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The Assuaging of the Waters
1. There is a striking verse in 2 Peter 3:6-61.3.7 , which reads: "Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: but the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men."
The people of old willingly were ignorant. They knew not until the flood came and destroyed them all, and yet they should have known because the building of the ark itself was a warning, and the words of Noah were an additional warning of that which was about to happen.
The people of this age should know what is about to happen. They do know inasmuch as they have read "by printed page, and have heard from pulpit, and over the air, that the Lord is coming. Some of our great dailies are already prepared, so we are told, to write up the story of the Rapture, and rush it into their papers at any time.
The unregenerate world is filled with fear, looking forward to those things which are coming to pass upon the earth; and yet, the people of our day, even as the people of Noah's day, are wilfully ignorant, and wholly unprepared for the judgments which are about to fall.
2. There is another verse in II Peter, which says: "If God * * spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly, * * the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished." These words carry two conclusions. First, God knows how to deliver. Second, God knows how to reserve. The godly are kept out of temptations, or, carried through them victoriously. The unjust are reserved to the judgment.
With the story of the flood before us as an historical fact, we need to ponder its message of warning. If God spared not that age which had ripened in its wickedness, neither will He spare this age.
I. AND GOD REMEMBERED NOAH (Genesis 8:1 )
1. Noah was remembered of God, when He commanded the building of the ark. The man who knows God, walks with Him, and is righteous before Him, will be protected from judgment.
2. God remembered Noah after the judgment had fallen, and the waters had prevailed upon the earth. God always remembers those who are hid with Christ, and sheltered in the Heavenly Ark. His eye is upon His children. Nothing can touch or harm them.
3. God remembered Noah and made a wind to pass over the earth. Our God is Master of the elements. He holds the winds in His hands, and He sends them forth at His will. He causes them to turn about continually. He sends the North wind, with its frigid blast; He sends the south wind, with its soft and balmy breezes. The zepher and the tornado are alike in His hands.
4. God remembered Noah and the fountains of the deep were stayed. The waters assuaged, the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain was restrained. Thus the waters returned from off the earth continually and were abated.
Darkness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Judgments are not always upon the earth. Day follows night, light follows darkness, peace follows despair. There remaineth a rest to the people of God. How glorious it is, that, after the tribulation darkness shall have passed, the Millennium with its rest and peace will follow!
II. AND THE ARK RESTED UPON THE MOUNTAINS OF ARARAT (Genesis 8:4 )
1. After the wrath of God had wrought its will, and its ministry was completed, there came a period of rest. How the words ring out, "Come unto Me * * and I will give you rest"! We can rest in His arms just as sweetly, and as safely, as the ark ever rested upon the mountains of Ararat.
2. The rest occurred in the seventh month, and on the seventeenth day of the month. The fourteenth day stands for death, the seventeenth day stands for resurrection. The lamb was kept up until the fourteenth day of the month and then it was slain. Jesus Christ was kept up from before the foundation of the world, dedicated to death, and then on the fourteenth day of the month at the very hour of the slaying of the passover lamb with a loud cry He gave up the ghost. Three days later on the seventeenth, He rose from the dead. Salvation carries us to the Cross, where Christ died. It carries us to the empty tomb, from which Christ arose.
The waters of the flood flowed over all life in judgment and death. Upon the Cross the billows of wrath flowed over Christ. However, Christ rose from the dead, even as the ark rested on Mount Ararat, thus, does the believer come forth in resurrection power, to walk in newness of life.
Thus clearly did the Word of God, far back in Noah's day, give a foregleam of the death and resurrection of Christ and of our union with Him in His death and resurrection.
As we think it over we almost feel that we were with Noah in the ark. One thing we know, we will be with Christ, secure from the judgment which the tribulation will bring. "We are not appointed unto wrath." The vials of God's wrath will not fall upon us.
III. THE RAVEN AND THE DOVE (Genesis 8:7-1.8.9 ; Genesis 8:12 )
1. The significance of the raven. The raven and its typical significance may be difficult to establish, and yet we all know that there is a vast contrast between the raven and the dove. The raven is black, the dove is white. The raven is ravenous and unclean; the dove is gentle and pure.
The hour when Satan saw the wreckage of the flood was to him but a foregleam of another day, when the earth will once more be judged, not by water, but by fire. The flood seemed to be Satan's first great undoing, since God created man; the tribulation will be his second great undoing. The antichrist and the false prophet, the two empowered demigods of. Satan, will then be cast into the lake of fire, and the devil, himself, will be chained, and cast into the pit of the abyss, for one thousand years. After the thousand years Satan will be cast into the lake of fire.
2. The significance of the dove. The dove in the Bible is the type of the Holy Spirit. When Christ was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended as a dove, and lighted upon Him. The dove went out from the ark, and, at first, found no rest for the sole of her foot. Thus she returned unto Noah in the ark. After seven days the dove was sent forth again, and in the evening she returned with an olive leaf in her mouth. The olive leaf is the universal emblem of peace. On the American dollar there is an eagle holding the olive branch of peace. The olive leaf also stands for life and love. It seemed to anticipate the time when judgment will have passed, and when the Summer will have come, even when the Lord will reign in peace with His people upon the earth.
IV. THE LOOK OF NOAH (Genesis 8:13 )
1. The look of judgment, passed. Noah beheld what God, in His judgment, had wrought upon the earth. With what awe, and with what solemn mien must this mighty man of old have viewed the results of God's overwhelming wrath. How different did everything seem than on that day when Noah entered into the ark. The power of God, linked to the judgments of God, had overwhelmed the wicked one. All of this is in token of the fact that Christ will reign, until He hath put all enemies under His feet, and the last enemy which shall be destroyed will be death.
2. The look of new possibilities. Noah saw an earth rid of its corruption, cleansed of its impurity, and ready to be filled with blessing. The old had been destroyed, that the new might come in. Upon the wreckage of the past, a new era was to be builded.
How often has it been asked Is the Second Coming of Christ, the end of the world? It cannot be. The Lord Jesus will, indeed, unsheath His sword, and dire judgments will rest upon the land; the whole earth will reel to and fro as a drunkard; however, after the judgments are passed, a new day will come a day wherein righteousness and truth shall kiss one another, and the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
V. THE GOING FORTH OUT OF THE ARK (Genesis 8:15-1.8.16 )
1. The entering in to the ark. As Noah and his family entered in, and as with him all things of fowl, and cattle, and creeping thing entered also, the story of protection, of security, and of salvation was set forth. How wonderful it is to be housed in Christ, to be sheltered from the storm, to be succored from wrath. All of this has been brought out in our preceding studies.
2. The going out of the ark.
(1) The going out was suggestive of new life, in a new realm. Old things were passed away, all things were made new. How different is the new life in Christ, to the old life when we walked in divers lusts.
(2) The going out was suggestive of new service. We are saved to serve. To be safely sheltered in the ark is wholesome, but it is necessary to go out.
On the mountain top Peter, James, and John revelled in the glory of the transfiguration. It was from the mountain top, however, that they went down to find at the foot of the mountain, a man who had brought his son who was a lunatic. The disciples could not heal him, but the Lord brought him deliverance.
From the heights, we must go to the depths, carrying our new life and light. From the place of prayer, we must go to the place of privation and of penury.
Noah housed in the ark, was Noah in preparation for his going forth out of the ark.
Moses learned at the backside of the mountain, where he was shut in with God, how to go forth to the people. Paul in Arabia with his Lord, was made ready for Paul the Missionary-traveler. Noah in the ark, was Noah in school.
VI. THE SACRIFICE OF NOAH (Genesis 8:20-1.8.21 )
1. In Noah's sacrifice he acknowledged himself a sinner saved by grace. Noah, as he built his altar, proclaimed forever that Noah saved, was Noah saved by grace. He did not boast himself against the ungodly, for he also was ungodly. The difference between Noah and the people who were destroyed by the flood, was to be sure a difference in the extent of sin, not a difference in the fact of sin. They were lost because they were not under the blood; he, and his, were saved because they were under the blood.
As Noah stood that day by the altar offering up his sacrifices, he confessed himself just what our heading says, a sinner saved by grace.
2. In Noah's sacrifice he acknowledged that grace operates through the death of Christ. We need not imagine that these men of old knew nothing of Calvary, and nothing of the meaning of the sacrifices which they offered. Abel Had offered his sacrifice by faith, and the faith of Abel was a far-flung faith. It looked down through the ages and saw the Son of God going forth to die.
3. The sacrifice of Noah was a sweet-smelling savor to God. The Lord did not delight in the blood of bulls and of goats, in themselves, nor in the blood of beast and fowl, themselves; neither did the Lord delight in the mere anguish of His Son upon the Cross. The sweet savor which the Lord smelled was the savor of Noah's faith; the salvation which came to Noah through faith and by virtue of the shedding of the Blood of Christ.
The ordinances of baptism, and the Lord's Supper, are not, in themselves, a sweet savor to God; but when, in them, those who keep the ordinances do it in remembrance of Him, and in faith, they set forth His salvation work, then they are precious in the sight of God. Let us all ask ourselves the question Are we under the Blood?
VII. THE PROMISE AND THE PLEDGE OF GOD (Genesis 8:21-1.8.22 )
1. God, in His eternal purposes, has left man upon the earth until His final judgments shall come forth. God knows the heart of man, that it is evil. God knows everything concerning sin and its wreckage.
From the days of the flood until this hour the sun has risen and set upon the just and the unjust, God's purposes of grace have moved steadily forward. The chosen people have been called out, the Cross of Christ has been established, the Church has been builded, and now the age is' hastening towards the last great purpose of God, which is the personal reign of Christ.
Each age, since Noah, with God's distinctive method of ministration has come and gone under judgment; the age in which we now live will close with the most terrific judgment since the flood (the Great Tribulation), and yet, the earth still remaineth, and will remain with its seedtime and harvest, its cold and heat, its summer and winter, its day and night. Not until after the thousand years, when the earth shall pass away with a great noise, and its final burnings shall occur, will these things cease.
2. God, in His eternal purposes, has left man upon the earth under the message of the Cross and its possible redemption. As Noah stood by his altar God revealed this purpose. Men have continued in their wickedness, and they are growing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived, and yet, withal, God, in patience, still waits and pleads.
The story of the Cross is being pressed with renewed vigor by multitudes of men, and its message of peace and redemption is being carried to the ends of the earth. The sweet smelling savor still goes up, and ultimately the Lord will look on the travail of His soul and be satisfied.
One afternoon, before returning to the office, I dozed upon my bed and suddenly I seemed to be awake and in the Ararat Plain near Etchmiadzin. The plain was full of people of all nations and all walks of life. They were all drifting or gliding toward Mt. Ararat, and as I looked I was aware that the glistening peak had become the "Great White Throne" and it was the Judgment Day. Without any physical effort we were all moving toward that throne. Suddenly I became aware that the lives and thoughts of all around me accompanied each one and were as plainly visible as a moving picture. There were clergymen, college professors, teachers, artisans, laborers, employers and employees, and people from every walk of life. Memory was revived and, with nothing lost, every man's life as it came before him was open to the rest of us. I thought of the passage in the Revelation, "And the books were opened: * * and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books" (Revelation 20:12 ). If our own memories are the books that witness against us judgment must be brief and indisputable. As we moved toward the Great White Throne there appeared a fork in the road opposite the throne, and one road passed upward at the right of the throne and the other road dropped abruptly to the dark valley below.
As I drew near the throne I ceased to be conscious of the sins and lives of others on the road. My whole consciousness was occupied with the thought that there was a very glaring mountain at my right at which I dared not look, for it must be the mountain of my sins, and as I reached the fork in the road and, self-condemned, thought, there was nothing for me to do but turn to the left, a voice spoke from the throne, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto Me; for I have redeemed thee" (Isaiah 44:22 ). "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins" (Isaiah 43:25 ). Then I turned to look at the mountain of what I thought were my sins, and, behold, it was the life of Christ put to my credit The joy of that moment still brings the tears to my. eyes. The revulsion of feeling was so great that it awakened me and interrupted the vision.
If we know that this is what awaits us at the Judgment, how can any of us fail to strive now to show our gratitude by consecrated lives? Clarence D. Ussher, in "The Sunday School Times."
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Genesis 8". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany