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Genesis 8:1-19 (Then God Remembered Noah)

Mar 11, 2012   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Genesis, Genesis Sermons (written), Torah  //  No Comments

Genesis 8:1-19
Then God Remembered Noah

Did you know that Noah was the most successful investor who ever lived? He floated stock while everything around him went into liquidation.

I remember when the TwinTowers were attacked on 911. When I saw all the people in the buildings and heard how many may have been stuck inside when they came down, I remember thinking about the people who were crushed, “How is God going to sort this all out.” Kind of a stupid thought, but the immensity of what we saw that day was hard to grasp.

When the Indonesian earthquake happened and the tsunami went from Indonesia to India and destroyed so many islands and people, it was the same thought, “How can God sort all this out.” Hundreds of thousands of people just ceased to exist.

And then there is us… living in our own anxieties, troubles, and trials. “Where is God in all of this?” It’s a question people ask all the time. “Don’t you remember me Lord?”

Introduction: The number 8 in the Bible is the number of “new beginnings.” We’re starting the 8th chapter of the book and there are 8 people on the ark total, inclusive of Noah. They may have been scared or troubled by the events going on around them, but four of the most comforting words of the Bible start off our talk today – “Then God remembered Noah.” These words form the key to understanding many things, both in the Bible itself and in our own lives.

There’s a type of pattern which is found throughout the Bible which is hidden in plain site. When you see these patterns laid out on paper, they can help you understand more clearly what God is doing and why.

The pattern makes certain points and then turns around and says the exact same thing in reverse. Because of the shape the pattern makes, they’re called chiasms. The Greek letter chi looks like an x. While we’re talking, I’ll pass around the chiasm on which the Flood of Noah is centered and you’ll see that the pivot is right in these four words – “Then God remembered Noah.” “v’yitskor elohim eth Noakh”

It explains why so many things seem to be repeated for no apparent reason in the flood account. Hopefully, Sergio can figure out how to include the chiasm on the video too so that others can see it.

Its details like these that don’t just show us the wisdom and intricacy of the Bible, but also the mind of God as He reveals Himself to the people of the world. I hope you enjoy this pattern, but I’m not the one who found it.

There a many, many more of them in the Bible and I have a large list of them on my own website. It’s a great feeling to find something hidden in plain sight and to think that you’re the first person in 3500 years to see what God tucked away for us to find. If anyone watching wants to see more of these chiasms, just email me and I’ll send you the link to them.

Text Verse: But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,
And did not stir up all His wrath;
For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again. Ps 78:38, 39

May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Did God Ever Forget?

Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark.

The beautiful words, “Then God remembered Noah” are set here for our benefit, not God’s. God never forgets the work of His hands, but Noah may have thought He did as the ark floated on the surface of an endless ocean.

But safe and secure within the ark was a man and his family and the pairs of animals which would again cover the face of the earth. It’s amazing to look around at the number and variety of animals on the earth now and imagine that a little more than 4000 years ago, every living thing on earth fit inside a single ship on the sea.

God remembered every one of them then, and as difficult as that may be for us to comprehend, He knows every one of them now. Jesus told us this when He walked among us –

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31

God knows and remembers every sparrow. And He knows the numbers of the hair on your head. Don’t worry if He’s forgotten you, He hasn’t. He certainly has His eye on you. As you walk through your trials and struggles, He is right there with you.

While they floated on the ocean, I wonder what Noah thought. “Where would all the water go? If there was no land left, then how could the water ever go down?” It does seem like an impossible dilemma.

Think of it this way – if you have a cup that’s half filled with sand, and then you pour in water, the sand can never come up to the top. If the waters of the flood covered the entire world, then where would all that water go?

Part of the answer is given in the second half of verse 1 –

And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

A wind passed over the earth. Wind is an immensely effective way of licking up the moisture. You’ve probably heard of the Chinook winds of the Pacific Northwest. The term “Chinook” means “eater” and a strong Chinook can eat away snow an entire foot deep in a single day.

The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. At the same time these winds have been observed to raise the temperature, often from below 0 to about 70° and then the temperatures plummet to their base levels.

The greatest recorded temperature change in a single 24 hour period happened on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana. It went from -54 to 48° in a single day – over 100° in difference.

In the same way, the Khamsin winds of the Middle East blow so hot and so dry that you can walk outside completely wet – clothes and all – and be dried in mere seconds.

The evaporation of water from a water surface, such as during the flood, depends on the temperature in the water, the temperature in the air, the actual humidity of the air, and the velocity of the air above the surface.

If the winds were on a global scale and the earth’s poles were no longer under the protective layer of the pre-flood world, the water being picked up by the winds would gather at the poles and freeze.

In addition, the land which was probably much more even before the flood now has huge variations in elevation. We don’t only have mountain ranges above the sea level, but we have even larger ones below it.

The caverns of the great deep which were filled with water before the flood probably collapsed once they were empty and now form the sea floor. The 104th Psalm then fills in the blanks –

You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
8 They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.
9 You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth.

And to this day, the boundary holds true. With the exception of tsunamis and other rare occurrences, the water stays put. And even after a tsunami, the water returns to where it belongs.

2 The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. 3 And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.

The wind and the draining of the water began to stabilize and subside and after 5 months, the waters began to decrease. We have here a logical progression of four things – the winds blowing, the fountains of the deep finishing their release of water, the end of the waters falling from the pre-flood canopy, and the rains stopping.

If you stand back and look at the account, it is exactly as you would expect it to be after a global cataclysm like this. There is no reason at all why we shouldn’t take this account seriously.

After all the rain and the 150 days where the waters prevailed, you’d think that the ordeal was mostly over, but you’d be wrong –

 4 Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. 5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month.

The seventeenth day of the seventh month is the 150th day that’s already been mentioned twice – once in the last verse of chapter 7 and then in verse 3 of this chapter. It might seem strange that this 150th day is mentioned twice and then it mentions the ark resting on the mountains of Ararat, which is the exact same day.

In other words, unless you do the calculation, you would never know that this was the 150th day and you’d assume that this was a later date. But it isn’t. It’s the exact same day and so the account isn’t really following a completely chronological path.

This makes sense for several reasons though. First, the chiasm which I mentioned earlier is hidden in these verses to show the wisdom of God in the account. And secondly, if the ark was as big as it was, then it would have a pretty deep draft.

In chapter 7 it said that the waters covered the earth to a depth of 15 cubits. Think about it… if the waters reached their highest point on the 150th day and only then started to recede, and the ark stuck on Ararat on the 150th day, then the chiasm isn’t just on the pages of the Bible in ink. It was also literally lived out by Noah.

The exact depth of the ark was the exact height of the water over the mountain God intended Noah to land on. Other mountains could have been pushed higher during the flood, but this particular mountain is the one where God wanted Noah to rest.

God didn’t just remember Noah, He preplanned before the creation of the world for the exact amount of water to be in the canopy above and the great deep below. He had to plan the exact spot that Noah would build the ark. He had to plan the exact waves that would lap the side of the ark as it floated month after month.

He had to know exactly what winds would push its beams to take it to the exact spot where it would get stuck on a particular mountaintop at a specific moment in world history. The execution of the plan had to be accomplished to the very finest detail.

And there’s no reason to believe this wasn’t the case. The entire account shows a minute perfection of detail that is beautiful to contemplate.

But there is one more point about this particular day which is even more beautiful than anything you may have ever considered about the Flood of Noah and how it points to Jesus Christ and His amazing work.

You see, this day – the 17th day of the seventh month is the same day that Jesus Christ came out of the grave almost 2400 years later. This might be a little hard to follow, but the Bible uses two calendars, the creation calendar and the redemption calendar. Until the time of the Exodus, the calendar started in the fall, but at the Exodus, the first month was changed to the spring.

The 17th day of the seventh month in the creation calendar is the 17th day of the first month of the redemption calendar. The Passover occurs on the 14th day of the first month and the resurrection happened, according to the Bible, on the Sunday after the Passover – the 17th day of the first month.

And just as astonishing is the meaning that the Bible scholar James Strong assigns to the name of Ararat. Ararat means “the curse is reversed.” On the same day that the ark struck the ground and held fast, the waters began to subside. The curse of the waters was now being reversed at the exact same moment that Noah was brought to the safety of the land called Ararat – “the curse is reversed.”

Noah and his ark then is a picture of the true reversal of the curse which began at the fall of man in Chapter 3 of Genesis. Only 5 chapters after the fall, Noah is given as a sign of what was to come.

Paul tells us that we were redeemed from the curse at the cross. The resurrection proves it to us and thus the curse is reversed.

Verse 5 continues…

In the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

This is the 223rd day from the beginning of the flood and 73 days after the ark set fast on the mountains of Ararat. It’s been almost 7 ½ months and the waters are slowly finding their new homes around the world.

They would be gathered in the Polar Regions; in the mountaintop glaciers; in the seas, lakes, ponds, lagoons, and rivers of the earth, and also in the great caverns of the seas. Noah and his family have more time to wait and play chess before they can leave the ark.

II. Patience in a World of Hurry

6 So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.

Every commentary that I read said that this forty day period was from the last comment which talked about the first day of the tenth month when the mountains were seen, but I have to disagree. The reason is that if the mountains were seen, then Noah must have already opened the window.

So this must be 40 days after getting lodged on the mountain top. In other words, this would be day 190 – 43 days before the previous verse. Although it may not make immediate sense to us that the account is flipping back and forth and not in chronological order, if you stand back and look at the overall picture and the purpose of the chiasm in the Bible, then it all becomes much clearer and much easier to understand.

So why would Noah wait 40 days from the ark getting stuck on Ararat before opening the window? Remember, the Ark draws a draft of about 15 cubits. What would be the point of opening the window when everything was 15 cubits below water? The noise of the splashing on the sides of the ark would be all Noah needed to know. There would be absolutely no need to open the window.

7 Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth. 8 He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground. 9 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 this confirms what I said a moment ago. The 40 days was from the time of the ark getting lodged on the mountain and not from the next comment about the mountain tops being visible.

The raven kept going to and fro until the waters dried up, implying that they still covered the mountain tops. So, I’m sure you’re asking, “Why would Noah send out a dove at the same time ‘to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground?’”

Why wouldn’t the raven tell him this? It’s because the raven is a scavenger bird and would have been perfectly content to land on any surface, even the dead body of an animal or a person. Plus, it would be perfectly happy to snack on something like this too.

The dove wouldn’t do this. Instead, it would return to the safety of the ark and to a clean, dry source of food. The raven is a symbol then of the unclean world, like a person who lives apart from the grace of God, living only on the world of death. The dove returns to Noah, just as a gentle and repentant heart returns to Christ.

Such a person can truly say just as the Psalmist did –

Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
6 The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before the Lord
In the land of the living.

10 And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark. 11 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. 12 So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.

Noah knew that things were drying out finally. But unlike many other plants, the olive tree can strike leaves even under water. And God specifically chose an olive for the dove. Throughout the Bible, the olive, and the oil it produces gives us beautiful symbolism of the work of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

What this verse is showing us is a picture of the resurrection of Christ. Just as the olive can grow out from under water, so Christ came out of the grave as a victor over death. And even to this day we celebrate this in the rite of baptism.

Tied up in the olive is also the symbolism of peace when God granted His favor upon the new world. This is seen in this fresh new life – the olive leaf. When we receive Jesus Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are like that olive. Again, let’s go to the psalms –

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
9 I will praise You forever,
Because You have done it;
And in the presence of Your saints
I will wait on Your name, for it is good.

And in the dove we have the symbol of the Holy Spirit descending upon us when we call on the name Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the Messenger of God telling us that all is well with our soul.

The symbolism of the dove and the olive is first truly realized at Jesus’ own baptism in Matthew 3, where all three members of the Godhead are present –

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”

Because of Jesus, we now have the hope of the same beautiful words of commendation from the eternal God – “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”

III. O Brave New World

“They had mocked him through his misery and remorse, mocked him with how hideous a note of cynical derision! Fiendishly laughing, they had insisted on the low squalor, the nauseous ugliness of the nightmare. Now, suddenly, they trumpeted a call to arms. “O brave new world!” Miranda was proclaiming the possibility of loveliness, the possibility of transforming even the nightmare into something fine and noble. ‘O brave new world!’ It was a challenge, a command.” A Brave New World

13 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.

The 601st year here means the 601st year of Noah’s life. This was the first day of the first month of that year, which is the month of Tishri.

It was the exact same day 1657 years earlier that Adam was created and it was the same day that about 2400 years later, the Savior of the world would be born in a little town called Bethlehem.

Noah opened the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry. “O brave new world, I’ve come forth to meet thee.”

14 And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

This was 57 days after Noah opened the covering of the ark and it was the 370th day after Noah and his family entered the ark. One biblical year is 360 days, so they had spent 1 year and 10 days waiting and watching as the world was destroyed by water, the waters rose, the waters receded, and the waters fled to their new home revealing a completely different world. It was 370 days waiting to hear the wonderful words from God…

15 Then God spoke to Noah, saying, 16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 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.”

Just imagine the excitement that the family must have felt as they got word it was time to leave the ark. We don’t know how God spoke to Noah – whether in a dream, or whether directly, or whether in some other way, but he was given divine guidance that he and his family could leave the ark – just as he received divine guidance to enter it.

And just as they filled the ark with animals, they’re told now to empty it out. The three categories which serve as a statement of all animal life are given – “birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps.”

As we noted when the ark was filled, the term “every creeping thing that creeps” doesn’t indicate that politicians were carried on the ark. Yes, these were reptiles.

And as these animals departed, God also gave them a divine command – that they should be fruitful and multiply on the earth. This is the exact same command that was given back in Genesis 1. God created all of the animals at the beginning and the same spark of life that was put into them carried through to the time of Noah and it carries though even until today.

If you stop and think about what life is and where it came from, it should amaze each and every one of us at how stupid the concepts of spontaneous generation and evolution are. There is a spark of life in us and that spark transmits from us to the next generation. There is no new spark occurring, nor is there any evidence that any has occurred since creation.

But every moment is a new moment and it has an equally possible chance of producing spontaneous generation. If this were even remotely possible, then every moment new life should occur. In essence, every moment of time is a new nail in the coffin of the concept of spontaneous generation.

Were it not for the Ark of Noah, then there would be no life on earth apart from the oceans. And any animal which wasn’t on the ark is extinct because its life spark died with the flood.

And finally, if the world is billions of years old like evolutionists claim, then the problem is only exacerbated. From the trillions of moments which have happened since the first life of spontaneous generation supposedly occurred, their only explanation for development is evolution, not more generation. Both are stupid and corrupt systems which have absolutely no basis in reality at all.

18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

Probably in a state of awe and wonder, the family obeys the divine command and leaves the ark, taking off the animals as they went. The earth was certainly completely different than it was when they entered.

The canopy was gone and the skies would have been different. The landscape would have been totally reformed from what they had known. The climate would have been different. Everything was new; everything would have been an adventure.

In the same way, Peter tells us in the New Testament that it will happen again, just as it did to Noah. Let’s take a few minutes and read 2 Peter Chapter 3 in its entirety and see the parallels to the flood of Noah – both before and after the flood –

Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

Then God Remembered Noah

God remembered Noah out there on the sea
And all the animals that were with him on the ark
Noah’s faith held steadfast during these trials you see
Through the waves, the winds, the hours, and the dark

After 150 days God made a wind to pass over the earth
And the waters subsided as these winds blew
The fountains of the deep were shut up in their berth
And the windows of the heavens were also stopped too

God restrained the rains from coming any more
And the waters receded continually to their new place
Things would be different than they were before
And the world would have a brand new face

The ark rested on the mountains of Ararat
And the waters continually decreased
It was the seventeenth of the seventh month, that…
The 150th day their sailing ceased

On this day, the curse was reversed as the waters decreased
And on this same day the Lord rose from His grave
The world rejoiced at the man they thought deceased
But our curse was reversed when Christ rose, Hallelujah! Mighty to save

And the waters kept going down, this took a while
On the first day of the 10th month the mountaintops were seen
That probably made our good old friend Noah smile
Even though nothing yet was really of the color of green

After 40 days Noah opened the window of the Ark
And he sent out a raven which flew to and fro
The sun could come in and dispel the deepest dark
And that same sun would help new things to grow

Noah also sent out from the ark a dove
To check and see when the waters had left the ground
But the dove returned to Noah’s hand of love
Because there was not a dry place to be found

Seven more days, it was in the evening of the day
Behold the dove brought in a fresh picked olive leaf
Noah knew the waters had finally gone away
He must have gave a great sigh of relief

Seven more days and again went out the dove
But this time it didn’t return to his waiting hand of love

On the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year
The waters were dried up from the land’s face
So Noah removed the covering of the Ark and turned his ear
And all the waters were gone from that lonely place

On the 27th of the second month everything was dry
So God spoke to Noah, it’s time to leave the ark
Take your wife and the others out under the sky
No more do you have to live inside where it’s dark

Bring out the every living thing
Bring out the birds and let them sing

Bring out the cattle, every kind of life inside
Yes even the creeping things, it’s the end of their boat ride

Let every living thing abound in the earth
Let them multiply until they’re everywhere
Let them conceive, and bear, and then give birth
Together with them, the world you will share.

Hallelujah and Amen…

Next week Genesis 8:20 – 9:7 – A New Dispensation, Government

The Flood of Noah

A Noah (6:10a)
B   Shem, Ham and Japheth (6:10b)
C     Ark to be built (6:14-16)
D      Flood announced (6:17)
E        Covenant with Noah (6:18-20)
F          Food in the Ark (6:21)
G           Command to enter the Ark (7:1-3)
H             7 days waiting for flood (7:4-5)
I                7 days waiting for flood (7:7-10)
J                  Entry to ark (7:11-15)
K                   Yahweh shuts Noah in (7:16)
L                     40 days flood (7:17a)
M                     Waters increase (7:17b-18)
N                        Mountains covered (7:18-20)
O                          150 days waters prevail (7:21-24)
P                            God Remembers Noah (8:1)
O’                         150 days waters abate (8:3)
N’                       Mountain tops become visible (8:4-5)
M’                     Waters abate (8:6)
L’                     40 days (end of) (8:6a)
K’                   Noah opens window of ark(8:6b)
J’                   Raven and dove leave ark (8:7-9)
I’                  7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:10-11)
H’               7 days waiting for waters to subside (8:12-13)
G’             Command to leave the ark (8:15-17)
F’            Food outside the ark(9:1-4)
E’          Covenant with all flesh(9:8-10)
D’        No flood in future(9:11-17)
C’      Ark (9:18a)
B’    Shem, Ham, Japheth (9:18b)
A’  Noah (9:19)

From the book, Before Abraham Was, by Isaac M. Kikawada and Arthur Quinn.

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