The Hand of God
“A March 2011 poll surveyed Americans regarding their beliefs about God's involvement in natural disasters. The following are some of the results of this research:
The article concluded: ‘After one of these disasters [like the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami], people turn to their clergy and theologians and they look for answers, and there are no great answers …. But almost every group believes you have to help people who are suffering.’”
Source: Nicole Neroulias, "Poll: Most in U.S., except evangelicals, see no divine sign in disasters," USA Today (3-24-11).
Seeing the hand of God
I don’t know about you, but I see the hand of God almost every day
As I seek His face, I see His hand at work
It was a very busy week with lots of meetings, a project I was trying to complete at the house, and the upcoming revival services
On Monday I was feeling stressed and overwhelmed, which drove me to pray
I had gotten all of the work done on Sunday evening that I normally do on Monday morning, so I could spend the morning with Judy and her parents
I was able to work in the afternoon for several hours and get some other items accomplished
There is one mowing job that I do for a lady in Aspers and I was able to complete that on Monday afternoon
I needed to work on the bathroom project at the house on Monday evening, because that would be the only evening this week that I had free, except for Friday evening
Finally, after doing that I sat down around 9:30 pm to read five commentaries in preparation for today’s message and found that the reading was shorter than I had anticipated
Tuesday morning, the Lord just directed my thoughts and guided my day and I was able to get a lot accomplished is a little bit of time
Through all of this I saw that God was completely in control of everything I was doing
I saw His hand at work in my life
The hand of God in our lives
Every one of us probably has seen the hand of God at work in our lives
We could share examples of how God was completely in control of a busy week, a difficult situation, finals at school, a job search, a medical issue, and so much more
I want to encourage us this morning to reflect on the last time we saw the hand of God at work in our lives
What was going on at the time?
How did God help, guide, or direct us in that situation?
What was the outcome?
Two weeks ago, Pastor Marc opened up Genesis 7:1-10 to us and talked about having the right stuff. That passage built on the end of Genesis 6 and today we will see that Genesis 7:11-16 builds on Genesis 7:1-10. We learn more details about the flood and how God’s hand was on every aspect of leading up to the actual flood taking place. We’ll see today that . . .
BIG IDEA – God is in complete control of His creation.
GOD (Genesis 7:11-16)
Water Works (vv. 11-12)
When did the flood happen?
We learned two weeks ago that the flood happened when Noah was 600-years-old
We are now given additional information about exactly when it happened during Noah’s 600th year
It was the seventeenth day of the second month
“The months must be reckoned, not according to the Mosaic ecclesiastical year, which commenced in the spring, but according to the natural or civil year, which commenced in the autumn at the beginning of sowing time, or the autumnal equinox; so that the flood would be pouring upon the earth in October and November.” [Keil & Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Volume 1, The Pentateuch, 91-92]
The seventeenth day will be important as we continue the flood narrator in the weeks to come, so keep your eyes peeled for the next time that day comes up in Genesis
We now know more specifics about when the flood happened
We’re also given more details about how the flood happened
How did the flood happen?
There were two sources for the flood waters
The springs of the great deep burst forth
There was water that was coming up from deep within the earth
The NIV translates the Hebrew as “burst forth,” but it also has the idea of opening something that was shut – breaking something up that was sealed
I’m reminded of the questions that God asks Job when He answers him in chapters 38-41
“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?” (Job 38:8-11)
I believe that springs came up from the great deep, but I also believe that God removed the doors and bars from the oceans and seas and allowed them to cover the dry land
The floodgates of the heavens were opened
The firmament that God had created to separate the waters above from the waters below was also opened up
“God is indeed reversing his work of creation. He had then established the dome to hold back the water in the heavens, while evidently allowing for some apertures through which rain could fall; now he lets the apertures be wide open. What falls is more than rain; it is an overwhelming downpour.” [Goldingay, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament, Genesis, 145]
“There is no doubt that the two sources of water are intended to recall the ‘waters above and below’ of 1:6-7. The Flood un-creates, and returns the earth to a pre-creation period when there was only ‘waters.’” [Hamilton, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, The Book of Genesis, Chapters 1-17, 291]
And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8)
PRINCIPLE #1 – God’s sovereign power is shown through the rejoining of the waters.
The hand of God was at work through the flood
He removed the barriers He had created and established to hold back the waters
In His sovereign plan, to deal with the sin of humanity, He allowed the waters to rejoin, so that the earth could once again be washed clean
God knew exactly what He was doing
God is completely in control of His creation
That includes us as human beings
He uses His sovereign power to allow difficulties and hardships to come into our lives, so that we will return to Him – so that we will cry out to Him – so that we will depend and rely on Him
Is God trying to get your attention, right now?
Are you experiencing some difficulty or hardship that has you confused and frustrated?
In His sovereignty, God is trying to get your attention, are you listening?
#1 – My Next Step Today Is To: Recognize God’s sovereign power at work in my life and turn to Him for help.
We’re told when and how the flood happened and now we’re told how long it lasted
How long was the flood?
The rain fell for 40 days and 40 nights
We complain when it rains for a week straight, but just imagine if it rained for 40 days’ straight (that’s almost a month and a half)
Two weeks ago I was frustrated because I wasn’t able to mow the lawn in Aspers – it rained on the days that I was free and was clear on the days I wasn’t free
Examples of flooding
I remember living in Greencastle many years ago and having flood waters rise in our neighborhood
The neighbors had a canoe and they were using it to navigate between the pine trees that were on their property
I thought that was pretty cool as a 6 or 7 year-old
Our boys have enjoyed the different times when it has rained hard and caused the pond to overflow it banks
They’ve used boogey boards and other items to play in the water
We know this is how long it rained, but the flood waters remained for another 110 days – we’re getting ahead of ourselves, though
God’s sovereign, powerful hand had removed the barriers to the waters above and below, but His sovereign hand was also guiding Noah, his family, and the animals
Guided Gathering (vv. 13-16a)
On that very day
This is talking about the same day that the waters came up from the great deep and the heavens were opened and rain poured down
This seems pretty incredible that Noah, his family, and all the animals entered the ark on the same day that the flood began
God had warned Noah seven days earlier (Gen. 7:4) that the flood was coming
It’s probable that in those seven days, Noah and his family are welcoming all the animals and getting them setup in the ark
On the same day that the flood began, Noah had completed the entering process, with his family and the animals – everyone and everything was onboard [Keil & Delitzsch, 92]
Humans enter the ark
We know who entered the ark from humanity because they are listed
Noah and his wife
Noah’s sons and their wives (Shem, Ham, and Japheth)
Animals enter the ark
Wild animals (according to their kind)
Livestock (according to their kind)
Every creature that moves along the ground (according to their kind)
Every bird (according to their kind)
Everything with wings
Pairs of all the animals (male and female) came to Noah
PRINCIPLE #2 – God’s sovereign power is evident in bringing the animals to the ark.
We see the hand of God again completely controlling His creation
We don’t know the specifics of how God communicated to each pair of animals, but He tells them to go to Noah and enter the ark that has been prepared
This is the sovereign power of God at work in His creation
Have you experienced God’s sovereign power to completely control His creation?
There are multiple examples of how certain things are preserved when everything else around it is completely destroyed
“When firefighters arrived at Freedom Ministries Church in Grandview, West Virginia they were left stunned by what they saw. A devastating fire – so hot that firefighters had to back out at one point – was ravaging through the building, the Coal City Fire Department said in a Facebook post. But as they went through the charred wreckage, they noticed something extraordinary. ‘In your mind, everything should be burned, ashes. Not a single Bible was burned and not a single cross was harmed!!’ the department wrote. The Facebook post, which went viral, features compelling photos of a pile of about a dozen intact Bibles surrounded by the rubble. ‘Though the odds were against us, God was not,’ the firefighters added. No firefighters were injured in the operation. The cause of the fire is still unclear.”
Gianluca Mezzofiore, CNN (updated 7:43 AM EST, Tue March 5, 2019)
#2 – My Next Step Today Is To: Worship the Lord for His sovereign power to control His creation.
God’s hand was present in starting the flood and guiding both humans and animals to the ark, but His hand would accomplish one more thing
Safely Sealed (v. 16b)
The last part of verse 16 tells us that the Lord is the One who shut Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark
“God himself shut the door to signify that the days of grace (Gen. 6:3) were over.” [Gangel & Bramer, Holman Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, 76]
This is God’s protective care for those He was saving
PRINCIPLE #3 – Divine grace brings salvation.
Grace is getting something that we don’t deserve
Noah and his family were sinners, just like us, but God declared him righteous and his neighbors found him blameless, because he walked with God
He deserved to be wiped out with the rest of humanity, but God extended grace to him
Every one of us deserves to die in our sin and be separated from God for all eternity (Romans 6:23a)
We are all born sinners, in rebellion against God, wanting our own way
God could leave us in that state, but He loves us too much to do that (Jeremiah 31:3; John 3:16)
God made a way for all of humanity to be in a right relationship with Him
Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that on one can boast.
Noah and his family experienced the Lord’s divine grace and they were saved from being destroyed by the flood waters
You and I can experience the same divine grace and be saved from eternal separation from God
Recognize that you are a sinner
Repent of your sins (180 degree turn)
Accept God’s gift of grace by faith
Turn to Jesus Christ for salvation
#3 – My Next Step Today Is To: Accept God’s divine grace through faith in Jesus Christ and be saved from my sins.
Have you recognized God’s sovereign power at work in your life and turned to Him for help?
When is the last time you’ve worshiped the Lord for His sovereign power to control His creation?
Are you ready to accept God’s divine grace through faith in Jesus Christ?
When we share with others how God has shown His sovereign power in our life and control over His creation, we are witnessing for the Lord
That is what we are called to do as followers of Jesus Christ
“Recently there was a surprising source arguing for the historicity of the biblical flood—The New York Times. An article on sea level rise in human history noted:
In the 19th century, ethnographers realized that virtually every old civilization had some kind of flood myth in its literature. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, waters so overwhelm the mortals that the gods grow frightened, too. In India's version, Lord Vishnu warns a man to take refuge in a boat, carrying seeds. In the Bible, God orders Noah to carry two of every living creature on his ark.
‘I don't think the biblical deluge is just a fairy tale,’ said Terence J. Hughes, a retired University of Maine glaciologist living in South Dakota. ‘I think some kind of major flood happened all over the world, and it left an indelible imprint on the collective memory of mankind that got preserved in these stories.’
That flooding would have occurred at the end of the last ice age.”
Source: Justin Gillis, "Looming Floods, Threatened Cities," The New York Times (5-18-17).