Never Forgotten! – Genesis 8

Never Forgotten!
Genesis 8
Genesis 8 is the chapter of Gods Word to which we now direct our eyes, ears and hearts.
As we prepare to that, let me ask you, “Have you ever felt forgotten?
Maybe it was on your birthday, an anniversary, or holiday. Or it could have been a time of difficulty when you hoped someone would remember you… yet they did not.
Perhaps it was during a season of sickness, or sadness or deep discouragement when you when you felt all alone… and no one was there for you.
And most difficult of all, when you feel overwhelmed with what you face, and nothing seems to change, it can seem as if… God has forgotten.
In other words, you sense He is just letting you go through the struggle on your own.
Days, weeks, and months go by waiting on God, and it’s as if you’re all alone. Well there’s a world of assurance from God’s Word to you. For He wants to teach you this great lesson: whatever your circumstance, even when you feel forgotten, He remembers and cares for you.
Let’s recall, where we have come with Noah.
God could no longer bear the wicked world of his day.
He saw that corruption, violence, and immorality filled the earth.
His heart was so pained by it all that He regretted that He had ever made man.
So God resolved to wipe man off the face of the earth with a flood. Just like ancient writers would take water and wash words off a scroll- removing them and starting all over, that’s what God would do to the corrupt earth.
Yet God chose for one man, Noah, with his family, to be spared.
For unlike the wicked of his day, Noah’s life was marked by doing right before God.
Let’s ever forget those 4 wonderful words that characterized him (as they should us): Gen. 6:9- “Noah walked with God.”
That man had a fantastic friendship with God. And it was seen in his life of faith and obedience.
Yet it wasn’t owing to Noah’s goodness but God’s grace- that’s why he and his family were exempted him from the deadly deluge.
God told Noah to build an immense ark, and Noah obeys.
That wonderful verse, Hebrews 11:7 commends him for that, saying, “By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen (including rain!), in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
That was a huge act of faith since the scoffing bystanders must have thought, “Noah, what on earth are you building? Have you lost your mind?”
Then with God’s help, Noah welcomes aboard 2 of every animal to rescue (including 7 of each clean animal for sacrifice).
Finally, God closes the ark’s large door.
Exactly 7 days later, underground fountains erupted into the air while torrents of water from above begin to gush down on the earth.
Try as they might to run to the highest hills, the flood soon covered the highest mountains and the entire globe.
Moses reports (Gen. 7:21): “And all flesh that moved on the earth perished.”
Every animal and every person literally dead in their tracks.
Some would like to think that as people fled to the mountains, many repented.
That idea might soften the blow, but there’s no evidence for it. Rather, knowing the rebellious heart of man, these godless individuals who refused to listen to Noah’s preaching would have cursed God to their dying breath.
Now Noah has been on that ark many days and weeks which have turned into months.
Thousands and thousands of animals on board, it’s rather dark (especially on the lower 2 levels, and the incessant sound of the water lapping
against the ark may have filled Noah’s mind with questions.
When will this end? How long till we set foot on dry land again? God, where are you in all of this waiting?
So, follow now as we find out in Genesis 8 how God’s children are never forgotten.
“But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided. 2 Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained; 3 and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased. 4 In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. 5 The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible. 6 Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; 7 and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; 9 but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself. 10 So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark. 11 The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth. 12 Then he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again. 13 Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up. 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 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 animals and every creeping thing that creeps on
the earth, that they may breed abundantly on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” 18 So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. 19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by their families from the ark. 20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. 22 “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
To God be glory for giving us these words to grow our faith in Him!
Here’s the guiding theme of chapter 8 to which everything is tethered.
God faithfully remembers His own and deserves our total trust and devotion.
We see that in 4 specific aspects of this divine drama:
1. Noah’s salvation 1-5
2. Noah’s surveillance 6-14
3. Noah’s summons 15-19
4. Noah’s sacrifice 20-22
First off, we see: 1. Noah’s salvation 1-5
The opening verse of our chapter begins with one of the most beautiful word combinations in the Bible: “But God.”
James Montgomery Boice wrote, “If you understand those two words—’but God’—they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.” He’s absolutely right.
Because, before that statement, “But God” there are the worst atrocities: sin, rebellion, and judgment. With that goes darkness, despair, and death.
Yet what follows that phrase “But God” is hope, light, forgiveness, and life.
It’s God reaching down with His hand of intervention and changing something very bad to very good.
There are 42 places in the Bible where we see these 2 wonderful words “but God” together.
I’ll give you a sampling of these “But God” phrases as they are packed with encouragement for you. We will start in the N.T. and working back to Noah.
In 2 Corinthians 7:6, the apostle Paul facing discouragement over the delay of his fellow-worker Titus writes,
“But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”
Then in describing the life-threatening sickness of Epaphroditus explains, “For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.” Phil. 2:27
And in the second chapter of Ephesians. (2:1-5). “And when you were dead in your trespasses and sins….” Which included being controlled by Satan, living in lust and being children of wrath! It couldn’t have been worse.
Then come the liberating news that changed it all: “But God.”
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.”
Then that celebrated passage love in Romans 5:6–8 “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
O those two words, “But God” give us the perfect expression for highlighting God’s grace in contrast to sin.
It’s the relentless, gracious intervention of God into our crisis.
Yes, God does not wait for us to bring ourselves to Him. He acts and brings Himself to us!
In fact, without the truth of the “But God” statements in the Bible, we would be lost in sin and under His wrath.
In the O.T. we also find those fabulous “but God” exclamations.
Watch how it’s God coming to our rescue in time of need.
Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Joseph says to his brothers who had wanted him dead, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20
In other words, all because of God, he brought good from what would otherwise be a disaster!
Now, the very first time in the Bible when we read “but God” is right here in Genesis 8:1- “But God remembered Noah.”
Now this is not God while destroying the world with the Flood thinking to Himself, “O My. Noah and his family are still out there on that ark. I better do something!”
Not at all. God, unlike us, is not forgetful. He’s not absent minded. In fact, God does not forget anything except what He chooses to forget- our sin.
God cheers his people through the prophet Isaiah (43:25) saying, “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
So that statement, “But God remembered Noah” means this: He showed faithful love with timely intervention.
It’s God moving toward the object of His affection to give help and assurance.
Now here’s what extra wonderful. God not only remembered Noah with the 7 others in his family.
Would you note that God also remembered “all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark!”
There’s a touch of tenderness here. God concerns Himself with His animal creatures.
Psalm 147:9 “He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens which cry.”
And God asked Jonah who is upset at the repentance of the Ninevites (4:11): “Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”
It reminds us of Jesus’ words: “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” Mat. 6:26
God care extends to both man and animals.
And ours should too. He tells us in Proverbs 12:10, “A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.”
No, God hasn’t called us to give our lives to save the whales or spotted owls. But we as Christians are called to show care for animals as He did those aboard the ark.
How then does God show His mindfulness and concern for those in that great wooden barge?
He caused a great wind to blow over the earth.
That’s what happened and that’s what I told an atheist last week who asked me, “So where did all the water go after the Flood?”
I told him what verse 1 tells us, God did it with a great wind.
A German scholar, Otto Procksch, who attacked the inspiration of Scripture maintained, “that the wind should have made the whole earth dry in about five months is a very childlike conception” (Leupold, 309).
Well, that’s what God says, and that’s what God did.
Same way He divided the Red Sea so the Israelites crossed through as if on dry land- He used a great wind.
We know the water including the 40 days of non-stop rain prevailed on the earth 5 months.
So you have a kazillion gallons of water covering the earth.
Look at what God stops in verse 2. We are told that “the foundations of the deep and the floodgates in the sky, and the rain was restrained.”
God stopped the terrestrial and celestial chambers from pouring water on the earth.
Then He blew a powerful wind over water and what happened? The waters, we are told, subsided.
First, that was because of evaporation.
Lot’s of wind over water changes H20 from a liquid form to a gas. It’s absorbed into the atmosphere.
That’s why when our church basement flooded several years ago, we set up large fans to blow air. It caused the water to evaporate quickly.
But there’s something else that mighty wind of Noah’s day did.
It forced the waters to rush rapidly to areas of lower elevation.
That’s the best explanation for how the Grand Canyon formed. Powerful winds forced waters down river beds carving a massive gorge that’s in places over 1 mile deep and 18 miles across!
Also, from the flooded world, much of the water would have reabsorbed into the underground aquafers and filled the ocean depths.
By the way, very interesting, if the earth’s surface was completely flat, there would be enough water in the oceans to cover the globe to a depth of 1.7 miles!
The reason water doesn’t envelop the globe is that the earth’s surface is uneven.
Quite clearly, most of the water of Noah’s Flood is in today’s oceans and lakes that cover nearly 70% of the earth!
So it is, Noah’s salvation came not only in getting on the ark but God causing the waters to go down so he could get off the ark!
Notice there in the third verse: “and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased.”
Then after months of waiting, the rocking back and forth of that ark in the water stopped.
We know exactly what happened and when. Look at verse 4: “In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.”
We can be certain, God didn’t leave that great ark perched on the peak of Mt. Ararat.
And it wasn’t tilted precariously on over a great precipice. God wouldn’t risk the salvation of those on board with the possibility of it being overturned. No, He wouldn’t allow the possibility of heavy elephants, hippos and dinosaurs exiting to upset the whole ark so it rolled over and over killing all inside.
It’s important to note that we are told “the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” That indicates a mountain range named Ararat rather than the mountain peak.
Even in our day, there is a Mt. Ararat in Eastern Turkey near the border of Armenia and Iran. It consists of a large area including two dormant volcanoes.
The Persian call it call it Koh-i-nuh, “Noah’s Mountain.” Amazingly, they have a legend that refers to Ararat as the cradle of the human race.
You no doubt have heard of expeditions that have set out to discover the ark on Ararat. In 1876, James Bryce, explorer and Professor of Civil Law at Oxford, climbed above the tree line on Ararat and found a slab of hand-hewn timber, four feet long and five inches thick, which he identified as being from the Ark.
More recently, in 2010 a Hong Kong based group, Noah Ark Ministry International, after a lengthy expedition, claimed they are “99.9 percent” sure that a wooden structure found on the mountainside was part of a ship that housed the biblical Noah. Yet that “discovery” has been proved to be a hoax.
Here’s what you must keep in mind. There’s nothing wrong with attempting to discover the ark or what remains of it. But the truth of the Flood story and Noah doesn’t depend on finding the ark. The Scripture is sufficient in and of itself!
As God caused the great wind to blow, the waters continued to go down. It’s emphasized for us so we can picture the waters abating.
Look at it. V. 1- “the water subsided.”
V. 3- “the water receded” and at the end, “the water decreased.”
And one more depth gauge in verse 5: “The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month (that’s almost 2 ½ months since the ark touched down), the tops of the mountains became visible.”
Visible to whom? To God, certainly. To Noah, not likely.
Because, the window of the ark is still closed.
Here’s the point. The assurance of Noah’s salvation from the flood wasn’t in his feelings.
It was anchored in fact. The fact of God’s word to him. You need to remember what God told Noah in Genesis 6:18–19, because Noah certainly did: “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 “And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.”
There it is. God’s promise was enough to buoy up Noah’s soul during those days on the ark.
And friends, the ark itself, what God told Noah to build and board, that’s how Noah expressed his faith in God’s salvation.
Friends, so too with your salvation. It’s based upon God’s promise and your placing your trust in Christ.
A man once came to D. L. Moody and said he was worried because he didn’t feel he was saved.
Moody asked, “Was Noah safe in the ark?” “Certainly he was,” the man replied. “Well, what made him safe, his feeling or the ark?”
The man got the point. It is not our feelings that save us. It’s not even our faith that saves us. It’s the object of faith, Jesus Christ who by His grace saves His own.
If you have entrusted your soul to Christ as Your Lord and Savior, you can be certain God will
always keep His promise and spare you from eternal judgment.
That’s the precious promise Christ makes to His followers in John 5:24 –“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
From Noah’s salvation, let now look at
2. Noah’s surveillance 6-14
It’s wonderful to see Noah’s resourcefulness at this point.
We are told in the 6th verse, “Then it came about that at the end of 40 days (that makes 9 months since they he got on the ark, cf. 7:7,10,11) that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.”
Why did Noah put a window in the ark?
To look out? Not really.
He made the window, because God told him to. And remember (6:16), it was a cubit from the top of the 3rd deck, a large opening likely for ventilation and to let in light.
As we read together earlier, Noah sends out birds. The first, a raven. Then the dove.
One scholar I read took this to mean the raven symbolized Satan and the dove the Holy Spirit.
Friends, that’s called allegorizing Scripture. And nothing in this text warrants such a fanciful interpretation.
Here’s what some call the Golden Rule of Interpretation: If the plain sense makes good sense seek no other sense lest it result in nonsense.
Well, what’s Noah trying to do with these birds? Verse 8 tells us, he wanted to see if the water has abated from the face of the land.
Is the world already inhabitable or not?
The black raven, larger than a crow (up to 2’ long), is a strong flyer and scavenger.
It loves carrion or as we see it often, road kill. By no surprise, it fits in the category of unclean animals (Lev. 11:15).
Once Noah released it, that raven would have been happy to feed on decaying matter and floating carcasses.
It apparently returned to the ark as verse 7 literally says it “went out, going and returning until the water was dried up from the earth.”
Perhaps it decided to perch on the top of the ark where Noah could hear it cawing as it flew back and forth.
Then he sent out a dove. It was most certainly grey not white as pure-white doves don’t exist in the natural world (unless they are albinos).
What happens on that dove’s first flight?
Verse 9 tells us it couldn’t find any “resting place for the sole of her foot; for the water was on the surface of the earth.”
You see, the dove is a clean animal and won’t land on things that are unclean. So the dove flies back in the widow to Noah.
He waits 7 days and sends her out again. This time, that little winged messenger returns with a surprise for Noah: an olive leaf which the text specifies as freshly picked. That’s a token of reassurance.
It wasn’t from the remains of an olive tree from that had been destroyed. It was from a new little olive plant that God has caused to grow after the Flood!
It’s at this point “Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth” (v. 11).
He waits another week and sends out the dove which never returns to the ark.
By the way, Noah may have been noting these things by date in his journal. Reminders of God’s faithfulness he could pass on to his grandchildren!
Now you need to take a look at verse 13. Because it marks an important milestone. We are given a very specific date: “Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth.”
You say what’s the big deal? Well, that day is Noah’s 601st birthday. Because this dating all ties back to Noah’s life (as we see in 7:11).
So, what does Noah do on his birthday?
We read (v. 13) that he “removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.”
Just imagine the excitement in Noah and his family.
It won’t be long till we will be exiting the ark! They were right. Because on the 27th day of the following month, we are told in verse 14, the earth was dry. Not just the surface, but solid and safe to walk upon. Perfect time for
3. Noah’s summons 15-19
God speaks to Noah, apparently audibly, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife and yours sons and your son’s wives with you.”
So it’s like a whole new start in the world, called to repopulate a cleansed earth. So many parallels with the creation account.
Noah, who walks with God, he obeys. He, his family, and those animals file down that gang plank to dry ground.
There’s order- note, verse 19, they went out “by their families from the ark.”
There was no Mrs. Kangaroo being separated from Mr. Kangaroo among the thousands of animals and bouncing all around in panic!
And by the way, how did those animals like kangaroos and koalas only found in Australia ever get there?
The best explanation is that they crossed what were then land bridges which previously connected the continents.
That would be as a result of a great Ice Age which some conservative researchers believe peaked about 500 years after the Flood.
We also need to remember that Noah now has experience as a capable shipbuilder. He lived for nearly 350 years after the Flood and with his descendants could have built ships to navigate the oceans and transport people and animals to different lands.
Noah’s salvation, surveillance, and summons now bring us to his sacrifice.
4. Noah’s sacrifice 20-22
Verse 20 describes the scene: “Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.”
Here we see the first altar in Scripture.
The word altar (mizbe-ach) means “place of slaughter.”
Noah took one of every clean animal including every clean bird- it was a massive offering to God, imagine there a bull, a sheep, a goat, a turtledove and hundreds of other animals.
It was an offering of thanks, praise and dedication to God that cost Noah. It cost him time, effort, and giving up what would have been food for himself and family. Spurgeon put it well: “Common sense would have said, ‘Spare them, for you will want every one of them.’ But grace said, ‘Slay them, for they belong to God. Give Jehovah his due.’”
Here’s what you need to realize. Noah’s first concern when exiting the ark is Godward. He wants to worship God!
Planting a vineyard could wait. Building a house could wait. Exploring the new world could wait.
But he longed to worship God and express his gratitude for his salvation. For he knew they only reason he and his family and those animals weren’t all drowned was God’s grace.
He has a deeply grateful heart- and he shows that in his sacrificial gift to the Lord.
Friends, do you have such a heart- truly grateful for His mercy in your life?
You, gratitude of the heart will show in our joyful, eager sacrifice to the Lord. No, we don’t offer animal offerings to the Lord.
But Hebrews 13:15 tells us “Through Him (Christ) then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. “
And God calls us, based on His mercies, “to present [our] bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is [our] spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1
There another way God calls us to show a sacrifice of worship to Him- that’s in our weekly giving to Him. In fact, we call that an offering because it’s what we offer to Him in thanks for all He has done for us in Christ.
Here at Hope, we don’t badger people to give. We remind you, God’s doesn’t need anything from you. But the joy of a grateful heart to God is to give eagerly, consistently and sacrificially.
And it’s all with a heart of deep thanks to God.
That’s the encouragement Paul gives in II Corinthians 9:12 “For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.”
Be assured, God notices and blesses all bountiful giving from a grateful heart. Would you notice His response to Noah’s offering?
Verse 21: “The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.”
Amazing. God here speaks to Himself. And He’s saying, “I am so pleased by your offering Noah, that I will never flood the world again.”
Yes, God knows full well that man’s heart will still be filled with sin after the Flood.
Yet He does what Habakkuk many years prays for: “In wrath remember mercy” (Hab. 3:2).
Beloved, God pledges to show mercy in such a tangible way. To spare the world a future flood.
Yes, and there’ more. Look at God’s pledge in verse 22: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
God reestablished the earth in an orderly manner following the destruction of the Flood.
The regular growing season and predictable temperatures would provide fertility and food for people. It’s because of God orchestrating the seasons that we know it’s time to put away our lawnmowers and get out our snow shovels.
God maintains the perfect orbit of the earth and all the planets which ensures the arrival of every season.
There is no room for mother nature in God’s world. For the perfect balance in the seasons owes its existence to our faithful God!
O praise God, we are never forgotten!
Thomas Obadiah Chisholm was born in a log cabin in Franklin, Kentucky, in 1866. He received his education in a little country schoolhouse, and at age 16 began teaching at the same school. He became a Christian at age 27 and was later ordained ministry at age 36.
He served as a minister for a year, but poor health made it impossible for him to continue.
Though he had a meager income, he was assured God had never forgotten him.
Chisholm wrote hundreds of poems during his lifetime. Looking back at his life and inspired by Lamentations 3 and the last verse of Genesis 8 to write the hymn, “Great is Thy faithfulness .” Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee, Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not, As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be. Summer and winter and springtime and harvest, Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above; Join with all nature in manifold witness, To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love. Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Yes, God faithfully remembers His own and deserves our total trust and devotion.
Let’s praise the Lord in prayer.