Genesis 8 (NRSV)
The Flood Subsides
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark.
To remember is not just a mental activity. Remembering also involves action. God’s remembrance of Noah brings God’s grace, mercy, and action on Noah’s behalf.
–Linda B. Hinton
And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, 3and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated;
4and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
Twenty-three summers ago I was traveling in eastern Turkey and was in the presence of Mount Ararat. The huge ancient volcano towers over a broad plain which is near the borders of Iraq and Armenia. Villages there were very poor — small concrete block boxes for houses, with tall pyramids of dried dung outside each door, fuel for the winter. But the mountain! It is immense and stunningly beautiful! Although the region is frequently witness to Kurdish-Turkish unrest, the stately magnificence of the mountain seemed to me to quiet all discord. The verse that came to my mind was “Be still, and know that I AM God.”
This is what Marco Polo wrote in his journal about Mount Ararat in the early 1300’s: “In the heart of Greater Armenia is a very high mountain, shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah’s ark is said to have rested, whence it is called the Mountain of Noah’s Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises.”
5The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.
“Over mountains steep, or on the stormy sea . . .” My husband’s father, Tom Mitchell, sang this hymn to the congregation at his last church service the evening before before he shipped out to England and then on to Germany in WWII, leaving behind a wife and two daughters. Fortunately he returned safe and sound and lived to see his son and all his grandchildren born! So HERE is a fun experience for you — listen to Ernie Haase & Signature Sound sing “My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me.”
6At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made 7and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.
8Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; 9but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. 10He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; 11and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.
Olive trees do not grow at high elevations, so the olive leaf picked by the dove shows that the waters have drained away from the low-lying areas as well as from the mountains.
–Linda B. Hinton
12Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
13In the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. 14In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
15Then God said to Noah, 16“Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals 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.” 18So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.
HERE is a striking space shuttle photo of Mount Ararat and Little Ararat with Landsat Photo overlay.
Thy Holy Wings
Thy holy wings, O Savior,
spread gently over me
and let me rest securely
through good and ill in thee.
Oh, be my strength and portion,
my rock and hiding place,
and let my ev’ry moment
be lived within thy grace.
Oh, wash me in the waters
of Noah’s cleansing flood.
Give me a willing spirit,
a heart both clean and good.
Oh, take into thy keeping
thy children great and small,
and while we sweetly slumber,
enfold us one and all.
Written by Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903;
translated by Gracia Grindal, b. 1943
God’s Promise to Noah
20Then 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.
As soon as Noah leaves the ark, he offers a sacrifice to God to thank God and praise God.
21And when the Lord smelled the pleasing odor,
. . . which proves that God loves a good barbecue!
the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done. 22As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
2 Peter 3:3-9 (New Living Translation)
I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.
But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.