Friday, August 17, 2018

Genesis 8 – The Flood Recedes

This article is part of a series of articles that resulted from my time preaching through the book of Genesis. The commentary on the passage is my own, resulting from hours of research and exegetical study. It is my intent to draw a biblical theology chapter by chapter through the book of Genesis that places the events of the narratives into the broad picture of the entire Bible, demonstrating the progressiveness of theology and the sufficiency of every Word of Scripture. It is my prayer that these articles are helpful to those seeking a better understanding of the book of Genesis and of the Bible as a whole. The sermon series and other resources can be found at

Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, plunging the whole world into the curse of sin and death. As the population had expanded over 1,500 years, the utter depravity of mankind had become inescapable. Every thought and intent of the hearts of all the people were continuously evil. The earth was filled with violence. And God had had enough. His Spirit could not strive anymore with man. So God sent the Flood to wipe out every living thing. However, God’s grace was seen in the salvation of Noah and his family. These eight people (along with every kind of animal) were saved from the judgment of God aboard the ark which God had commissioned Noah to build. Though Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5), no one believed him or entered the ark with him and his family. When the waters came, all life was wiped out, except the passengers of the ark, who floated well above the mountain tops for one hundred and fifty days.

1 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.

In His care of Noah, his family, and all the animals upon the ark, God stopped the Flood and began the process of diminishing the waters.

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.

snow covered rocky mountain under clear sky at daytime
Photo Credit: Julian Zett
After seven months afloat, the ark finally settled on a mountain in the mountain range of Ararat. Two and a half months later, the weary travelers again saw land, however, they knew it would still take time for the water to finish receding.

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.

Sixty-four days after the tops of the mountains became visible, the water had abated enough from the land that the dove returned with a leaf from an olive tree. Even though the ground was not yet dry enough for the passengers of the ark to disembark, there were seeds that had survived the Flood and were beginning to grow.

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.

Noah removed the covering of the ark just shy of one year after the start of the Flood, but he did not disembark until God told him to do so.

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.”

After a year and ten days on the ark, Noah was commanded to take his family and the animals back out into the world. God recommissioned all of them to be fruitful and multiply upon the earth, just as He had commanded at Creation.

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.

Noah’s first act after disembarking from the ark was worship. He took some of each of the clean animals and birds that he had taken with him and sacrificed to God.

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.

The Flood had no effect on the depravity in the heart of mankind. Even though everyone born subsequent to this would be related to the righteous Noah, they would have a heart set on evil from their youth. Yet God promised that He would never again destroy every living thing in the way that He had done in the Flood.

He said:

22 “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
And cold and heat,
And summer and winter,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”

All of the cycles of life continue as long as the earth remains.


While the cycles of life are perpetual, it is true that we often get lulled into thinking that everything will continue just as it does forever. Just like Noah, we must proclaim the looming judgment. It is a certain reality that draws nearer every day. No one knows the time or day, but just like the time when Noah entered the ark and the people were continuing their daily lives, so also will it be at the time of wrath and judgment on the whole world. The only salvation is in Jesus Christ. He died in the place of sinners so that all those who believe in Him would not perish but have eternal life. Those who place their trust in Him will be rescued from the wrath to come and will reside in the Kingdom of the Messiah where He will rule over the world for a thousand years. Then they will reside forever in the new heavens and the new earth where there will no longer be any curse. Depravity will finally be destroyed, and there will only be holiness and righteousness.

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