Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Genesis 7, 8, 9

"The Deluge", by John Martin, 1834. ...Image via Wikipedia
As I was reading this familiar account of the Flood this morning, I was suddenly struck by a passage I never really thought about extensively before.

In Genesis 8:22, Noah made a sacrifice of burnt offerings from his very limited supply of "clean" animals.  Even though he spent nearly a year in the ark God instructed him to build; even though floods destroyed all animal life from the face of the earth; even though God himself closed the door of the ark after Noah and company entered, Noah nevertheless sustained a major life changing experience.  How tempting it must have been for him to take matters in his own hands and to count the number of  "clean" animals and then to decide that he would worship God through sacrificial offerings when he was in a better position to do so, when his reserves  were built up.

But Noah chose to worship God with burnt offerings in the same manner that Abel knew to be the correct manner of worship, acceptable to God.  But worshipping God in the prescribed manner, Noah was asserting his faith that God would bless the remnant of life that he and those with him represented.

To me this appears to be a first record of sacrificial tithing. Not only did Noah have to trust that God had provided him with just enough animals to re-populate the earth and just enough for worship, but also Noah had to trust in God's sufficiency, in God's goodness,  and in his provision to supply for his (Noah's) future needs.

Face it, when Noah disembarked from the ark, the world was a completely different place.  (Please refer to  for a  comprehensive discussion of the Flood account.)  Before God told Noah that it was alright to leave the ark,  Noah didn't hear from God since  before the Flood.  Then nearly a year in the ark - Noah must have heard catastrophic rumblings, etc. going on around the ark as he was buffeted by waves and pelted by rain.  There is no record of  God talking to him in the ark.  Maybe God was silent during that time and Noah had to rest in his knowledge of God's goodness.  But, since he was human, it would also seem possible for Noah to doubt God's character and ability to withstand the turbulence he himself was experiencing.  Noah could have thought that God himself was destroyed in the Flood!   Then, finally, after he spent 2 weeks sending out birds, God tells him that it is safe to step out of the ark and God blessed him with the assurance that life would increase in number.  Noah now knew not only that God existed but also that God loved him enough to provide for him.

His response to God's love and provision was to make a sacrificial burnt offering out of what God had given him.

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  1. Kitty, I'm intrigued not only by the presentation of your blog, but the deeply thoughtful insites you shared today! My comment pertains to the time Noah spent in the ark, where you suggested that possibly he did not hear from God ... Jumping to the N.T., we see God revealed in all his fulness in Jesus, who goes on to say, "I will never leave you, I will never forsake you. I will be with you to the end". True, we have God the H.S. resident in us now, but I believe that for the O.T. believer God was continually present, bearing witness. I have to believe that his Spirit was there comforting both man and beast.

  2. Yes I do agree with you Frank. The Holy Spirit must have been a calming presence during those months cooped up in the ark. While the Holy Spirit must have comforted him, Scriptures don't record any conversations from the ark. I was mostly thinking about that.


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