Text: Genesis 7,8
Proposition: The faithfulness of God as He directed and kept Noah is the same today.
Introduction: According to Genesis 5, the Flood occurred 1656 years after Creation or if we want to count from today backwards, about 4400 years ago. In magnitude there has been nothing that even comes close to the power of its forces as the earth and all that was in it was in a sense made new again. As you might expect there are a number of similarities between the account of Creation and the event of the Flood. Both were beginning points for the history of mankind, both involved an incredible action of water and land, both required all created land creatures to come to a man, both required obedience and faith, both contain a consequence to sin and both point to a Great Savior. This morning we are going to look at Genesis 7 and 8, two chapters that describe the event of the Flood. Look for the details, especially if they are being restated again and again, something is being emphasized for a reason. Let’s do exactly that as we look at the account of the Flood.
I. The Details of the Arks Cargo.
We’ve already seen the details of the Ark itself in the previous chapter and in that same chapter we were given the detail of two of every kind of land and air creatures being directed into the ark,. We were given the detail of Noah being told to store food for the animals. As we read chapter 7, these additional details are added:
1. The timing of the event. Verse 11 tells us it was the 7th month, that would be just after harvest if the cycles were similar. There would be an abundance of grain and vegetables to be put away for the voyage.
2. The distinction between clean and unclean animals. Of the ‘clean’ there were to be 7 pairs instead of just one pair. A ‘clean’ animal was one that chewed the cud and had a cloven hoof, the term ‘clean’ referring to their acceptability for being able to be eaten by man. Clean animals would be the cattle, sheep and deer.
3. The distinction of 7 more days. This was presumably an extension beyond the 120 years given to mankind to repent for their wicked ways, the 120 years it would take to construct the Ark. Perhaps it is a detail of extraordinary grace, a detail that God longs for people to turn and live, a detail that cues Noah to get ready.
4. The detail of who went into the Ark. From chapter 6 to chapter 8, we are told seven times that the only people who went into the Ark were Noah, his wife, three sons, Shem, Ham, Japheth and their wives, eight people in all. Why do you think that particular detail is repeated 7 times?(6:18; 7:1; 7:7; 7:13; 7:23; 8:16; 8:18) Does it emphasize the few who were chosen, the fulfilled promise of God to save, the certainty that these eight were all that were left, that it was a global flood, not regional. Certainly, over all the face of the earth these alone remained.
II. The Details of Where the Water Came From and Where It Went. In Genesis 7:11 it says, “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the 17th day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened.” What is significant here is that it pinpoints a day, one day, in which the cataclysm of the Flood occurred. It wasn’t just tropical rain that grew and grew, there was a geologic break referred to as “the fountains of the great deep were broken”. The great deep has distinction as well, meaning that it doesn’t just refer to the ocean. As we try to answer the questions of not only where did all the water for the Flood come from and where did it then go we need to realize that the pre Flood world was different topographically that ours. It may have had more lower lying plains, smaller mountains and more land mass in relation to oceans as compared to what we see today. Was it possible that the “great deep” contained as much or more water than was on the surface of the earth? It certainly seems to be the agent of cause for the Flood referred to in Genesis. I’m going to include a URL that will need to be copied and pasted into your web browser that will give a brief 4 minute explanation of what possibly occurred in the Flood as well as answering a few other related issues from Ice Ages, mountain formation and fossil record. Here it is, http://www.thetaxpayerschannel.org/graphics/creation/fonte23.mov . If this is close to what actually occurred then the waters of the Flood are still with us today in the form of greater oceans and ice cap polar regions. Listen to this quote from a NASA publication for school teachers of grades 5-8, “The Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets cover 10% of the Earth’s land area and contain 77% of the world’s freshwater. The ice sheets comprise 99% of all the glacier ice on earth. The average thickness of both are approximately 2100 meters, but the Antarctic ice sheet (14x106km2 in area) contains about ten times the ice volume of the Greenland ice sheet(1.7x106km2 in area).” That’s a lot of water. Their source was originally underneath the crust of the earth, perhaps even ten miles down and the volume was immense.
The Biblical detail for the receding of the water begins with the phrase in Gen. 8: 1,2 of a wind that God now caused to be that passed over the surface of the earth. Perhaps the first experience of weather, high and low pressure centers, give evidence of a new type of climate. The fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped and rain ceased.
III. The Details of How Long the Flood Took. When we compare Genesis 7:11 with 8:13,14 we can conclude that Noah and his family were in the Ark for one year and ten days. Though the actual rain was forty days and forty nights, the devastation of the Flood was so great that it took more than a year for it to recede. If you read these chapters carefully you’ll see that the Flood lasted for 150 days (7:24), or about 5 months at which there was a change. For two months the water receded and the Ark touched ground again in the seventh month (8:4). On the tenth month they could see other mountain tops (8:5). A month after Noah began testing for habitable land by sending out birds (8:6). About 11 months after first entering the Ark, Noah takes off the top door and they can see dry land all about them. They wait in the ark for almost another two months and then finally on the 601 year of Noah’s life, on the second month and twenty seventh day, they exit the Ark. Now folks, those are details! Again we find ourselves asking, ‘What is the significance of this?’ There are many inferences here but perhaps a couple that come to mind are, 1. Patience, Noah enters and exits when God tells him to. 2. Provision, God provided enough space to carry enough food for enough time. God doesn’t make mistakes. He perfectly provides. 3. Prayer, the experience of the crisis of the Flood, persevering through it, the evident grace that accompanies you in it, evoke in Noah the response you see in 8:20, Noah worships God in sacrifice and prayer and receives from God the lasting promise that never again would the earth be consumed by water. Though the imaginations of man’s heart is evil from his youth still, by grace God perseveres with man even through to this time.(Genesis 8:21)
Author Henry Morris adds this observation: In Old Testament times, a distinction was made between civil and religious calendars. At the first Passover, the seventh month of the civil year became the first month of the religious calendar year.(Exodus 12) Passover itself was set at the 14th day of this first month in the religious calendar. (Since Jesus was arrested the night before Passover and put to death on the Friday of Passover that would have been the 14th of the month. He rose from the dead three days later on the 17th) Thus Jesus rose on the 17th day of the 7th month, according to the civil calendar. Remarkably, this is the same day as the ark rested on the mountains of Ararat, and there was indeed to be a resurrection of a dead world. (The Six Days of Genesis – Paul F. Taylor pp 167)