In our study of Genesis chapter seven, we look at the first rain upon the earth and the flood of judgment that it brought. In chapter six, we saw how God made preparations for this day of judgment by preserving a remnant of mankind as well as the animals of the earth.
The Lord then said to Noah, 'Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.'
All the preparations have been made and now comes the time of decision. God instructs Noah to take his family and enter the ark. There, they would be saved from the judgment that is to come through the waters. This is a picture of the salvation that was to come through Jesus Christ. This verse has caused some confusion and false teaching because of the fact that Noah's family was allowed to enter the ark because of him. There are many who think that they can ride another person's faith and enter heaven through them but that is not what happened with Noah's family. Noah would have explained to them what God said was going to happen and, at that point, they had the chance to either believe God (by faith) or to reject it and stay outside the ark and perish.
'Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.'
God instructed Noah to take seven pairs of clean animals and birds into the ark with him. This was God's way of providing for the sacrifices that are to come. He also had Noah take two pairs of unclean animals to repopulate the earth.
'Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.'
Why did God wait seven days? Throughout the Bible, the number seven is associated with completion and here we see that God gives everyone the chance to repent. During these seven days, others could have accepted the word of God by faith and been saved but they did not. He gave them every (complete) opportunity to repent. God explains to Noah that it is going to rain for forty days and nights and we are reminded that the number is associated with complete earthly trouble/testing.
And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
What difference can a single man make in this world? We see the answer in this simple verse. Noah simply did what the Lord told him to do and, because of that, we are all here today.
Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.
In our world today, it seems like everyone is working for the goal of retirement but that is not the biblical pattern to life. We see that this one man did not lay around in his house waiting to die but was instead active in serving the Lord. There is a huge pool of older Christians that need to heed this example of Noah and get to listening and working for the Lord. Imagine what work the Lord could do through them and their wisdom!
And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
So, we see that all that were called boarded the ark for safety from the coming judgment. It is interesting to note that Noah did not have to go and round up the animals but instead God brought them to him.
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month - on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
At the appointed time, this judgment was brought upon the earth. We notice that the chosen were in the ark and safe which is a picture of the fact that Christians will be taken out of this earth before it is judged again. The people had never seen rain before but it was now falling just the same.
On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
We see again that all were aboard the ark and it happened just as God had commanded. Then, we see that it was God who shut the door and sealed them in. It is a reminder that only God has the power to protect us and only the Father knows when all of His children are safe. In much the same way, the Father is going to tell Jesus to come back and get all of us who are His.
For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.
The number forty throughout the Bible is related to the completion of the earthly trials and temptations. Here, we see that it took this long for the waters to rise up and cover everything on the earth. Meanwhile, these rising waters lifted the ark containing God's people above the judgment. In the same way, God's Word (water) lifts us up today above this fallen world. Though we are still in it just as the ark and its passengers were, we are not submerged in the ways of the world.
Every living thing that moved on the earth perished - birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
The same thing is repeated three times in this passage and that should make us take notice. Everything on the earth outside the ark was wiped out and that is a picture of the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. All can be saved through Him but nobody can be saved outside of Him.
The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
It took that long for the waters to completely cover the earth and then for them to go down far enough for the ark to rest on a mountaintop.