Daily Thought for: 10th January

NOAH IN THE ARK

Genesis 7 and 8

The huge structure that Noah had built at God’s command must have looked very strange to those around. However, it was not built for beauty, but for utility, with its three floors, its rooms, window and door. It was perfectly planned to preserve human and animal life through the flood judgment. Noah was completely responsible for building and stocking the ark, but this could only be done properly by his strict adherence to divine instructions, and indeed three times over we are told about Noah’s implicit obedience to the Lord, 6. 22; 7. 5, 9. 

For over a year, life was peaceful for the family, the time passing uneventfully apart from noting the rain eventually stopping, the wind rising and the mountain tops showing. Noah’s knowledge of the world around him was limited to what he could see from the window of the ark, so to obtain more information he used two birds. The raven that he decided to send out first was later classed as an unclean bird, unfit for human consumption and for sacrifice. It never came back, being sustained by the still decayed world it found everywhere. The dove he sent out next, Lev. 5. 7, 11; Matt. 10. 16; Luke 3. 22; John 1. 32, eventually bringing back a sign of new life—an olive leaf, Ex. 30. 24; Lev. 24. 2; Hos. 14. 6; Rom. 11. 17. 

At length Noah dismantled part of the ark, looked out and found that the ground was dry, but even then he did not leave the ark. It was only when God said, ‘Go forth of the ark’, 8. 16, that he went, seeing the new world from Mount Ararat. We can sum up Noah’s life so far in terms of faith, Heb. 11. 7, and obedience, and hence for us today the words of the well-known hymn, ‘Trust and obey’. 

When he came out of the ark Noah built an altar, and offered the clean animals and birds as burnt offerings, and ‘the LORD smelled a sweet savour’, 8. 21. He made a covenant with Noah, and promised no extra curse and consistent seasons. He recommissioned Noah and his sons to replenish the earth, cf. 1. 28, pledging them dominion over the animal kingdom (now available for food), with the rainbow as a token of His continued faithfulness. 

 

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