Summary: Genesis verse-by-verse
Last week when we left the story of Noah and the flood he and his family were adrift in the ark and at the mercy of the waves. The entire earth was covered with water and the sky was falling with torrential rain. But eventually the rain would stop and rest would come to all.
Ah rest. What a wonderful thing. I mean, isn’t rest a nice thing?
- Sleeping in your own bed after a long trip away from home.
- Sitting in your favorite chair after a long day at the office.
- Falling asleep on the couch after a big Sunday lunch.
[Shoveling gravel story.]
In this week’s passage we see the theme of rest as the water recedes from the earth and life can once again flourish on the face of the land.
I. The ark rested
[Read Genesis 8:1-5.]
The ark rested, 8:4, nooakh - settle down, rest
The ark found its resting place in one of the mountains in the mountain range of Ararat. Not necessarily in Mount Ararat itself, but in that range of mountains that’s in the region of where Turkey, Iran and Russia converge around the area of the Caspian and Black Seas. (This is of course why it’s so hard to do thorough archeological searches for the ark since it’s situated in countries that are hostile towards outsiders.) But none the less, maybe one day God will reveal it to the world.
Anyway, the ark found it’s resting place in the mountains of Ararat. It was able to do that because the Lord was causing the waters upon the earth to recede. There were a couple ways in which He accomplished this.
[Read Genesis 8:1a.]
2. Fountains and floodgates stopped
[Read Genesis 8:2.]
The Almighty Lord knew when the earth had had enough and He began the drying out process. This gave way for a place for the ark of His plans, the ark of His grace, to rest. But Noah, his family and the animals weren’t out of the ‘wood’ yet. Get it, out of the ‘wood’…as opposed to out of the ‘woods’…the ark made out of wood… Anyway, the boat stopped moving and Noah wanted to figure out what was going on outside. So he sent out some birds and eventually one of them found some rest. So let’s look at how:
II. The dove rested
After the ark stopped floating around at the mercy of the flood Noah waited 40 days until he decided to open up the window and have a look around. Maybe he was being symbolic waiting 40 days because of the 40 days of rain. Or maybe he just got tired of waiting and wanted to see what was up. Here’s the timetable for ark occupancy so far.
- Noah enters the ark a week before the flood comes
- Flood lasts for 150 days, (including the 40 days of rain)
- 74 days later tops of mountains visible, (going by dates given in the text)
- 40 days later Noah sends out the raven, (271 days in the ark!)
[Read Genesis 8:6-7.]
Now there’s a distinct difference between ravens and doves. Ravens are more of a dirty
bird that isn’t very selective when it comes to finding food and a resting place. That would account for how the raven seemed to come and go as it pleased once it was released.
When Noah realized that the raven wasn’t a reliable way to see if the land was ready for their inhabitance he sent out a dove. A dove was more selective about what it ate and where it placed it’s feet. And we can see this in the progression of it’s three releases from Noah.
1. Dove came back
[Read Genesis 8:8-9.]
No resting place, 8:9, manowach – ‘suitable’ resting place
2. Dove came back with an olive leaf
[Read Genesis 8:10-11.]
Things are looking good! Life had started to rejuvenate upon the lands. So Noah sends the dove out a third time.
3. Dove doesn’t come back, (finds rest for her feet)
[Read Genesis 8:12.]
The dove had found rest. What an encouraging thing that must have been for Noah. He’s been in that ark for months and months wondering when it’ll all end. But when the dove found rest he knew that it wouldn’t be too long before he found rest as well.
III. Noah rested
[Read Genesis 8:13-14.]
After a year in the ark Noah could see the light at the end of the tunnel. All he was waiting for was a green light from the Lord to leave the ark. And wait he did.
You know sometimes we get impatient and jump the gun on the Lord. We have our ideas on what we should be doing, we can see relief on it’s way, we see answers coming, the light’s at the end of the tunnel, all we have to do is wait a little longer on the Lord and everything will be fine. But all too often we don’t want to wait.