Introduction: Genesis chapter 8 tells of God’s restoration of Noah’s family and his world after God unleashed the Flood. God was faithful to restore humanity after He removed the evil that had overcome it. Christ also seeks to restore you and give you new life when you have faith in Him. From this chapter, God reveals seven lessons on the restoration offered through Christ.
First, the Bible states that God “remembered” Noah. This signified His faithfulness to His covenant. From His promise to remember His covenant with Noah, He reveals that He is always ready to remember His covenant with you and others when you repent and petition Him in prayer. Second, from His restoration of Noah’s world through a mighty wind (a symbol of the Holy Spirit), He reveals that His Spirit has the power to restore you from any calamity when you have faith. Third, the Bible provides the symbolism of a raven and a dove searching for life. The raven is an unclean bird that symbolizes the flesh. It was unable to offer any hope of new life to Noah. By contrast, the dove symbolizes the Spirit, and the olive branch symbolizes the new life of the Spirit. The fact that only the dove could find new life symbolizes the fact that God’s restoration comes only through the Spirit and not through the flesh. Fourth, God restored Noah’s world after a one year and 11-day Flood. In the Bible, the number 11 symbolizes chaos. Yet, the Flood ended on two dates that correspond to new beginnings on His calendar, Passover and Rosh Hashanah. The eight survivors of the ark are also symbolic of new beginnings in the Bible. From this, He reveals that His Spirit can give you a new beginning out of any chaotic situation in your life. Fifth, God blessed Noah and His family with fruitfulness. From this, He reveals that His restoration or new beginning will bless you with the fruits of the Spirit. Sixth, Noah gave thanks for God’s deliverance by making animal sacrifices. Christ fulfilled the need to make animal sacrifices. Yet, Paul reveals that you can make your life a living sacrifice when you are grateful. Finally, God promised as a New Covenant that He would never again destroy all of humanity through water. This foreshadowed the hope of Jesus’ New Covenant. You can take comfort and have hope in His restoration, even when your world feels like it is falling apart.
God’s “remembrance” of His covenant with Noah. After God destroyed Noah’s world, He remained faithful to His covenant with Noah: “1 But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; …” (Gen. 8:1(a)). The Hebrew word “zakar” or “remembered” does not mean that God is forgetful. Instead, the term signifies His faithfulness to His covenant. For example, He used this term to signify His faithfulness to His covenant with Abraham: “ . . . God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.” (Gen. 19:29(b)). He also later used this term to signify His faithfulness when the Jews were not: “So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Ex. 2:24). “For He remembered His holy word With Abraham His servant;” (Ps. 105:42). Do you trust in His faithfulness to deliver you?
Remember His covenant and avail yourself of it through repentance. The term “zakar” also signifies the faithfulness that God expected from His people: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Ex. 20:8). Part of staying faithful is repenting of sin. When the Jews did this, God promised to “remember” His covenant with them: “then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and I will remember also My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:42, 45). Do you repent daily of your sins to avail yourself of His full blessings?
Pray as an intercessor for His “remembrance”. God also invites you to call upon His covenant when praying for others by asking for His “remembrance.” For example, Moses prayed for God’s people by invoking His covenant with the Jews: “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” (Ex. 32:13). His covenant is always available to you or others when you pray for them: “He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations,” (Ps. 105:8). Do you ask God to remember His covenant with His people?
God’s sovereignty over the waters with His mighty wind to deliver Noah’s ark. When it came time for God to end the Flood, He used a mighty wind to subdue the waters: “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.” (Gen. 8:4-5). David later praised God’s sovereignty over the waters and His ability to rescue humanity: “The LORD sat as King at the flood; yes, the LORD sits as King forever.” (Ps. 29:10). Nahum also praised God for His mighty power to dry up the sea: “He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. . . .” (Nah. 1:4(a)). Jesus later showed that He is God by subduing the raging winds and waves in the Sea of Galilee: “He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” (Matt. 8:26; Mk. 4:39; Lk. 4:35). God also has the power over sickness, disasters, addictions, conflict, and demonic attack. If you are in trouble, are you praying for His restoration?
W. A. Foster “The Tops of the Mountains Appear” (1879)1
God’s restoration of His creation. Bible critics believe the language of the Flood suggests that two separate accounts were allegedly pasted together. Yet, every word in the Flood account has a purpose. Bible scholar Kenneth Mathews explains the exact wording of the restoration of Noah’s world mirrors the words that God used with creation. They speak to God’s restoration of His creation. Both accounts use the term “ruah” as the instrument of God’s creation and restoration. In Genesis chapter one, “ruah” is revealed to be the Holy Spirit (Gen. 1:2). Here, He is called the “wind.” He is the same wind that created dry ground at the Red Sea for God’s people to pass and then crushed Pharaoh’s army as they tried to pursue them (Ex. 14:21; 15:10). He was also the mighty wind that came to the believers at Pentecost (Acts 2:2). The name for God is also the same here and in the creation account, “Elohim.” This name refers to Him as the majestic Creator. It is also the plural of the singular word for God or “El.” The name reveals that the triune God worked together in creating and restoring the Earth. This also foreshadows His restoration of the Earth during Jesus’ Millennial Reign:
|First Day||1:2||“Earth,” “Spirit,” (ruah) “waters” “deep,”|
|8:1b-2a||“Earth,” “wind” (ruah), “waters,” “deep”|
|Third Day||1:9||“water,” “appear,” “dry ground,”|
|(Day 4 Omitted)||8:3-5||“water,” “appear,” “tops of the mountains,”|
|Fifth Day:||1:20||“birds,” “above the ground,”|
|8:7-8||“raven,” “from the Earth,”|
|Sixth Day||1:24||“creatures,” “creatures that move along the ground,” “livestock,”|
|8:17||“creature,” “creatures that move along the ground,” “birds”|
|1:22||“Be fruitful and multiply”|
|8:17-19||“multiply … be fruitful and increase”|
God’s reversal of the curse. Mathews also explains that the three primary acts of restoration in this chapter served to reverse the curse in the prior chapter: “The three movements of the Lord’s salvation include: (1) the receding flood water (81b-5), (2) the drying earth (8:6-14), and (3) the disembarkation (8:15-19). Each stage logically leads to the next as we find in the story a methodic inversion of the earlier embarkation, rains, and cresting floodwater, annihilating all that had the “breath of life” (7:22).”3 God’s restoration of His creation in Noah’s day again foreshadows the restoration of His creation during Jesus’ Millennial Reign. Jesus will undo the curse that Adam and Eve brought up the Earth and all creation when they sinned (Gen. 3:17; Ro. 8:20).
The baptism of Noah’s family through the Spirit’s living water. In the original King James Version of the Bible, God reveals that the eight persons in Noah’s family were saved “by water”: “ . . .God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Pet. 3:20 (b)). Unfortunately, many modern translations felt the need to update the text by stating that Noah’s family was saved “through” water (e.g., NIV, NASB). The later translations remove the role of the water as a source of salvation. Instead, the modern translations imply that the water was a peril that they avoided. While it is true that the water was a peril that nearly wiped out humanity, it was also the baptism of Noah and his family. Paul explains that the Jews’ later passage through the sea in the face of Pharaoh’s army was also their baptism into God’s living waters: “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;” (1 Cor. 10:1-2). It was faith that saved Noah and his family and allowed them to be baptized. It was also faith that allowed the Jews to be baptized at the sea (Heb. 11:29). It was also faith that allowed the Jews to be baptized at the River Jordan (Josh. 3:17). It was also Miriam’s faith that allowed Moses to be baptized and saved when she placed his reed basket (his ark) into the Nile river (Ex. 2:3). Without faith, it is impossible to please God or be saved (Heb. 11:6).
To be saved, you must also allow the living waters of the Spirit to baptize you. Like Noah, you also need to be baptized into the living waters of Christ: “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” (Ro. 6:3). “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:27). Just as you were baptized into the living waters of Christ, you are encouraged to teach others to do so as well: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” (Matt. 28:19). Are you telling others to be baptized in faith by Christ’s living water?
The passage through the Sea also symbolizes redemption. God later made clear that the Jews’ passage through the sea to the Promised Land symbolized their redemption: “Was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep; who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over?” (Is. 51:10). The symbolism of redemption is repeated in Moses’ subsequent song of praise: “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; in Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.” (Ex. 15:13). Among other things, the sea or ocean is a symbol for “the wicked people” (Is. 57:20-21). The Sea is also symbolized as a “door” (Job 38:8-11) and a “boundary” (Prov. 8:29 NASB or NIV translations). The Jews understood that the Messiah would bring the people across the sea of distress: “And they will pass through the sea of distress and He will strike the waves in the sea, so that all the depths of the Nile will dry up; and the pride of Assyria will be brought down and the scepter of Egypt will depart.” (Zech. 10:11; Is. 11:15). Thus, Jesus’ control over the sea confirmed He was the Messiah: “They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mark 4:41). At the end of human time, the sea will disappear (Rev. 21:1). This symbolizes the departure of the wicked people. It also symbolizes that the path for believers to pass into the Promised Land of everlasting life is opened. If you are excited about the eternal path that Christ made possible for you through His death, how are you thanking Him? (Ro. 12:1-2).
Life after death: the dove’s discovery of the fresh olive leaf. When Noah searched for signs of life, He sent out two birds, a raven and a dove. While the raven was unable to find signs of life, the dove returned with an olive branch: “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.” (Gen. 8:6-12). There is symbolism in the fact that only the dove and not the raven provided signs of life to Noah.
Only the Holy Spirit can offer you life and set you free from death and sorrow. Ravens (along with the falcons, eagles, and vultures) are “unclean” birds (Lev. 11:13-19; Dt. 14:11-18). By contrast, doves (along with quail, chicken, geese, ducks, and turkeys) are considered “clean” birds (Dt. 14:20). Clean birds do not feed off other birds or animals. They also are not in conflict with other birds. The dove symbolizes both life and peace. For these reasons, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Also for this reason, the Bible uses the symbol of the dove to describe the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus at the time of His baptism (Lk. 3:22). In this account, the dove provided the olive branch to Noah as a sign of life (Gen 8:11). In the Bible, olive oil also symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13; Zech. 4:2-6). Together, the symbols in this account reveal that the things of the flesh will never bring you life. Only the Spirit can bring you life and peace. Jesus warns that you will experience tribulation in the world, which is filled with demons of prey (Jo. 16:33). Yet, Jesus promises through the Holy Spirit the peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7; Ro. 5:1, Gal. 1:3, 5:22). Like the dove at the end of this account, He has set you free from death, bondage, addiction, and sorrow. Jesus proclaimed: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed.” (Lk. 4:18; Is. 61:1; 49:9). Yet, Noah had to wait seven days for the dove to bring back life to Noah. This symbolized the need for believers to be patient to allow God to work according to His time. The seven days also speak prophetically to the restoration of mankind after seven thousand years.
Be born again of the Spirit. Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again to enter into Heaven: “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (Jo. 3:3). After Nicodemus question how this is possible, Jesus repeated: ‘“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.’” (Jo. 3:5). Because of His death, the Spirit is within you: “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez. 36:26; 2 Tim 1:14; Ro. 8:9). Does your life example show that you are born again?
Make no provision for the flesh. Just as the raven (as a symbol of the flesh) could not offer life, you are also commanded to make no provision for the flesh: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Ro. 13:14). “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16). “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal. 5:24). “[K]nowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin;” (Ro. 6:6). Like the clean birds, you are also commanded to be at peace with one another (Ro. 12:18; 1 Thess. 5:13; 2 Cor. 13:11). Are you causing fear and conflict like a raven? Or, are you who brings peace to others like a dove?
Consume the “Word” or Satan, the bird of prey, will try to snatch the truth from you. The scavenger birds all feed off dead carcasses. By contrast, a believer should feed off the living Word of God: “For the word of God is living and active.” (Heb. 4:12). Those who fail to feed off the living Word are likely to be snatched away by Satan. In Jesus’ parable of the sower, Satan was the bird who snatched away the Word from the person who heard it but failed to understand it (Lk. 8:5, 12). If you don’t read the Word, you are also more likely to fail to understand it. Others may also misuse it to deceive you (Eph. 4:14; Mk. 13:5-6). Are you reading the Word to both protect and guide you?
God’s healing of Noah’s world after one year and 11 days. God reveals that Noah’s world was consumed in the Flood for exactly one year and 11 days. God then restored the Earth: “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.” (Gen. 8:13-14). The Flood began on “ . . . the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, . ..” (Gen. 7:11(a)). Thus, its total duration was one year and 11 days. In the Bible, the number 11 symbolizes chaos. The Jews’ journey to the Promised Land suffered a major detour. Their journey from Mount Horeb should have lasted only 11 days: “It is eleven days’ journey from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh-barnea.” (Dt. 1:2-4). Yet, they failed to believe God’s promises and rebelled against His command to enter the Promised Land. As a result, they spent 38 additional years wandering in the wilderness. As another example, when Judas betrayed Jesus only 11 disciples remained. The result was chaos. The remaining 11 disciples abandoned Jesus when He was arrested. In this context, the one year and 11 days symbolize the chaos that ruled Noah’s known world during the Flood. Yet, out of the chaos God brought life. The new life that God brought is symbolized by the dates that marked the Flood’s end:
|Date on God’s calendar||Flood Event||Reference||Corresponding Event on God’s calendar|
|1.) Cheshvan (Nov.) 17||Rain begins||Gen. 7:11||- - -|
|2.) Kislev (Dec.) 26||Rain ceases||Gen. 7:12||Chanukkah (day two)|
|3.) Nisan (April) 17||Ark rests||Gen. 8:4||Passover (day three)|
|Tammuz (July) 1||Mountains visible||Gen. 8:5||Rosh Chodesh|
|4.) Av (Aug.) 10||Noah sends the raven||Gen. 8:6-7||Destruction of Temple|
|5.) Unknown||The dove’s three trips||Gen. 8:8-12||The First, Second and Third Temples|
|6.) Tishrei (Oct.) 1||Dry ground||Gen. 8:13||Rosh HaShanah|
|7.) Cheshvan (Nov.) 27||Noah leaves ark||Gen. 8:14||- - -|
The new beginning for Noah’s family. If the one year 11-day Flood symbolizes chaos, the dates of the ark’s deliverance symbolize new beginnings. The end of the rain during Chanukkah foreshadows the hope of God’s salvation. The resting of the ark during Passover (God’s religious new year) foreshadows being delivered from judgment. The mountains became visible during the beginning of a lunar month, called Rosh Chodesh. This symbolized a new beginning. The dry ground on Rosh HaShanah (God’s civil new year) foreshadows the new beginnings in Christ. Rosh HaShanah was also the day that God created Adam. This symbolized the Earth’s restoration. The eight survivors on the ark also symbolize new beginnings. After a seven-day ordination, a priest’s duties began on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1). A male child is circumcised on the eighth day (Lev. 12:3). After the seven-day festival of Tabernacles, the people got together to celebrate a new beginning on the eighth day (Lev. 23:36). Christ also rose from the grave on a Sunday, the eighth day after the Passion week. With faith, Jesus can restore both you and your world (including your health, family and employment). If your world has fallen into chaos, have you sought refuge in Jesus’ ark where He can restore you?
God also offers you a new beginning. Like Noah, Christ offers you a new beginning. When you accept Him as Lord and Savior, you become a “new creation”: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 4:24). Are you living as a new creation?
The three trips of the dove. The raven’s trip corresponds with the date the Romans destroyed the Second Temple. The flesh (which it symbolizes) brings only sorrow and destruction. The Jewish Talmud even says that Noah banned the raven from remaining on the ark, calling it the “Evil One.”7 Unlike the raven, the Bible does not reveal the dates of the dove’s three trips from the ark. They are purposely omitted. Some believe that the dove’s three trips correspond to God’s three Temples. With the First Temple, God’s presence hovered over Israel. Yet, like the dove, it was not the right time for Him to appear in human form: “This corresponds to the Shechinah returning to heaven from the destruction of the Temple in the days of the Babylonian exile: ‘As long as the Shechinah is in exile it may be said of her, ‘The dove found no rest,’ because no righteous one was found who could give her rest.’ . . .The dove found no rest in exile: ‘She dwells among the nations, but she has found no rest’ (Lamentations 1:3). ‘Among those nations you shall find no rest, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot.’ (Deuteronomy 28:65).”8 At the time of the Second Temple, Jesus came in human form. With His death, He also brought the olive branch (the Holy Spirit). He will come again to rule during the Millennial Reign in His Third Temple. The fact that the dove did not return to the ark during the third trip means that the dove remained on the Earth. Likewise, when Jesus comes and dwells in the Third Temple during the Millennial Reign, He will also remain on the Earth. Yet, just as the dates of the dove’s trips are a mystery, so is the date of His final return on Earth (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32). Are you letting the Spirit (the dove) or the flesh (the raven or Evil One) guide your path?
As a new creation, renew your mind each day. Another part of living as a new creation requires that you renew your mind every day to purge the sins you are exposed to: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Ro. 12:2). Are you renewing your mind daily to let the Spirit guide you?
God’s commandment to Noah’s family to be fruitful and multiply. After saving Noah and his family, God blessed them and told them to be fruitful and multiply across the Earth: “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.” (Gen. 8:15-19). Noah was careful to wait for God’s instruction to leave. When he obeyed, God blessed all who were inside the ark.
Master of the Munich Golden Legend ca. 1400 – 1460 (The Animals Leave the Ark)9
When you wait on God’s timing and obey Him, He will also bless you. God warned that His blessings of growth were conditional upon the Jews’ obedience: “‘May the LORD, the God of your fathers, increase you a thousand-fold more than you are and bless you, just as He has promised you!” (Dt. 1:11). “If you walk in my statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out . . . So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm my covenant with you.” (Lev. 26:3, 9). God also promised to protect the Jews if they obeyed His angel: “Be on your guard before him [God’s angel] and obey his voice; do not be rebellious toward him and obey his voice . . But if you obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” (Ex. 23:21-22). The Bible is also clear that we are saved by our faith alone and not by our works (Eph. 2:8; Rom, 3:28-30; 4:5; 10:4; Gal. 2:16; 3:24). But that doesn’t mean that your works don’t matter to God. A believer who rebels can still have his or her blessings removed. Like Noah, God wants you to be obedient and wait on His timing so that He can bless and multiply your efforts in the Spirit. His blessings can include all of the fruits of the Spirit or any other blessing. Are you waiting on God in faithful obedience so that He can bless you?
God’s restoration can also include fertility or children through adoption. For those who are infertile, God also has the power to restore fertility. Children are one of His many forms of blessings. “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Ps. 127:3-5). He can reward or comfort with the gift of children (Gen. 29:31; 2 Kgs. 4:8-17). With faith, God can also bless you and restore you if you are unable to have children. Yet, His plan might include adopting a child that needs your love.
God’s blessings should be visible by the fruits in your life. Jesus says that you will know a believer by his or her fruits. “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matt. 7:16; Lk. 6:44). Thus, if you are walking with the Spirit, there are nine fruits of the Spirit that should be visible in your life: “But the fruit of the Spirit is  love,  joy,  peace,  patience,  kindness,  goodness,  faithfulness,  gentleness,  self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gen. 5:22-23). Are any of these nine fruits missing in your life?
Noah’s sacrifice of faith and gratitude. Out of gratitude for being saved, Noah sacrificed one of each of the separate kinds of clean animals: “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.” (Gen. 8:20). Giving up one of each of the clean animals required tremendous faith: “Noah was now turned out into a cold and desolate world, where, one would have thought, his first care would have been to build a house for himself; but, behold, he begins with an altar for God: God, that is the first, must be first served; and he begins well that begins with God. . . . Here observe, (1.) He offered only those that were clean; . . . (2.) Though his stock of cattle was so small, and that rescued from ruin at so great an expense of care and pains, yet he did not grudge to give God his dues out of it. He might have said, ‘Have I but seven sheep to begin the world with, and must one of these seven be killed and burnt for sacrifice? Were it not better to defer it till we have greater plenty?’ No, to prove the sincerity of his love and gratitude, he cheerfully gives the seventh to his God.” (Matthew Henry on Genesis 8).10
Noah offers a sacrifice of gratitude11
Offer your life as a spiritual sacrifice in gratitude. Like Noah, you too are called to give thanks out of trusting faith for your deliverance. Yet, the manner in which you give thanks today differs from the way Noah did in his day. Jesus forever fulfilled the need for animal sacrifices (Isa. 53:7; John 1:29; Heb. 10:12-14). Yet, you can still look to the sacrifices of the Old Testament to learn how to make “spiritual sacrifices” to honor Him (1 Pet. 2:5). This includes making your life a “living sacrifice” for Him”: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Ro. 12:1). Out of gratitude for your deliverance, are you living as “a living and holy sacrifice” to Him?
As a new creation, live by faith and do the good works of the Spirit. As “a living and holy sacrifice”, you were also created to do His good works: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.” (Jam. 3:13). Among other things, this means freely giving the best of your time, talent and treasure to Him. If you are not doing anything for Him, does your faith have much of a pulse by Jesus’ standards? “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” (Jam. 2:26). Are you living out your sacrifice by helping others?
God’s promise to never again destroy mankind with water. After cleansing the evil that had overcome mankind, God made a New Covenant with Noah. He blessed the Earth and promised to never again destroy all of mankind through water: “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.’” (Gen. 8:21-22). To show that He is faithful to keep His promises, He repeated His New Covenant a total of three times to Noah: “I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Gen. 9:11). “and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.” (Gen. 9:15). Part of God’s New Covenant with Noah guarantees that the Earth and its seasons will come and go in predictable patterns: ‘“Thus says the LORD, ‘If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established, then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.’” (Jer. 33:25-26; Ps. 74:17). Until the world comes to an end, God will ensure that the restored Earth will go through its predictable seasons.
Jesus’ New Covenant with you. Jeremiah later revealed that God would make a New Covenant, just as He did with Noah: ‘“Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,”’ (Jer. 31:31). The New Covenant that was foreshadowed with Noah and predicted with Jeremiah was Jesus’ New Covenant with His believers. “And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”’ (Lk. 22:20; Mk. 14:24; 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 8:13). Part of this New Covenant includes Jesus’ promise to forgive your sins and to never leave you or forsake you: “For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor will I rebuke you.” (Is. 54:9). “Then you will say on that day, ‘I will give thanks to You, O LORD; for although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.”’ (Is. 12:1). Jesus offers this hope to any who believe (Jo. 3:16). Are you sharing the hope of His New Covenant with those in need of hope? (Matt. 28:16-20).
Kenneth Mathews, “The New American Commentary: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture” Genesis 1-11:26, Vol. 1A, (B&H Publishing Group Nashville Tenn. 1996) p. 383. (Mathews suggests that Day Four is omitted because the Flood did not impact the luminaries or the universe.↩︎
Mathews p. 384.↩︎
First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club, Vol. 2, Shadows of the Messiah (2015) p. 32-34↩︎
Id. at b.Sanhedrin 108b.↩︎
Id. p. 34; citing Zohar Chadash as quoted in Nosson Scherman and Meir Zlotowitz, eds., Bereishis: A New Translation with a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic Sources (2 vol.; Brooklyn, NY: Mesorah Publications, Ltd, 1989); 1a:270; Lamentations Rabbah, prologue 2:11; Genesis Rabbah 33:6.↩︎