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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 8

Mackintosh's Notes on the PentateuchMackintosh's Notes

Verses 1-22

Genesis 8

We shall now return to Noah, and contemplate him in a new position. we have seen him building the ark, we have seen him in the ark, and we shall now view him going forth of the ark, and taking his place in the new world.* "And God remembered Noah." The strange work of judgement being over, the saved family, and all in association with them, come into remembrance. "God made a wind to pass over the earth; and the waters assuaged; the fountains also of deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. The beams of sun now begin to act upon a world that had been baptised with a baptism of judgement. Judgement is God's "strange work." He delights not in, though He is glorified by, it. Blessed be His name, He is ever ready to leave the place of judgement, and enter that of mercy, because He delights in mercy.

*I would here mention, for my reader's prayerful consideration, a thought very familiar to the minds of those who have especially given themselves to the study of what is called "dispensational truth." It has reference to Enoch and Noah. The former was taken away, as we have seen. before the judgement came; whereas the latter was carried through the judgement. Now, it is thought that Enoch is a figure of the Church, who shall be taken away before human evil reaches its climax, and before the divine judgement falls thereon. Noah, on the other hand, is a figure of the remnant of Israel, who shall be brought through the deep waters of affliction. and through the fire of judgement, and led into the full enjoyment of millennial bliss, in virtue of God's everlasting covenant. I may add, that I quite receive this thought in reference to those two Old Testament fathers. I consider that it has the full support of the general scope and analogy of Holy Scripture.

"And it came to pass, at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: and he sent forth a raven, which went forth, to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth." The unclean bird made its escape, and found, no doubt, a resting-place on some floating carcass. It sought not the ark again. Not so the dove. "She found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark . . . . . and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark: and the dove came in to him, in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf, pluckt off." Sweet emblem of the renewed mind, which, amid the surrounding desolation, seeks and finds its rest and portion in Christ; and not only so, but also lays hold of the earnest of the inheritance, and furnishes the blessed proof, that judgement has passed away, and that a renewed earth is coming fully into view. The carnal mind, on the contrary, can rest in anything and everything but Christ. It can feed upon all uncleanness. "The olive leaf" has no attraction for it. It can find all it needs in a seen of death, and hence is not occupied with the thought of a new world and its glories; but the heart, that is taught and exercised by the Spirit of God, can only rest and rejoice in that in which He rests and rejoices. It rests in the Ark of His salvation "until the times of the restitution of all things." May it be thus with you and me, beloved render; may Jesus be the abiding rest and portion of our hearts, that so we may not seek them in a world which is under the judgement of God. The dove went back to Noah, and waited for his time of rest: and we should ever find our place with Christ, until the time of His exaltation, and glory, in the ages to come. "He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry." ALL we want, as to this, is a little patience. May God direct our hearts into His love, and into "the patience of Christ."

"And God spake unto Noah, saying, go forth of the ark." The same God that had said, "make thee an ark," and "come thou into the ark, "now says, "go forth of the ark." "And Noah went forth . . . . and builded an altar unto the Lord." ALL is simple obedience. There is the obedience of faith and the worship of faith: both go together. The altar is erected, where, just before, all had been a scene of death and judgement. The ark had borne Noah and his family safely over the waters of judgement. It had carried him from the old into the new world, where he now takes his place as a worshipper.* And, be it observed, it was "unto the Lord" he erected his altar. Superstition would have worshipped the ark, as being the means of salvation. It is ever the tendency of the heart to displace God by His ordinances. Now, the ark was a very marked and manifest ordinance; but Noah's faith passed beyond the ark to the God of the ark; and, hence, when he stepped out of it, instead of casting back a lingering look at it, or regarding it as an object of worship or veneration, he built an altar unto the Lord, and worshipped Him: and the ark is never heard of again.

*It is interesting to look at this entire subject of the ark and deluge in connection with that most important and deeply significant ordinance of baptism. A truly baptised person, that is, one who as the apostle says, "obeys from the heart that type of doctrine to which he is delivered" is one who has passed from the old world into the new, in spirit and principle, and by faith. The water rolls over his person, signifying that his old man is buried, that his place in nature is ignored - that his old nature is entirely set aside; in short, that he is a dead man. When he is plunged beneath the water, expression is given to the fact, that his name, place and existence, in nature, are put out of sight; that the flesh, with all that pertained thereto, its sins, its iniquities, its liabilities, is buried in the grave of Christ, and never can come into God's sight again.

Again when he rises up out of the water, expression is given to the truth that he only comes up as the possessor of a new life, even the resurrection of Christ. If Christ had not been raised from the dead, the believer could not come up out of the water, but should remain buried beneath its surface, as the simple expression of the place which righteously belongs to nature. But inasmuch as Christ rose from the dead in the power of a new life, having entirely put away our sins, we also come up out of the water; and, in so doing set, forth the fact that we are put, by the grace of God, and through the death of Christ, in full possession of a new life to which divine righteousness inseparably attaches. "We are buried with Him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (See Rom 6 and Col 2 . passim. Comp. also 1 Peter 3: 18-22 ) All this makes the institution of baptism one of immense importance, and pregnant with meaning

This teaches us a very simple, but, at the same time, a very seasonable lesson. The moment the heart lets slip the reality of God Himself, there is no placing a limit to its declension; it is on the highway to the grossest forms of idolatry. In the judgement of faith, an ordinance is only valuable as it conveys God, in living power, to the soul; that is to say, so long as faith Can enjoy Christ therein, according to His own appointment. Beyond this, it is worth just nothing; and if it, in the smallest degree, comes between the heart and His precious work and His glorious Person, it ceases to be an ordinance of God, and becomes an instrument of the devil. In the judgement of superstition, the ordinance is everything, and God is shut out; and the name of God is only made use of to exalt the ordinance, and Give it a deep hold of the human heart, and a mighty influence over the human mind. Thus it was that the children of Israel worshipped the brazen serpent. That, which had once been a channel of blessing to them, because used of God, became, when their hearts had departed from the Lord, an object of superstitious veneration; and Hezekiah had to break it in pieces, and call it "a piece of brass. In itself it was only a "Nehushtan," but, when used of God, it was a means of rich blessing. Now, faith owned it to be what divine revelation said it was; but superstition, throwing, as ever does, divine revelation overboard, lost the real purpose of God in the thing, and actually made a god of the thing itself. (See 2 Kings 18: 4 )

And, my reader, is there not a deep lesson in all this for the present age? I am convinced there is. We live in an age of ordinances. The atmosphere, which enwraps the professing church, is impregnated with the elements of a traditionary religion, which robs the soul of Christ and His divinely full salvation. It is not that human traditions boldly deny that there is such a person as Christ, or such a thing as the cross of Christ: were they to do so, the eyes of many might be opened. However, it is not thus. The evil is of a far more invidious and dangerous character. Ordinances are added to Christ and the work of Christ, The sinner is not saved by Christ alone, but by Christ and ordinances. Thus he is robbed of Christ altogether; for it will, assuredly be found that Christ and ordinances will prove in the sequel, to be ordinances, and not Christ. This is a solemn consideration for all who stand up for a religion of ordinances. "If ye be circumcised Christ will profit you nothing." It must be Christ wholly, or not at all. The devil persuades men, that they are honouring Christ when they make much of His ordinances. whereas, all the while, he knows full well, that they are, in reality, setting Christ entirely aside, and deifying the ordinance. I would only repeat here a remark which I have made elsewhere, namely, that superstition makes everything of the ordinance; infidelity, and mysticism, make nothing of it; faith uses to divine appointment.

Bibliographical Information
Mackintosh, Charles Henry. "Commentary on Genesis 8". Mackintosh's Notes on the Pentateuch. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/nfp/genesis-8.html.
 
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