God's timing is perfect.
Genesis(85) (Part of the Origins(83) series)
by Stuart Johns(198) on June 6, 2021 (Sunday Morning(281))
“In March of 2006, the Associated Press and Ipsos surveyed 1,003 adults concerning Americans' attitudes and behavior regarding impatience. Some of the findings included:
While waiting in line at an office or store, it takes an average of 17 minutes for most people to lose their patience.
On the phone, it takes about 9 minutes for most people to lose their patience.
Women lost their patience after waiting in line for about 18 minutes. For men, it was an average of 15 minutes.
People with lower income and less education are more patient than those with a college education and a high income.
People who live in the suburbs are more patient than people who live in the city.”
Source: Trevor Thompson, "Impatience Poll Glance," www.hosted.ap.org (5-28-06).
I would like to think that I’m a pretty patient person
I will take a long time to untangle a rope or fishing line
I’m patient when I’m building an architectural LEGO to make sure I’m putting it together properly
I’m patient when putting a puzzle together
There are other times when I’m not patient
I’m usually impatient when I’m frustrated or tired
There have been times when I’ve tried to untangle fishing line while I’m frustrated or tired and the result is me cutting the line and throwing the knotted mess away and starting fresh
My family knows when I’m not patient, because it usually ends in the same way as the fishing line, with something being scrapped and starting over
Every one of us can probably recall a time when we were patient
We can also recall a time when we weren’t patient
As we’ll see today, the rain has stopped and the flood waters go down, but it takes time. We see that Noah patiently waits and tests the earth to determine when the ground is dry. Even after the ground is dry, Noah waits for God’s perfect timing to leave the ark. We’ll learn through this passage that . . .
BIG IDEA – God’s timing is perfect.
GOD (Genesis 8:1-14)
Remembers (v. 1)
Last week we saw that the waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days (Gen. 7:24)
But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark (Gen. 8:1)
When we think about the word “remember” we immediately associate it recalling something that has been forgotten
That’s not the case with God here
He hasn’t forgotten Noah and the animals
Hamilton expresses it as God extending His saving mercy, either from death or barrenness [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 299]
Waltke, Mathews, and Wiersbe see it as keeping a covenant promise [Waltke, Genesis, A Commentary, 140; Mathews, The New American Commentary, Volume 1A, Genesis 1-11:26, 382; Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament, Genesis-Deuteronomy, 49]
Genesis 6:17-18, I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.
God has kept His covenant promise to Noah, his family, and the animals – they have come through the storm
There are other Old Testament examples of God remembering His covenant promises
God fulfilled His promise to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and establish them in the Promised Land (Exod. 2:24; 6:5; Num. 10:9) – He remembered them
God remembered Abraham when He brought Lot out of Sodom and Gomorrah prior to their destruction (Gen. 19:29)
God remembered Rachel and opened her womb (Gen. 30:22)
God remembered Abraham, Isaac, and Israel when Moses interceded for an apostate Israel (Exod. 32:13)
God again remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob when the Israelites were being disobedient (Lev. 26:42, 45)
Gangel and Bramer explain, God remembering, as having concern or care for Noah and the animals [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 88]
PRINCIPLE #1 – God is concerned about and cares for His creation.
God knew how long Noah and his family had been cooped up with all the animals
He hadn’t forgotten His covenant with them – the promise He had made to them
The same is true for us as His children – as followers of Jesus Christ
God is concerned about us and cares for us
He hasn’t forgotten any of the promises He’s made to us, found His Word, the Bible
In the middle of the “storm,” we may feel like God has forgotten His promises to us, but His timing is perfect
We can trust in His timing, concern, and care for us
God’s promises to us
Presence – He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6; Heb. 13:5-6)
Provision – He promises to give us a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11)
Power – He promises to give us strength (Phil. 4:13)
Prayers – He promises to hear our prayers (John 14:13-14)
Protection – He promises to fight for us (Exod. 14:14)
Peace – He promises to give us peace (John 14:27)
Passion – He promises to always love us (1 John 4:9-10)
Where are you struggling to trust in God’s concern and care for you?
What storm are your going through right now?
What promise, from God, do you need to claim today? (presence, provision, power, prayers, protection, peace, passion/love)
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Claim God’s promise of His ___________. (presence, provision, power, prayers, protection, peace, passion)
Out of His concern and care for Noah and the animals and in His perfect timing, God sent a wind over the earth
God sent a wind over the earth
We realize that this wind was part of God’s plan to cause the water to recede
This is perhaps talking about evaporation and in vv. 2-5 we’ll talk about other potential places where the water may have gone
God’s power is revealed through the wind
Here, the wind is used to dry up the floodwaters
Exodus 10:13, 19, So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; . . . And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt.
Exodus 14:21, Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
Numbers 11:31, Now a wind went out from the Lord and drove quail in from the sea. It brought them down all around the camp to about three feet above the ground, as far as a day’s walk in any direction.
We can and should rejoice in God’s omnipotent power displayed through nature
We also see His omnipotent power displayed through, once again, restraining the waters
Restrains (vv. 2-5)
PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s sovereign power restrains His creation.
In Genesis 7:11 we talked about how God removed the boundaries or restraints from the springs of the great deep and the sky above
The waters contained there were allowed to rise and fall at will
God once again establishes the boundaries He formed at creation for the oceans, seas, the great deep, and the sky
God closed the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens
God caused the rain to stop falling from the sky
I remember as a child going to Harvey Cedars Bible Conference every summer for vacation
We would spend the afternoon at the beach building sand castles, digging holes, and running away from the waves
Most waves would come up on the beach a certain distance and it was easy to get away from them
Every once in a while a larger wave would crash on shore and it would wash over our legs
We weren’t able to get away from those waves, because they came further up the beach
But, I never worried about the ocean completely covering the entire beach and perhaps going inland
I trusted that it would only go a certain distance on shore
That’s God’s sovereign power restraining His creation
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Worship the Lord for His restraining power displayed in creation.
I believe that several things happened that caused the water to recede
Obviously the wind was causing some of the water to evaporate and return to the sky
I also believe that the waters were returning to the great deep (either to the oceans and seas or underground)
The water receded steadily, but it was still on the earth after 150 days
Five months after the flood began, the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat
Remember that I challenged you to keep an eye out for the next time we see the seventeenth day
Here it is!
On the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark rested
On the seventeenth day of the second month is when the flood began (Genesis 7:11)
That’s a five-month period
We would miss this little golden nugget if we didn’t look at the original Hebrew language
The Hebrew word for “rested” is nûaḥ
It’s the verb from which Noah’s name comes
Noah’s name literally means rest
I’m reminded of what Noah’s father said about him in Genesis 5:28-29, When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us [give us rest/relief] in our labors and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the Lord has cursed.
Mountains of Ararat
This mountain range is in modern day Turkey
[Show picture of the mountain range]
Waters continue to recede
God is a God of order, so we see parallel time periods in this narrative
“The ark at last comes to rest on the ‘seventeenth day of the seventh month’ (v. 4), giving a five-month period from first rains (7:11) to the ark’s grounding. The same five-month period extends from the first sighting of the mountains (8:5) to the completely dried earth (v. 14).” [Mathews, 385]
The waters continued to recede and during the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains were visible
This is just a reminder that God’s timing is perfect
He knew exactly how long He needed Noah and the animals to be in the ark
God has remembered Noah and the animals and restrained the waters once again and now we see Him renewing the earth
Renews (vv. 6-14)
Noah waited 40 days after the top of the mountains became visible before he started using birds to test the earth’s readiness/condition
We see God’s order once again as He executes His perfect timing
“The 40 days correspond to the 40 days during which the rain fell and the waters rose; and Noah might assume that they would require the same time to recede as to rise.” [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 94]
Noah opened the window
This is not to be confused with the door on the side of ark that was used to load the ark and which God closed after everyone and everything was inside
This would have been a hatch either on the ark’s roof or side, close to the top
Noah sends out a raven first after waiting 40 days
There is some significant to the sending out the raven first
It was a larger and stronger bird, so it could remain in flight longer
It could also feed on carrion (dead things) or plants
“The foremost significance of the raven is its symbolic value as an ‘unclean’ bird, unfit for consumption (Lev 11:15; Deut 14:14). According to rabbinic tradition, the raven was released first as expendable since it was neither good for food nor sacrifice.” [Mathews, 387]
The raven never returns to the ark, because it doesn’t mind landing on areas that are unclean
Most scholars seem to agree that, while it’s not stated here, because it is stated two other times in the passage, Noah waited seven days to send out the first dove after sending out the raven
The dove was considered a clean animal and good for sacrifice
It was also a low-flying [Waltke, 141], valley-dwelling bird, so Noah is sending it out to determine how far the water has receded [Hamilton, 304]
Keil & Delitzsch share that “a dove will only settle upon such places and objects as are dry and clean.” [Keil & Delitzsch, 94]
Noah sends the dove out, but it returns to him because it can’t find a place to land in the valley
There were not dry and clean places available, yet
Noah reaches out his hand and brings the dove back inside the ark
Noah waited seven more days and then sent the dove out again
It didn’t return until evening, but when it did return it had an olive leaf in its beak
The olive leaf was proof that new life was springing up on the earth, but there was still water on the ground
An olive tree will produce leaves even under water [Keil & Delitzsch, 94]
If the water had been completely dried up, then the dove would not have returned
Noah waited another seven days and then sent the dove out a third time
This time the dove did not return
It had found a clean, dry place to nest
What we see next are two time frames to help us know how long the floodwaters had remained on the earth
Two time frames
First day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year
Verse 13 is from Noah’s perspective
The verb used here for dried up/dry means “to be free of moisture” [Hamilton, 305]
The NLT translates this verse with that meaning in mind
Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying.
Noah is patiently waiting for God’s perfect timing
Twenty-seventh day of the second month of Noah’s 601st year
Verse 14 is from the narrator’s perspective
The verb used for dried up/dry means “the complete absence of waters” [Hamilton, 305]
So, from the first day of the first month until the twenty-seventh day of the second month (another 57 days) the waters were completely gone from the earth
When we compare timeframe given for when the flood begins and when it ends there is an interesting point that emerges [Hamilton, 305]
Flood begins (7:11): 17th day/2nd month/600th year of Noah
Flood has gone (8:14): 27th day/2nd month/601st year of Noah
“The Flood ‘lasted twelve months and eleven days, the exact period required to equate the year of twelve lunar months, 354 days, with the solar year of 365 days.’ The Flood lasted one solar year.” [Hamilton, 305]
Noah was patient through the many months after the rain and flood waters stopped
He was waiting for God’s perfect timing, which we’ll see next week
PRINCIPLE #3 – God’s timing is perfect.
Because Noah was a righteous and blameless man, he was content to wait on God’s perfect timing
The old saying is true, “patience is a virtue!”
Perhaps you’re struggling today to patiently wait for God’s perfect timing
It’s difficult to patiently wait when:
You’re dealing with chronic pain
You’re ready to graduate from high school or college and get out on your own
You’re wanting to be married and you’re having a hard time finding a godly man or woman
You’re not sure if you should remain in your current job
You’re uncertain about whether or not you should change careers
Your debt load seems overwhelming and you’re completely stressed out
You’ve been praying for that loved one to come to Jesus for salvation
You’re waiting for that relationship to be restored
Through every difficulty that we face, we can trust that God’s timing is perfect
He’s never early and He’s never late
He’s perfectly on-time
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Patiently wait for God’s perfect timing for the thing I’m struggling with today.
Which one of God’s promises do you need to claim today? (presence, provision, power, prayers, protection, peace, or passion)
Are you ready to worship the Lord for His restraining power displayed in creation?
Do you need to exercise patience for God’s perfect timing concerning an issue/struggle?
We can help each other with all of these areas by:
Reminding one another of God’s promises, found in His Word
Worshiping together as we recognize God’s power at work in our lives
Holding each other accountable to patiently wait for God’s perfect timing
“Former pro football star and coach Tony Dungy told the following story about his father's Christian character:
My dad was usually a quiet, thoughtful man. A scientist at heart and by training, Wilbur Dungy loved to be outside, enjoying the scenery. Fishing allowed him time to contemplate, to listen, and to marvel at God's creation. My dad used fishing to teach his children to appreciate the everyday wonders of the world God created—the sandy shoreline, the dark, pine forests, the shimmering water, and the abundant wildlife. The lessons were always memorable, whether we caught a lot of fish or not.
Although we fished countless times together throughout our lives, one particular day stands out in my mind. It was a summer day in 1965. Summers in Michigan are beautiful, with comfortable temperatures and clear, blue skies. I was nine years old, and my brother was five. My dad had taken us fishing at one of the many small lakes around Jackson. On that day, my dad was teaching my brother and me how to cast. We were both working on it, mostly in silence, until my dad's voice finally broke a period of stillness.
‘Hey, Linden, don't move for a minute, please.’ I looked back and watched my dad move his hand toward his face. Calm and deliberate, he continued to speak.
‘Now, Linden, always make sure that you know not only where your pole is when you're starting to cast’—at this point, I realized my dad was working my brother's hook out of his own ear— ‘but also make certain that you know where everyone else is around you.’
I learned something about proper casting that day, but I also learned something about patience. Years later, when I got hooked myself, in my hand, I realized how much it hurts. Remembering my dad's patience that day when Linden's hook was caught in his ear, I finally understood the importance of staying calm and communicating clearly.”
Source: Wess Stafford, Just a Minute (Moody, 2012), pp. 73-74.