DIG: How did the waters dry up after the Flood? Was any of Noah’s family lost? Were any of the wild animals or the livestock that were with Noah in the Ark lost?
REFLECT: When has God remembered you and intervened on your behalf? When did you get a fresh start with God? What did you do with it? What does the fact that none were lost in the Ark have to do with you?
Chapter 8, verse 1 is the defining moment of the Flood story, the pivot on which the story turns. Up to this point things were getting steadily worse, but from this point on things gradually get better. And the reason they get better is because God remembered Noah. For five long months Noah and his family and all the animals rode out the flood. During that time they saw no dry land at all. They must have had the sinking feeling that God had forgotten them. But just when all seemed lost, God, Elohim, the God of creation, remembered Noah (8:1a)
To remember in the Biblical sense is not to recall to mind or to refresh one’s memory. Rather it means to lavish God’s loving care upon someone and to intervene on his or her behalf.147 This is like when Sampson prayed to the Lord, “O Sovereign Lord, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for gouging out my two eyes (Judges 16:28). In Your love, intervene on my behalf. Or when Hannah wanted to be remembered as she wept, praying: O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, them I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life (First Samuel 1:11). In Your love, intervene on my behalf. Or when the thief on the cross said: Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42). In Your love, intervene on my behalf. It was in this sense that God remembered Noah.
And all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the Ark. Thousands of years later, an angel of the Lord would say to Paul, who was in a ship on the wind-tossed Mediterranean Sea: God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you (Acts 27:24). As the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13), God’s people can protect and influence those around them for good.
Creation started all over again; it was a fresh start. In 1:2b we read that the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. Here He sent a wind over the earth and the waters receded (8:1b) Here we see the use of the creation themes of Chapters 1 and 2 where water recedes, dry land appears and vegetation grows. God uses the wind to evaporate the water, but He could have accomplished that same result by merely speaking: Who says to the watery deep, “Be dry, and I will dry up your streams” (Isaiah 44:27). During a furious storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves and they became completely calm. Unable to recognize who he was, the disciples said: What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him (Matthew 8:23-27)!
The two sources of water for the Flood were then stopped. Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky (8:2). This is the first time that God delivered His people through water; another time was through the Red Sea (Exodus Chapter 14).
Once these two sources were stopped, the water receded steadily from the earth (8:3a). The Hebrew word for receded is shuv, which means returned. The waters returned both downward and upward by means of evaporation (Psalm 104:6-9). The result was that at the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down. Obviously water did not cease to exist, but merely returned to its former position in streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.
And on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the Ark came to rest on the mountains, or mountain range, of Ararat (8:4), in what is today northeastern Turkey on the Russian border. It is significant that the Ark is said to come to rest, as though it had been laboring for five months in accomplishing its work of saving its occupants from sin and judgment.148 The Ark rested on the same day that Jesus rose from the dead. During Noah’s lifetime, the Hebrew month of Nisan was the seventh month. At that time God had ordained an agricultural calendar that started in September-October with the month of Tishri. It was the first month of their calendar year and the month of Nisan, which was in the spring, March-April, was the seventh month. But at the time of the Passover, the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month of Nisan is to be for you the first month of your year” (Exodus 12:2). Thus, from the time of the first Passover, the Jews had two calendars, an agricultural calendar that started in the fall and a religious calendar that started in the spring. The use of two calendars continued up until after the Babylonian exile. Today the Jewish calendar uses only one calendar that begins in the fall with the month of Nisan.
As a result, Nisan, which had been the seventh month in the Jewish calendar in the days of Noah, had become the first month in the days of Christ. The Passover was on Thursday the fourteenth of Nisan (Exodus 12:18), and three days later Christ rose from the dead on Sunday the seventeenth day of Nisan. The Ark rested from its work on the same day that the Lord rested from His work of redemption.
The placement and the timing of the Ark was no accident. Both had a purpose. Why was it put in a place that almost defies access even today with our modern technology? Its highest peak is 16,946 feet above sea level and most of the year it is under ice. You would have thought a lush valley would have been more appropriate! The Ark stood in Noah’s driveway for 120 years as a testimony to an unbelieving world. I think it might emerge again, in God’s own timing, as a testimony to another unbelieving world or another coming judgment.
The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible (8:5). Noah, his family and the animals remained in the Ark for many months before they could leave the Ark. They were not out of danger. In one way Noah’s experience at the top of one of the mountains of Ararat is no less frightening that that of Moses at the top of Mount Sinai. Both find themselves at the top of mountain that is either enveloped in a rainstorm or an electrical storm. For Noah, as the waters went down, his hopes went up.149 Eventually, the earth began to dry out.
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2013