Noah Leaves the Ark
PSALM 105:8, ESV
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded,
for a thousand generations...
the word that he commanded,
for a thousand generations...
Genesis 8:1-9, NIrV
1 But God showed concern for Noah. He also showed concern for all the wild animals and livestock that were with Noah in the ark. So God sent a wind to sweep over the earth. And the waters began to go down. 2 The springs at the bottom of the oceans had been closed. The windows of the sky had also been closed. And the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water on the earth continued to go down. At the end of the 150 days the water had gone down. 4 On the 17th day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to go down until the tenth month. On the first day of that month, the tops of the mountains could be seen.
6 After 40 days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark. 7 He sent out a raven. It kept flying back and forth until the water on the earth had dried up. 8 Then Noah sent out a dove. He wanted to see if the water on the surface of the ground had gone down. 9 But the dove couldn’t find any place to rest. Water still covered the whole surface of the earth. So the dove returned to Noah in the ark. Noah reached out his hand and took the dove in. He brought it back to himself in the ark.
God’s great flood covered everything on earth for 150 days – five whole months! The rain had stopped, but the water didn’t just disappear. Draining a planet-sized bathtub was going to take time. Eventually, the waters went down enough so the bottom of Noah’s boat rested on a mountain. Still, wherever Noah looked, he only saw water! To search for dry land, Noah put his feathery friends to work. He released a raven, but it flew around in endless circles! He tried a dove the second time. When it came right back to him, Noah knew the poor bird had be unable to find a single dry spot to land.
+ Where did Noah’s ark come to rest? (vs. 4)
+ Why did Noah send out birds from the ark? (vs. 8)
Genesis 8:10-17, NIrV
10 He waited seven more days. Then he sent out the dove again from the ark. 11 In the evening the dove returned to him. There in its beak was a freshly picked olive leaf! So Noah knew that the water on the earth had gone down. 12 He waited seven more days. Then he sent out the dove again. But this time it didn’t return to him.
13It was the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year. The water on the earth had dried up. Then Noah removed the covering from the ark. He saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the 27th day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark. Bring your wife and your sons and their wives with you. 17 Bring out every kind of living thing that is with you. Bring the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground. Then they can multiply on the earth. They can have little ones and the number of them can increase.”
Noah continued to put his doves to work as dry-land detectors. A week after test #1 failed, he tried again. This time, the bird returned with a leaf. This was a positive sign. It meant the treetops were above water now! Noah waited another week, then released the dove again. It must have found dry spot to sleep because it never came back. After a year in a floating zoo, Noah must’ve been glad to hear God say it was time to leave the ark. The animals hopped, waddled, and trotted out onto the land. As they did, God gave his critters a command: have babies and fill this empty world!
+ How did Noah know it was time to leave the ark? (vs. 15-16)
+ Why did God want the animals to have lots of baby animals?
Genesis 8:18-22, NIrV
18 So Noah came out of the ark. His sons and his wife and his sons’ wives were with him. 19 All the animals came out of the ark. The creatures that move along the ground also came out. So did all the birds. Everything that moves on land came out of the ark, one kind after another.
20 Then Noah built an altar to honor the Lord. He took some of the “clean” animals and birds. He sacrificed them on the altar as burnt offerings. 21 The smell of the offerings pleased the Lord. He said to himself, “I will never put a curse on the ground again because of human beings. I will not do it even though their hearts are always directed toward evil. Their thoughts are evil from the time they are young. I will never destroy all living things again, as I have just done.
22 “As long as the earth lasts,
there will always be a time to plant
and a time to gather the crops.
As long as the earth lasts,
there will always be cold and heat.
There will always be summer and winter,
day and night.”
After a year in a floating zoo, what was the first item on Noah’s to-do list when he finally left the ark? Building an altar: a large pile of stones used to worship God. On top of it, Noah burned the meat of animals as a sacrifice to God. The Bible doesn’t tell us why he did this. In Noah's day, sacrifices were a way to say "thank you" to God for his good gifts or "I'm sorry" for your sins. Noah's sacrifice could have been a "thank you" to God for keeping him safe through the flood or an "I'm sorry" for his sins and the sins of his family. Maybe it was both! Either way, God was pleased with Noah's sacrifice.
+ What is the first thing we see Noah doing after leaving the ark? (vs. 20)
+ What was God’s promise to Noah? (vs. 21)
Genesis 9:1-7, NIRV
1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons. He said to them, “Have children so that there are many of you. Fill the earth. 2 All the land animals will be afraid of you. All the birds in the sky will be afraid of you. Every creature that moves along the ground will be afraid of you. So will every fish in the seas. Every living thing is put under your control. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. I have already given you the green plants for food. Now I am giving you everything.
4 “But you must not eat meat that still has blood in it. 5 I will certainly hold someone accountable if you are murdered. I will even hold animals accountable if they kill you. I will also hold anyone accountable who murders another person.
6 “Anyone who murders a human being
will be killed by a human being.
That is because I have made human beings
so that they are like me.
7 “Have children so that there will be many of you. Multiply and become many on the earth.”
After the flood destroyed everything, God’s world was starting over. As Noah’s family exited the ark, God explained how this new world would be different. Floating in the ark, humans and animals lived close and cozy together. Those days were over. God told Noah these beasts would now fear him. Also, instead of only snacking on plants, God gave Noah permission to hunt animals for food. However, killing humans who had been made in God’s image? That was totally off limits! Finally, with only eight people on the planet, God gave Noah’s family a job: fill the earth with lots of cute little babies!
+ After the flood, how would the animals feel about people? (vs. 2)
+ What things did God tell Noah he and his family could eat? (vs. 3)
Genesis 9:8-17, NIRV
8 Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons who were with him. He said, 9 “I am now making my covenant with you and with all your children who will be born after you. 10 I am making it also with every living creature that was with you in the ark. I am making my covenant with the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals. I am making it with all the creatures that came out of the ark with you. In fact, I am making it with every living thing on earth. 11 Here is my covenant I am making with you. The waters of a flood will never again destroy all life. A flood will never again destroy the earth.”
12 God continued, “My covenant is between me and you and every living creature with you. It is a covenant for all time to come. Here is the sign of the covenant I am making. 13 I have put my rainbow in the clouds. It will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Sometimes when I bring clouds over the earth, a rainbow will appear in them. 15 Then I will remember my covenant between me and you and every kind of living creature. The waters will never again become a flood to destroy all life. 16 When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it. I will remember that my covenant will last forever. It is a covenant between me and every kind of living creature on earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “The rainbow is the sign of my covenant. I have made my covenant between me and all life on earth.”
After a 40-day rain flooded the earth, every storm might have made Noah worry, “Oh no! It's happening again!” But instead of running back into the ark, Noah could sit back and relax. Why? Because God made a covenant (an unbreakable promise) with Noah. Never again would he send a world-ending flood. And in case Noah wondered if God would ever forget this promise, God planned to put a great big sign in the sky after every storm. Each time the rain stopped and a rainbow colored the clouds, it would be God’s way of saying, "See, Noah? I haven't forgotten my promise!"
+ What covenant (promise) did God make with all living things? (vs. 11)
+ What sign did God give for us to remember his covenant? (vs. 13-15)
Luke 22:14-20, NIRV
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles took their places at the table. 15 He said to them, “I have really looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you. I wanted to do this before I suffer. 16 I tell you, I will not eat the Passover meal again until it is celebrated in God’s kingdom.”
17 After Jesus took the cup, he gave thanks. He said, “Take this cup and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you, I will not drink wine with you again until God’s kingdom comes.”
19 Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup. He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. It is poured out for you.
After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah. A covenant is a super-special promise between people. Breaking a covenant brought big trouble, sometimes even death! So what did God promise Noah? "Never again will I send the waters of a flood to destroy everything." God’s promise came with a special sign. Whenever a rainbow appeared after a storm, it was a reminder that God had remembered his promise.
Before Jesus was arrested and sent to die on the cross, he ate one last meal with his disciples. At that meal, Jesus did something very interesting. Just like God did with Noah, Jesus made an unbreakable covenant promise to his disciples.
Jesus said the covenant he was making was “in his blood.” Less than a day after Jesus spoke these words, he was nailed to the cross, where he bled and died. Being nailed to a cross was normally a punishment for criminals, the worst of the worst. But when Jesus was nailed to the cross, he had not done anything wrong or broken a single law. Instead, he was being punished for the things we have done wrong.
The special word we use to describe disobeying God’s good commands is “sin.” In the Bible, God tells us the punishment for every sin is death: a forever, fiery death outside of his good kingdom. That’s why Jesus let himself be nailed to the cross. He died to pay the forever, fiery punishment of our sins.
Jesus’ unbreakable covenant promise to his disciples was this: “I am going to shed my blood. I’m going to die on the cross to pay for all your sins. And on the third day, I’m going to rise from the dead! If you believe in me, I'll forgive every single one of your sins and give you forever life in the kingdom of God.”
What a wonderful promise Jesus made to his disciples! And here’s the good news: Jesus’ promise wasn’t just for the twelve men in the room with him that night. It was for every one who has ever sinned (including you and me)! Jesus asks us to believe in him. To believe that he died to pay for our sins and rose from the dead on the third day. If we do, all those wonderful promises Jesus gave the disciples will be ours, too! We’ll be rescued from the forever, fiery death of our sins and spend forever in God’s good kingdom!
God has kept his covenant promise to Noah to never again flood the whole earth. If he hadn’t kept it, you and I wouldn’t be here! Our God is a promise-keeping God. When he promises to do something, he always does it! So we can be sure that Jesus will keep his covenant promise to us, too! If we believe the good news of Jesus, God promises to rescue us from our sins just as he rescued Noah from the flood!
+ What covenant promise did Jesus make to his disciples?
+ What did Jesus do so that we could be saved from the punishment of sin?