For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.
- Genesis 7:17-20
We recently went on a long trek – not forty days, just two weeks. We drove from Pennsylvania to White Bear Lake, Minnesota. We attended a wedding there, the one I talked about a few days ago. The wedding was the day after our grandson’s birthday, but he wasn’t at home anyway. We left Minnesota and drove to the Memphis, Tennessee area. We attended a birthday party about a week late for our grandson (the middle of five grandchildren and the oldest of our younger son’s children) and about a week early for our granddaughter. We then drove home to Pennsylvania. The trip covered over 2600 miles, not including the side trips along the way, and there were several of those.
My wife and I talked a lot along the journey. Two of our topics of discussion were really about the same thing: the status of farmer’s fields and flooding. My wife saw the corn in Minnesota and Iowa and could not believe it was corn. It was too short, a lack of growth. We talked about the floods and how the ground had to dry after the flood waters subsided before the tractors could get onto the fields without sinking. Some corn was a lot higher, more growth, but you could tell that the field was elevated with better drainage.
As we travelled south from Minnesota to Tennessee, we saw two amazing contrasts, which raised the second topic of discussion, the flooding. The corn and other crops were well established in some areas, but other areas had not yet been planted. Then my wife saw a huge expanse of farmland that was under water. She asked if these fields were catfish farms. I told her the fields were probably flooded. There was no sign of aeration paddles to provide air in the water for the catfish. In one field, I noticed the field was cut in half by railroad tracks, a rail spur going to a nearby factory. The tracks were the only thing over several acres of land above the water level. Within a few miles of that field, we reached an area where only trees could be seen above the water level. A mile or so later, we got to a bridge over the Missouri River. When we reached the Mississippi River a couple of hours later, we noted that the flooded area on the Arkansas side of the river was nearly the last three miles of the interstate highway.
This got me to thinking about Noah and the flood. Most people know the story, or the myth regarding the story. Noah brought a pair of each animal onto the ark and it flooded for 40 days and 40 nights. Then they left the ark when it landed on Mount Ararat.
Um, we might need to read Genesis 7 and 8 again if that is what you got out of the story. I did not copy the chapters in this post, so you may need to read it on your own.
Genesis 7:4 states that God told Noah to get on the ark and the flood will start in seven days. So, Noah was in the ark with all those animals for seven days before the rain started. Did his sons ask questions? Did any of them doubt? And notice in these first verses of Genesis 7 that God provided the animals to Noah. Noah and his sons did not have to go wrangling the cattle and such.
Genesis 7:2 states that God told Noah to take seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of unclean animals onto the ark. This answers one question. Noah and his family had something to eat, but it raises a second question. The concept of clean and unclean animals does not get established until Leviticus 20, but in raising this question, we are forgetting God’s sovereignty. He either told Noah which animals were clean and unclean or this information was already known by the early generations and later lost. Then it was restored by Moses when the Law was written.
Now let’s look at Genesis 7:24. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days. In Genesis 8:3, the waters had receded enough for the ark to come to rest on the mountains of Ararat, not specifically the Mountain. Then it is about 70 more days before the tops of the mountains were visible. Then, Noah sends out a raven, and then a dove (Genesis 8:6-8). The dove could not find a perch, so Noah waited seven more days and sent it out again (Genesis 8:10). The dove returned with an olive leaf, but when Noah sent the dove out again seven days later, it did not return (Genesis 8:11-12). This confirmed that the earth was dry (Genesis 8:13), but Noah did not venture from the ark until God told him to do so, roughly 55 days later.
So, let’s do a little math. They went into the ark 7 days before the flood. The flooding lasted 40 days. The flooded earth lasted 150 days. Then the water receded for 70 days before the tops of the mountains showed. Then the sending of the doves took 14 days. Then, Noah waited for God to give him the okay, another 55 days. The text is not precise. Some of these could overlap or there could be gaps. It is hard to tell with the information given, but Noah might have stayed in the ark with his family for 336 days, a year in the Jewish calendar (non-Jubilee year). For sure, Noah had a birthday on the ark (Genesis 8:13). Ignoring the various references to time passing, Noah was 600 when the flood started and Noah remained on the ark 55 days past his 601st birthday. If we could say that Noah turned 600 as the flood started, then they remained on the ark for over a year.
But who was on the ark with him? Genesis 7:13 says that Noah and his three sons and their wives were on the ark. How long did it take Noah to build his vineyard and create his first wine? Was the wine mentioned in Genesis 9:21 the first fruits from that vineyard? Even so, Canaan was cursed as a result. Did the sons of Noah have children on the ark? The Hebrew means of story telling ignored children in most cases, thus there were probably three generations on the ark, tending the animals, not just the eight that were mentioned.
I skipped over God’s covenant with Noah (Genesis 9:1-17) and the rainbow that is the symbol of that covenant. It is a covenant that has never been broken and will not be broken, regardless of the fear-mongering panic-stricken global climate change proponents. These fear peddlers spread more fear than science. I am not denying climate change. I am not denying the present trend regarding moisture laden air, but God is faithful in that He will never use a flood to wash us all away. The key is ALL.
A rainbow may not be comfort to those who have lost their homes in the floods this year. With the waters taking forever to go down and the likelihood of more tropical storms before the Missouri and Mississippi get below flood stage, the immediate future is bleak for farmers in the flood zones. Some farmers may lose their farms as a result, but the waters will eventually recede. And the toxic algae blooms, caused by the upstream nutrients being flushed from the flooded fields, are making a mess of the Gulf, and the dumping of fresh water into the salt water estuaries to save the populated areas from flooding is causing the salt water sea creatures to move further toward the coast. A great deal is changing, and as things change, people’s lives change. Changing for better or worse, depends on our trust in a sovereign God.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.