Randy and I volunteered as church camp directors for quite a few years in our past lives. There would always be at least one day out of the week of summer camp that brought rain. We would plan for it with indoor activities but it was still challenging. Kids would be couped up in the cabins, hanging out at the outside worship shelter that had no walls, or in the dining hall. There were very few options. The bathrooms were in a separate location along with showers. So, you had to “hold it” or go out in pouring rain for the trek to the bathhouse. But kids didn’t mind, it was just another adventure for them.
After the rain, they waited for the “signal” from us to go back outside. Mud was no issue for kids, only for the grownups who would clean up the tracked in mud coupled with giving first aid for cuts and bruises for those who would run in the puddles then slip and fall. But when the sun came out with a prayer for the wind to dry it all up, they were released once more from captivity to the outdoor spaces to run freely. Things were back to normal. The grownups worshiped God for the rain that cooled us off on the summer Oklahoma days. We thanked God later for the dry land after the rain.
I cannot imagine being couped up inside a ship for 150 days all totaled! One or two days are my limit as a children’s camp leader! Imagine, for a moment, being couped up with your family, along with animals of every species with birds flying around doing what birds do when fed, for 150 days! Talk about cabin fever! This was the ultimate expression and probably the origination of the term, “cabin fever”.
But Noah and his family survived. No one else outside the ark did. The Cleansing by God left only Noah and his family as the only humans on earth to reproduce and begin life anew. The animals that came to Noah for rescue left in the same way once they got the go ahead from God. The animals too, would repopulate earth each to their own species.
Genesis 8, The Message
1-3 Then God turned his attention to Noah and all the wild animals and farm animals with him on the ship. God caused the wind to blow and the floodwaters began to go down. The underground springs were shut off, the windows of Heaven closed and the rain quit. Inch by inch the water lowered. After 150 days the worst was over.
4-6 On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the ship landed on the Ararat mountain range. The water kept going down until the tenth month. On the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains came into view. After forty days Noah opened the window that he had built into the ship.
7-9 He sent out a raven; it flew back and forth waiting for the floodwaters to dry up. Then he sent a dove to check on the flood conditions, but it couldn’t even find a place to perch—water still covered the Earth. Noah reached out and caught it, brought it back into the ship.
10-11 He waited seven more days and sent out the dove again. It came back in the evening with a freshly picked olive leaf in its beak. Noah knew that the flood was about finished.
12 He waited another seven days and sent the dove out a third time. This time it didn’t come back.
13-14 In the six-hundred-first year of Noah’s life, on the first day of the first month, the flood had dried up. Noah opened the hatch of the ship and saw dry ground. By the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the Earth was completely dry.
15-17 God spoke to Noah: “Leave the ship, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives. And take all the animals with you, the whole menagerie of birds and mammals and crawling creatures, all that swarming extravagance of life, so they can reproduce and flourish on the Earth.”
18-19 Noah disembarked with his sons and wife and his sons’ wives. Then all the animals, crawling creatures, birds—every creature on the face of the Earth—left the ship family by family.
20-21 Noah built an altar to God. He selected clean animals and birds from every species and offered them as burnt offerings on the altar. God smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, “I’ll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age, but I’ll never again kill off everything living as I’ve just done.
22 For as long as Earth lasts,
planting and harvest, cold and heat,
Summer and winter, day and night
will never stop.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
After God did the work of cleansing the earth, ridding His creation of all sins of all kinds that had consumed humans, God “turned his attention to Noah”. With all that God is doing to protect us, provide for our needs and battle the evil one, He remembers us. He turns His eyes on those who love and obey Him and meets their needs. Sometimes God meets my needs before I even know I need help!
God never fails. God dries the land with a strong wind. God gave Noah wisdom to send out birds to check the current conditions of earth. But Noah waited until God told him to leave the ship! We can learn from these actions. We can check the conditions of our current situations, but we must lean on God for his direction, pray for wisdom and wait for Him to tell us when to move ahead. That’s when the desires of our hearts match his desires and we know the time is right to follow the next step of His Plan for us. Psalm 37:3-7 helps us see and understand what Noah knew to be true;
“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him…”
The waiting paid off. God provided safe passage as they deboarded the ark to dry land. The FIRST building project on dry land was an altar to give thanks to God. Worship by Noah and his family is pleasing to God. God “delights” Noah (and us) with a promise to never flood the earth again—no more arks to build and live in! The example of faith Noah had is a great example to us today.
Do we have enough faith to do exactly what God tells us to be and do?
Do we worship and wait to hear God’s voice above all other voices?
Are we sending signals out to check our current situation of our lives but waiting on God to show us when, where, how, with what He has given us before embarking on our next move?
Meanwhile, the world is set right, one season will follow another, families will be raised, the animals will reproduce. The world isn’t perfect since the Fall of Adam and Eve, but it has been cleansed for now. God knows we humans will always have “this bent toward evil from an early age” so God has another Plan ready to save humanity of their sins. He will not use a cleansing flood to get our attention, there will be other ways. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Blood will be shed for our sins.
There are so many things to think about as we read. We pray for your wisdom for each of our situations. I pray for your wisdom for my life. I delight in You and pray that you delight in my thoughts, actions, worship as I live this day and the next until I see you face to face.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen