Reading For Thursday Genesis 8:1-9:17
The world is in ruins. Judgment arrived and with it, death came also. The family on these new seas is left to wonder, "How long will this take?" The sky stayed dark for so long. Death had taken away so much. The situation must have left a sense of hopelessness and despair, but, God remembers. One might say, "God has to remember, or he is not God." That, of course, is an accurate statement. This word "remember" is not used to indicate that God is capable of forgetting but rather that he turned his attention back to Noah and the ark.
The flood has accomplished its purpose, and now God begins to restore his creation. God's dominion over creation is on display as he closes the fountains of the deep, shuts the windows of heaven, restrains the rain, and directs the wind to dry up the floodwaters. The Ark came to rest. Noah did not have all the details pertaining to the flood. It is not difficult to imagine the Noah and his family were ready to exit the ark, but he did not know how long it would take for the flood to subside. Noah showed some ingenuity as he dispatched some birds to help him understand the current conditions. The dove and the oil were symbolic for Israel indicating the empowering work of the Spirit.
Imagine the relief of seeing the dry ground for the first time in a long time. Over a year was spent inside the ark. No doubt they were grateful to have been spared the flood, but no doubt their patience must have been tested on this vessel with the animals and only a handful of relationships. Noah waited until God commanded them to exit. Once again as God restores the earth the command is given to be fruitful and multiply. This mandate echoes the blessing of God's initial creation. The repeat of the exit of Noah and his menagerie may seem redundant, but it is indicative of Noah's obedience. In contrast to God's resolve to destroy the earth, this also shows God's desire to preserve his second creation.
The first concern for Noah and his family is to worship. Worship is the first and great commandment. Sacrifice and worship were nothing new– see Cain and Abel. But, this is the first time that Scripture mentions an altar. Noah reminds us that the aim of our worship is God, and we should seek to please him above everything. In John's gospel, we are told that God seeks true worshipers. God takes pleasure in the worship offered by Noah and promises not to destroy the earth this way again. But the problem of sin has not abated, and if God responded in the same way, every generation would experience catastrophe. The malady and monster called sin remains as God commits to forgiveness and covenant relationship instead of ongoing destruction. God blesses the earth with regular weather patterns and gives dominion to man over the earth, including the animal world. The significance of blood in the divine economy and the sanctity of human life is emphasized.
God's covenant is with every living thing and accompanied by the promise that he would never destroy the world using a Flood (9:8–11). The rainbow is the covenant sign to remind us of his commitment to that covenant. Sin is still devastating to his creation, but God's plan to pursue and rescue his people was far from complete. God would use more covenants that would lead to the new covenant through Jesus Christ.
Things To Consider:
- Noah was in the ark for more than a year. Imagine all the challenges that must have presented (animals, relationships, enclosed space, etc.).
- Why is it comforting that God does not forget?
- How should we respond when we feel forgotten?
- This covenant is the first divinely originated covenants. Why is it significant that God originated the covenant?
- Name the places you see the evidence of God's grace in the story.