Daily Distinctives, February 22, 2018 – Land Ho!

So, yesterday’s surgery was good from what I gather. The anesthetics were injected just before they rolled me out the door. I did not get past the door before I was out like a light. Next thing I know I woke up in the recovery room. I felt a little groggy but was coherent enough to answer questions. Though my surgery was in my sinus area, that is not what hurts today. For some reason, my ribs are killing me. I feel like I was in a fight. Hurts to cough, or get in and out of a car or chair even. But, I think I will survive. It will be me and a netti-pot for the next few days and then I should be right as rain. But enough my updates. Speaking of right as rain, we come to chapter 8 of Genesis today, and you guessed it. Still raining. Noah and his family are on board the SS. Salvation with the surviving animals and they have nowhere to go but where God is sending them. And so coming to verse 1 we read:

[Gen 8:1 NKJV] Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that [were] with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

Now, we know, of course, that God did not forget about Noah, He can’t forget because He is omniscient, that is, all-knowing. What we have here is a fancy word called an anthropomorphism. This is essentially giving human attributes to a diety. Truth is we don’t have the words in our human languages to aptly describe God and His ways, but we do the best we can, guided by the Holy Spirit to put things about God in terms that we can understand. For example, we know that God is a spirit, but we say, “He has the whole world in His hands,” or, “the eyes of the LORD search to and fro,” etc… So God did not forget Noah, He had great plans for Noah, but the author here is trying to convey that God fixed His attention once again Noah and all the animals that He shut up in the ark.

And so God in His perfect timing redies Noah and the new first family for a landing, but first He has to get rid of all the water from this great deluge. To do this, He makes a wind to pass over the earth, and the Scriptures tell us that the waters subsided. Now, I find this interesting because in the Bible we see the wind often times related to the Holy Spirit. I am not saying that the Holy Spirit moved across the face of the waters to dry it up and that it was not a literal wind, but I do know that the Holy Spirit was involved in preparing the earth for its new inhabitants.

[Gen 8:2 NKJV] The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were also stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.

In this verse, we see that God stops the flow from the fountains of the deep the windows of heaven were stopped, which is probably why we have an upper atmosphere, and the rain was restrained from falling.

[Gen 8:3 NKJV] And the waters receded continually from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters decreased.

So with the rain and water stopped, the flooding began to recede, and we see here that after 150 days the waters decreased. Now, this doesn’t mean that they were completely receded, but they were significantly decreased to the point that at least the mountain tops could be reached and what we see next is proof of this.

[Gen 8:4 NKJV] Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.

Now, based on the blueprint of the ark, we know that bottom of the ark lodges itself in the top of the mountains of Mt. Ararat. In a previous devotional I discussed the importance of this. It would seem strange that God would put them on top of a mountain. I mean think about it. When they finally got out, they would have to climb down a mountain to get anywhere. But as some commentaries suggest, God did this on purpose so that he might shut the mouths of the wise when they discover a giant ark on top of a mountain someday, proving there actually was a global flood!

[Gen 8:5 NKJV] And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month. In the tenth [month], on the first [day] of the month, the tops of the mountains were seen.

So, almost a year into this journey and the waters finally recede enough for the tops of the mountains to be seen. I picture what looks like a bunch of islands scattered about a great ocean. Like the tips of an iceberg. Β I am reminded of another ship that had a run-in with an iceberg, you may recall the SS Titanic. This ship was a luxury liner that boasted the extravagance of mankind. The ark, on the other hand, was nowhere near as opulent but boasted the saving glory of God. The Titanic sunk to the bottom of the sea, the ark rested at the top of a mountain!

[Gen 8:6 NKJV] So it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made.

It must have been a relief for Noah to open the window and get a breath of fresh air and survey the situation for the first time without rain falling on his head. I can imagine that the waters of the flood were turbulent and Noah would not have given a thought to venturing out in the extreme weather. Not that he would have had anywhere to go if he did.

[Gen 8:7 NKJV] Then he sent out a raven, which kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up from the earth.

So it would appear that the raven could not find any place to land and so it kept going to and fro until the waters had dried up. I imagine it would stop and feast on the buffet of floating bodies that it happened upon, but with no real place to land it would be forced to return to the ark.

[Gen 8:8 NKJV] He also sent out from himself a dove, to see if the waters had receded from the face of the ground.

So he tries another kind of bird. But the same thing here. The dove goes out and can’t find a place to land and returns to the ark.

[Gen 8:9 NKJV] But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, and she returned into the ark to him, for the waters [were] on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took her, and drew her into the ark to himself.
[Gen 8:10 NKJV] And he waited yet another seven days, and again he sent the dove out from the ark.

Now, when it comes to reading the Bible there is obviously only one true interpretation and many applications. What I personally gained from this is knowing that it is a good thing test. When you are in unfamiliar territory you can try something, if it doesn’t work try something else. Eventually, you will “land” on something that works.

[Gen 8:11 NKJV] Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf [was] in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.

The fact that the dove found an olive leaf meant that there was land at the altitude in which olive trees grew. Noah took that as a sign that the waters were at normal levels again, and that their journey on the earth would soon begin. Still, he had to know for sure and so he sends the dove out on another test flight.

[Gen 8:12 NKJV] So he waited yet another seven days and sent out the dove, which did not return again to him anymore.

Noah waits another week and sends the dove out again. This time the dove did not return. And so Noah ventures outside to survey the land.

[Gen 8:13 NKJV] And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first [month], the first [day] of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry.

The waters now dried up from the earth, Noah drops the top. Apparently, there was a covering over the top the ark and Noah removes what I guess must have been something like a tarp of sorts and he steps out of the ark and looks around and sees that the earth was now dry.

[Gen 8:14 NKJV] And in the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dried.

So, with the earth now dry and inhabitable once again, Noah waits on the LORD and the LORD speaks to Noah again.

[Gen 8:15 NKJV] Then God spoke to Noah, saying,
[Gen 8:16 NKJV] “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.
[Gen 8:17 NKJV] “Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that [is] with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”

And so God commands Noah to go out of the ark with his family and all the animals. He then commands the new first family to be fruitful and multiply on the earth. This begins the second expansion of mankind on the earth. Since the days of Adam and his descendants, the earth had begun to populate, after the flood there were only 8 humans alive. Reminds me of a show from when I was kid called “Eight Is Enough,” apparently it was because the world as we know it today was repopulated by Noah and his family.

[Gen 8:18 NKJV] So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him.
[Gen 8:19 NKJV] Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, [and] whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.

Not much to say about these verses other than to say that there was a mass exodus. Imagine how it must have felt to get out and stretch your legs after being on stormy seas for so long. But the other thing that we see here is what you might expect, Noah was obedient. But I love what he does next.

[Gen 8:20 NKJV] 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.

Now we have to keep in mind that there weren’t a whole lot of animals that Noah could have chosen. The world’s supply of animals was literally on the brink of extinction and so to offer one of every clean animal and every clean bird was indeed a great sacrifice. I know this pleased the LORD who would in the future offer up the greatest Sacrifice, Jesus, His only begotten Son.

[Gen 8:21 NKJV] And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.

What we have here is an altar, and the animals are burnt before the LORD and the LORD smells this and it is a soothing aroma to the LORD. Again, what we have here is anthropomorphism. The sacrifice was sweet to the LORD, and some jokingly say that this is proof that God likes barbecue. But I think that what was sweeter to the LORD was not so much the sacrifice but the heart of the one who offered up the sacrifice. This pleases the LORD.

But notice here too that the LORD says in His heart (anthropomorphism) that He will never again curse the ground for man’s sake. For man’s sake? Yes, it was for man’s sake that the ground was cursed, to begin with. God would no longer add to this judgment. He was finished. But God notes that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth, that is, we are all sinners from the day we are born, God would never again destroy every living thing in the same manner. We see in other eschatological studies (end times prophesy) that the next time the earth will be destroyed it will be burned up with a fervent heat.

[Gen 8:22 NKJV] “While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease.”

With the atmosphere now drastically changed the canopy of the firmament gone, the greenhouse conditions on the earth would forever be changed. Some suggest it was at this point that the atmosphere that once provided an environment conducive to longer lifespans was gone and that moving forward after the flood, mankind would no longer enjoy the long lifespans lasting upwards to 900 years and more. But what I see here is that now the firmament is gone, the greenhouse that once protected and shrouded the earth allowed for the sun to shine clearly in the sky and we have now had the first seasons, another first in the book of firsts.

Prayer: LORD, I thank You for this day, and pray that You would allow me to rest now that I have completed all of the most important things for today. I pray for comfort and healing in my body and rest over the next few days to recuperate. But enough about me. LORD, You are great and mighty. Your ways are perfect. You have given us Your WORD and we have all we need to live lives that are pleasing to You. Help us to continue to learn from Your WORD the lessons that we need to tie our current times to important truths. LORD, I was just told today that Your servant Billy Graham is now at home with You. I am thankful to You for his life and how he was used by You to bring millions to the cross of Your Son. I pray that You would do the same with me if it is Your will. I am happy where I am, but I know that You would have more, so take all of me LORD and do with me as You will. LORD, I lift up our church family today; our local church first and then the church as a whole. I thank You for our pastor and the work that he is doing. I ask that You would bless his family as they seek answers to questions that burn in their hearts. Continue to use him and his family as they seek to serve You diligently. I pray for the suffering of Your saints around the world. I know that they are pleasing You with their sacrifices. LORD, Your people all sacrifice to You out of gladness and praise for all that You have done. Some sacrifice more than others, but just as the widow and her mites were pleasing to You, and just like Noah’s sacrifice was pleasing to You, and just like Billy Grahams sacrifice was pleasing to You, and just like my pastors sacrifices are pleasing to You, it is my hopes that my sacrifices are just as pleasing to You. It is in Your name that I pray. –Amen

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