We made it to the bright side, Genesis 8. This chapter is descriptive, symbolic, and poetic – kind of like all those fiction novels we used to analyze in english class. What’s even better about this chapter, though, is it actually happened. Meaning every detail, number, creature, had a purpose for the future of the world.
Remembrance (v.1). God had not forgotten Noah. Instead, this term signifies God’s personal care of Noah, His mercy. This verb is used again and again throughout the Bible in the same sense, even in the New Testament when Jesus speaks with the repentant thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43).
Wind (v.1). God sends a wind over the Earth. Psalm 104:4 “He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.” This beautiful illustration shows how the elements came to be what they are today. As most likely a hot wind, it evaporated water into the atmosphere while the remainder stayed on the Earth. Love that water cycle.
Mount Ararat (v.4). According to Wikipedia, it is “a snow-capped and dormant compound volcano in the eastern extremity of Turkey” with an elevation of 16,854ft. Of course the Mount Ararat today may not be the exact one spoken about in this chapter, since Ararat used to be a country, but it helps paint a nice picture:
Although the cold, steep mountain might not have been the ideal place for Noah and fam to unload, God probably had a higher purpose, of course. An ark would be better preserved for thousands of years up there. He’s always many steps ahead!
Gradual Deliverance. Everything is done gradually and peacefully -“receded steadily” (v.3), “rested” (v.4), “decreased continuously” (v.5). In fact, the waters receded in almost double the time they came. Noah and his family maintained faith and patience throughout this period, as the Earth was not yet ready for their settlement.
“God usually works deliverance for his people gradually, that the day of small things may not be despised, nor the day of great things despaired of.” – Matthew Henry
Birds (v.6-12). Noah sent out two types: a raven and a dove. He wanted to see whether or not the waters had gone down. Ravens can survive on many food types and will settle whenever that is found. Dove’s naturally return back home, have specific food types, and only settle on dry and clean places. I guess Noah’s pretty smart with animals.
Numbers. Noah waited 40 days before sending the raven, most likely assuming it would take as long as the flood (at least) for the waters to recede. The 7 days consistently taken mirrors the week established at creation and reiterated by God before the flood, and also Noah’s recognition of the Sabbath, even when on the ark.
“Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” – Genesis 7:4
Sacrifice (v.20-22). Noah’s first action on Earth is thanking God for keeping His covenant to Noah’s family. When do we thank God? Do we take enough time to do it each day? Noah took time before settlement to make the first altar mentioned in history. Previously, God’s visible presence was still on earth in the garden. This had been swept away by the flood, and now people had to make sacrifices on high altars to reach God on His throne in Heaven. As a result, God makes a covenant with the human race to never do such a thing again until the end of the world, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood (v.21).