The Significance of Genesis: God’s Remembrance and Rescue of Noah (Genesis 8:1-14)
Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Sunday, May 15, 2022
The Pittsburgh Steelers were founded as a football team in 1933. For their first 40 or so years, they were horrible. Then in 1974, they won their first Super Bowl. They had to wait a long time to be a good team.
What is it like to wait on something? How many of you really appreciate waiting? Do you ever want something and want it now?
As I was preparing this message one of my daughters wanted to learn how to sew. Meagan began to teach her but then thought that she needed someone more experienced to teach her. Our daughter was very disappointed. She wanted to learn how to sew on that very day. We told her we will make sure she is taught to sew but now is not the time. She had to wait.
We are going to look at a passage in which Noah has been waiting for a long time. No, he has not been waiting for years, but he has been on the ark for at least 150 days. In total he will be on the ark for close to a year.
My theme is: God remembers and rescues Noah and his family.
- Noah’s security (8:1–5): “But God remembered Noah.” Verse 1 read: But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.
- But God remembered Noah.
- A few other sources help us with this: ESV Study Bible: God remembered Noah. This marks the turning point in the flood story. When the Bible says that God “remembers” someone or his covenant with someone, it indicates that he is about to take action for that person’s welfare (cf. 9:15; 19:29; 30:22; Ex. 2:24; 32:13; Ps. 25:6–7; 74:2). All life on the land having been destroyed, God now proceeds to renew everything, echoing what he did in Genesis 1. God made a wind blow over the earth. The Hebrew word for wind, ruakh, is also sometimes translated “Spirit” (e.g., 1:2; 6:3). While the context normally enables the reader to distinguish ruakh meaning “wind” from ruakh meaning “Spirit,” the present verse intentionally echoes 1:2.
- CSB: Remembered does not suggest that God had ever forgotten about Noah; when used of God, “remember” suggests the initiation of a miraculous, saving act of God. Other instances of God “remembering” as the first step in providing divine help for his people include his intervention in the lives of Lot (19:29), Rachel (30:22), and the Israelites in Egypt (Ex 2:24). Using language that reflects God’s initial act of creating the universe (Gn 1:2), God caused (Hb) ruach—“Spirit” or wind—to pass over the waters of the earth. Immediately the water began to subside.
- In v. 2 God puts into reverse the process started in 7:11. The waters both rose and abated during the period of 150 days. Mountains of Ararat indicates a range of mountains of which Mount Ararat (in modern Turkey) is the highest. The text does not name the specific mountain on which the ark came to rest.
- Remember the end of Genesis 7. In the end every living thing that breathes oxygen had died. Only Noah and his family on the ark were left.
- Verse 1 says that God remembered Noah and
- All the beasts and all the livestock that were with Him in the ark.
- God was faithful to them.
- There are other passages about God remembering:
- Gen 19:29 (Abraham); Ex 2:24 (the Israelites and His covenants); 1 Sam 1:19 (Hannah); Ps 105:42 (His promises)
- Then, verse 1 further says: God made a wind blow over the earth and the waters subsided.
Verses 2-4: 2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3 and the waters receded from the earth continually. At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
- The waters stopped coming. Remember the water had come out from underground as well as the sky (Gen 7:11).
- The rain has now stopped. In Gen 7:24 it said the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.
- The waters receded from the earth continually.
- At the end of 150 days the waters had “abated,” or other translations read “decreased.”
- The seventh day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat, notice it does say “mountains.” That is plural. It is one of the mountains in that range.
- Verse 5 shares that the waters continue to “abate” or “decrease.” Then, the tops of the mountains are seen. Remember the waters had covered the mountains (Gen 7:20).
- Noah’s search (8:6–12)
- Noah is now going to search for life.
Verses 6-7: At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7 and sent forth a raven. It went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.
- 40 days later.
- Notice the process.
- Noah opens the window.
- Rabbis have suggested that Noah first sent out a raven, a ritually unclean bird, because it was expendable. The fact that it went back and forth from the ark means that it could find no suitable habitat.
- The unsuccessful attempt by the raven (8:6–7): It cannot find dry ground.
- It went to and fro, in other words, it was coming and going.
- The successful attempt by the dove (8:8–12): After one earlier attempt, the dove finds dry ground, returning with a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak.
Verses 8-12: 8 Then he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground. 9 But the dove found no place to set her foot, and she returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her and brought her into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. 11 And the dove came back to him in the evening, and behold, in her mouth was a freshly plucked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. 12 Then he waited another seven days and sent forth the dove, and she did not return to him anymore.
- Noah sends a dove to see if the waters were abated, that would mean the waters had receded.
- Verse 9 gives a description. The water was over the whole earth, Noah takes out his hand and takes the dove back in.
- Verse 10: He waited another seven days and again sends out the dove.
- Verse 11: the dove came back to him with a freshly plucked olive leaf.
- Noah knows that the waters had abated, that is receded.
- This also shows that the waters did not only recede, but there was also life, plant life.
- Then, verse 12: 7 days later he sends out the dove and she does not return.
- Noah’s surveillance (8:13–14): Noah removes the ark’s covering and surveys the new world after the Flood!
- Think about how neat this would be.
Verse 13: 13 In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry.
- We see the time marker. This is the 601st year of Noah’s life, the first month, the first day of the month. Gen 7:6 says that Noah was 600 years old when they entered the ark and the flood waters came. Gen 7:11 says that Noah was 600 years old and in the second month, on the seventh day of the month the flood began.
- The waters are now dried from the earth.
- Noah removes the covering.
- He sees the dry ground.
- ESV Study Bible: The emerging of a new world prefigures the creation of the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1–4; see 2 Pet. 3:5–7).
Verse 14: In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.
So, now, the earth is dry. This is now 1 month later.
- This passage is all about God’s care for Noah. We must patiently wait, and trust God as Noah did.
- We can trust God, God continues to be faithful to His covenant with Noah.
- Noah obeyed, Noah waited, God was faithful.
- He also gave us marching orders to do as we wait:
- We must share the gospel (Matthew 28:18-19).
- We must not be anxious but pray (Phil 4:6-7).
- We must rejoice (Phil 4:4).
- We must be different (Gal 5:22-23).
- We must love Him and others (Matthew 22:37-39).
- We must trust God’s promises, His promises are in His Word.
- He promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).
- He promised to come again (2 Peter 3:8-10).
- We must trust Romans 8:28: all things work together for good for those who loved God, for those who are called according to His purpose.
What is like to wait? The Steelers had 40 very horrible football seasons and then they had some good seasons. But then what happened? Their quarterback, Terry Bradshaw retired. Many of the other players retired and they struggled again. It took them another 21 years to get another hall of fame quarterback. They had some years of waiting. Now, they may be waiting again.
In this Scripture passage, Noah was patient and God was faithful. There would be more waiting in the Old Testament. Abraham had to wait on God, the Israelites in Egypt had to wait on God, and everyone had to wait until God sent the Messiah (Gal. 4:4-5). Now, we are waiting until Jesus comes back (2 Peter 3:8-9). We can be sure that God is faithful. In His time He will come again. Trust Him.