Genesis 7:22-24 describe the overwhelming and comprehensive effect of the waters, which “destroyed all living things” (Genesis 7:23, NKJV) and “prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days” (Genesis 7:24, NKJV). It is against this background of total annihilation and hopelessness that “God remembered” (Genesis 8:1). This phrase is situated in the center of the texts covering the Flood, an indication that this idea is the central message of the Flood story.
Read Genesis 8:1. What does it mean that God “remembered” Noah?
The verb zakhar, “remember,” means that God had not forgotten; it is more than just a mental exercise. In the biblical context the “God who remembers” means the fulfillment of His promise and often refers to salvation (see Genesis 19:29). In the context of the Flood, “God remembered” means that the waters “stopped” (Genesis 8:2) and that Noah will soon be able to leave the ark (Genesis 8:16).
Though no direct command is yet given to leave, Noah takes the initiative and sends first a raven, and then a dove, to test the situation. Finally, when the dove does not come back, he understands “that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked” (Genesis 8:13, NKJV).
Noah’s behavior is rich in practical lessons. On one hand, it teaches us to trust God even though He does not yet directly speak; on the other hand, faith does not deny the value of thinking and testing. Faith does not exclude the duty to think, to seek, and to see if what we learned is true.
And yet, Noah goes out only when God, finally, tells him to do so (Genesis 8:15-19). That is, even when he knows it’s safe to leave, Noah still relies on God and waits for God’s signal before going out of the ark. He waited patiently within the ark. “As he had entered at God’s command, he waited for special directions to depart … At last an angel descended from heaven, opened the massive door, and bade the patriarch and his household go forth upon the earth and take with them every living thing.” — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 105.
|Read Genesis 8:1, Genesis 19:29, and Psalm 106:4. What does the expression “God remembers” mean? What does this truth mean for us, now — that is, how has God shown you that He “remembers” you?|