenant with Noah.
1. (20) Noah builds an altar and offers a sacrifice.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
a. Then Noah built an altar: Noah’s first act after leaving the ark was to worship God through sacrifice. His gratitude and admiration of God’s greatness lead him to worship God.
b. Took of every clean animal and every clean bird: As is the nature with true sacrifice, this was a costly offering unto God. With only seven of each animal on the ark, Noah risked extinction by sacrificing some of these animals. But costly sacrifice is pleasing to God.
i. The sacrifices we are called to offer to God should also cost us something. We should present our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1), the giving of our resources is a sacrifice (Philippians 4:18), and we should give the sacrifice of praise to God (Hebrews 13:15).
ii. Costly sacrifice pleases God, not because God is greedy and wants to get as much from us as He can but because God Himself sacrificed at great cost (Ephesians 5:2 and Hebrews 9:26, 10:12). God wants costly sacrifice from us because it shows we are being conformed into the image of Jesus, who was the greatest display of costly sacrifice. As Paul wrote in Ephesians 5:2, we should be like Jesus in this regard: 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.
iii. May we think like David, who said he would never offer to God that which costs me nothing (2 Samuel 24:24).
2. (21-22) God’s promise to Noah and to all mankind.
And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”
a. The Lord smelled a soothing aroma: Noah’s costly sacrifice pleased God. It was as if God smelled the great aroma of the roasting meat (indicating that God loves a barbecue), and He then made this wonderful promise to Noah and to man.
i. Of course, the Bible speaks anthropomorphically here. More pleasing to God than the smell of the sacrifice was the heart of Noah in his sacrifice.
b. Cold and heat, winter and summer: This speaks of the profound climatic and ecological changes in the earth since the “blanket” of water vapors covering the earth was “emptied.” Now there are seasonal and temperature variations.
i. The result of this change is found in the rapidly decreasing life spans. There will never be 900-year-old men after the flood.
ii. The mass extinction of animals revealed in the fossil record (such as dinosaurs and other such creatures) probably took place shortly after the flood, when the earth was changed so dramatically and plunged into an ice age.
©2013 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission