Friday, April 23, 2010

Genesis 8 - Olives, Doves, and Waiting

Genesis 8

What it literally says:  God keeps Noah, his family and the wildlife aboard the ark safe during the flood (1).

When the right amount of time passes, Noah sends out two birds, a raven and a dove, at different times to see if the waters have receded enough (7-12).  Noah sends the dove on three occasions.  The second flight away and back, the dove returns with an olive leaf (11); the third flight sees the dove fly away and not return (12).

God calls all those aboard the ark to come out (15).  Noah builds an altar (20), and when God "smell[s] the pleasing aroma [He says]: 'Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.  And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done" (21).

What it says to me:  Noah did a lot of waiting.  A lot.  I don't really mention it in the "literal section" above, but take the following verses into account, if I'm reading them correctly ...
  • First, in 7:24, the flood lasted 150 days.
  • Then, in 8:6, Noah waited another 40 days until he opened a window to let the raven out.
  • Verse 8 sounds like he sent the dove immediately after the raven, but when the dove returned the first time, he waited 7 more days until he sent it out again.
  • In 12, he waited 7 more days after that to release the dove for the third time.
Then you have to factor in the 40 days of rain.  I could be wrong about that, if the 40 days of rain is included in the 150 days that the flood "flooded the earth" (7:24, 8:3).  Total that's 244 days of being in the ark.  That's about 8 months stuck in a smallish, confined wildlife reserve with your family.  Hopefully Noah liked animals and his family!

We have to wait a lot on answers from God, don't we?  At least it seems that way.  He's probably speaking to us in obvious ways for which we're not looking, hoping instead He'll speak to us in the ways in which we want Him.  Does that make sense?  We just have to trust Him when we do hear His voice, that tug in our insides, no matter how crazy He sounds.  He's not.  He has such a better perspective, being able to see throughout Time and such.  There may not be any rain in our lives, but when God tells us to build an ark, it's usually the better choice to start building away.

This section also brings to mind the scientific question, "Is the ark still around today?"  Verse 4 states that "the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat."  Ever heard of the Ararat Anomaly?  Check out these web pages, these pictures and video below if you're interested.  Could it be the actual remains of Noah's Ark?

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