Genesis: The Beginning
The Flood 1-11-16
READ: Genesis 7-8
Yesterday, our Genesis reading brought to our attention a world of wickedness—humans originally made in God’s image had allowed that perfect image of Love to be trashed. As we read further today, we notice God brings clarity to His initial instruction to Noah in order to get ready for the rain that will wash away the filth or false image (symbolic of baptism).
For 120 years, while building the ark, Noah tries to call humanity back to God. Noah is a 600 year old righteous man who seeks to know His Creator and live the best he can in His image. Yahweh requires Noah to gather seven pairs of “clean” animals (for sacrifice, eating & repopulating the earth), 1 pair of wild animals (for re-populating the earth), as well as food for everyone and everything on the Ark (which is now complete). The LORD God will give seven more days for humanity to repent, while Noah, his family, and the pairs of animals get settled on the ark.
The LORD God closes the door and the flood begins. For 40 days and 40 nights water emerges from underground and from above the sky. As it rains, the ark is lifted and floats safely on the water’s surface, but everything else to which God gave breath outside the ark perishes. (NOTE: In January 2016, we read news reports about the devastation to creation and loss of life [28 deaths] that came from the Mississippi and other waterways overflowing their banks and weakening levees due to 12 inches of rain, right? That same onslaught of wild weather caused 100,000 people to be evacuated from Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina due to flooding. Imagine what would happen if it rained for 40 days and 40 nights without stop and took 110 days for the water to recede).
The LORD God does not enact judgment and then forget about Noah or the earth. Scripture tells us “God remembered Noah” which translates “God was concerned” or “God remembered His commitment.” In the original creation lesson from Genesis, the wind of the Spirit hovered over the water, but in this lesson the wind of the Spirit causes the cleansing water to subside and make room for life. The ark is said to have settled in the mountains of Ararat, but it is more clearly translated in 13th century Assyrian sources as the country of Urartu (Turkey, Armenia, & Iran).
As the water recedes, Noah sends out a raven to see if it is safe to emerge from the ark; the raven does not return but ravens are scavengers and are associated with death. Next, Noah sends out a dove that returns with an olive leaf; Noah knows God will instruct them to leave the ark soon and begin life, anew. The LORD God said, “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.” And Noah did exactly what God instructed.
The first thing Noah did after leaving the ark was to worship the LORD God—the connector of humanity to Yahweh; it pleased the LORD. Notice how this posture of worship—which is living to honor the LORD—pleases God and is consider an act of righteousness that brings blessing to the earth. God promised, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night” (8:21b-22).
Pause and consider this lesson as you seek the blessing of the LORD for your day…