In our study of Genesis chapter eight, we will look at the end of the flood and the significance of the birds as well as the promise of God. We will see that this promise applies to our lives today just as much as it did to Noah.
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God remembered Noach, every living thing and all the livestock with him in the ark; so God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water began to go down. Also the fountains of the deep and the windows of the sky were stopped, the rain from the sky was restrained,
As we saw in chapter 7, the flood waters covered the earth for one hundred fifty days. After forty days, God shut off the water but it took quite a bit of time for the waters to go down. If it had not been for God's love, He could have simply let the waters continue to cover the earth but He remembered Noah and the animals that He had created. The act of God remembering is not literal as God did not forget about his creatures in the ark but it speaks more of a covenant relationship even though no formal covenant had been established at this point. It is talking about the relationship of obedience that had previously been established by the entering of the ark and, because of that relationship, a wind was sent to cause the waters to recede. It is this love that brought an end to the judgment that was upon the earth and it is this same love that brings our salvation based on the relationship that has been established between ourselves and Jesus Christ.
and the water came back from completely covering the earth. It was after 150 days that the water went down. On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
At the end of this period, the ark came to rest in the mountains of Ararat which are located in the modern country of Turkey. There is some significance in the location where the ark came to rest but the exact location is not important. It is significant that, even though Jerusalem and the land of Israel did not exist yet, being away from the place that would become Israel would be the equivalent of being in exile and being in exile always speaks of a journey.
The water kept going down until the tenth month; on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were seen.
Even after the bottom of the ark touched the mountain top, it took almost another three months for the waters to go down enough for Noah to see mountaintops. This is a reminder to us that, even while we may not see a huge amount of progress, God is still at work and, in His time, we will see what He has been doing.
After forty days Noach opened the window of the ark which he had built; and he sent out a raven, which flew back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth.
Another forty days went by after the ark came to rest and then Noah sent out a raven to check out the land. A raven is an unclean bird that eats dead flesh and so it kept flying back and forth in search of food. It would do this until it could find dead animals to feed on and, when it did, it did not come back to the ark. This is also a picture of those who "come to Jesus" without really coming to Jesus. There are those who have heard a watered down gospel and do not truly accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. These people are like the unclean raven who have simply come to God to get what they want or need. When they can get what they need to satisfy their physical body elsewhere, they fly away from the Lord.
Then he sent out a dove, to see if the water had gone from the surface of the ground. But the dove found no place for her feet to rest, so she returned to him in the ark, because the water still covered the whole earth. He put out his hand, took her and brought her in to him in the ark.
The second bird that Noah sent out was a dove and it kept returning to the ark because it did not eat dead flesh. This is a picture of our walk as Christians. We may make mistakes but, when we do, Jesus is waiting there to welcome us back into God's will for our lives.
He waited another seven days and again sent the dove out from the ark. The dove came in to him in the evening, and there in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf, so Noach knew that the water had cleared from the earth.
We are reminded that throughout the Bible, the number seven is associated with completeness. Therefore, Noah waited seven days to send the dove back out to see if the water had gone down. This time it returned with an olive leaf and so Noah knew that the water had went down.
He waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, and she didn't return to him any more.
After seven more days, the dove was sent out but this time it found a place to land and food.
By the first day of the first month of the 601st year the water had dried up from off the earth; so Noach removed the covering of the ark and looked; and, yes, the surface of the ground was dry. It was on the twenty-seventh day of the second month that the earth was dry.
This passage shows us just how long (over a month) it took for the water to recede. During that time, all that Noah and his family could do was to pray and wait on the Lord. It is much the same in our christian walk as we often have to wait on the Lord's timing. It is not easy but it is necessary.
God said to Noach, "Go out from the ark, you, your wife, your sons and your son's wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing you have with you - birds, livestock and every animal that creeps on the earth - so that they can swarm on the earth, be fruitful and multiply on the earth." So Noach went out with his sons, his wife and his sons' wives; every animal, every creeping thing and every bird, whatever moves on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.
Finally, God called them out of the ark and told them to multiply. We are all familiar with getting a fresh start in life and here we see the greatest fresh start the world has ever seen.
Noach built an altar to ADONAI. Then he took from every clean animal and every clean bird, and he offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Burnt offerings were where the animals except their hides were burned up with the smoke rising to heaven. It was an effort to renew the relationship between a holy God and sinful man. This is a reminder to us that any fresh start must begin with God. There are all sorts of programs designed to help people start over from addictions, jail, etc. but most do not start with a renewed relationship with God and so the success rate is very low.
ADONAI smelled the sweet aroma, and ADONAI said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, since the imaginings of a person's heart are evil from his youth; nor will I ever again destroy all living things, as I have done.
God's promise is that this judgment is never to be repeated. You have probably heard the saying "he has a good heart" in reference to a person but, as we see here, we all have a heart of sin. Even so, God said that He would not judge the earth again in this manner.
So long as the earth exists, sowing time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease."
There will be no more judgments until the final day which is known as the Day of the Lord.