< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Noah's Ark Part 5

Friday, February 01, 2008

Noah's Ark Part 5

(Genesis 8:6-19)

Even though the water had gone down, the earth wasn’t dry enough for Noah and his family to go out. There may have been mudslides, things shifting and settling, dead bodies decomposing (we’ve seen the Katrina pictures). Even so I’m sure the family was ready to get out of that boat with all those animals!

So Noah sent a raven out. Ravens actually feed on dead things and it really wasn’t a good choice because a Raven will land on a dead floating body to eat and rest – so that wouldn’t tell Noah if there was land yet. So next, Noah sends out a dove. Doves don’t eat dead bodies and they would never land on one.

There are a lot of thoughts about the bird part of this story. One is, they were unnecessary because God was the one who would tell Noah when it was time to come out. Another is; Noah had been waiting on God for so long he was looking for signs of encouragement, maybe he was just checking things out for his own enlightenment, maybe he was showing God he was eagerly seeking the change of his life that God had promised.

Biblical hope is not an “I wish” kind of attitude. It’s a confidence that although you haven’t received what God has promised yet, you know you will.

When the dove returned with an olive twig, he was encouraged. Olive trees can survive under water and the twig showed it was alive and growing. Noah wasn’t going to walk out onto an empty, destroyed earth. It probably still looked like it had been through a flood though – and the warm moist air they were used to was now bitingly cold in the part of the world he had landed. Explorers who have tried to hike up those mountains found them to be extremely cold and harsh.

But, everyone got off the boat. And we’ll see that the first thing Noah did was worship God.

(Genesis 8:20-22)

This is the first time an altar is mentioned in the Bible, although there had been sacrifices in the past. And remember all sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed to Christ’s sacrifice. God was teaching the people that sin is awful, that the wages of sin is death; something had to die for atonement. So that when Christ died for our sins we would be able to understand that He was the perfect and final sacrifice. This verse says the odor of the sacrifice pleased God. I think this means God appreciated the sacrifice – not “wow that smells good!”

God still appreciates our sacrifices for Him, if they really are sacrifices. What’s the saying, “a sacrifice isn’t a sacrifice unless it’s a sacrifice”? Romans 12:1 and 2says we’re to give Him all of ourselves – be living sacrifices.

Everyday we should get up and offer our lives to Him, give Him the best of us. God doesn’t want or deserve leftovers.

God tells Noah here that even though the earth has been washed clean by the flood, man’s heart still has evil tendencies in it. When we are measured against God’s Holiness we fall way short. But, in spite of that God promised Noah He wouldn’t destroy every living creature again. Noah wouldn’t have to jump every time it started to rain! God is not just our creator and judge, He is our Savior!

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