[ Read Genesis Chapter 8 ]

Unforgetting. You might typically think of such an attribute as a negative one. The kind associated with someone who, say, forgives but refuses to forget. But the un-forgetting we see in the opening verse of chapter eight is a good kind. It’s the kind that remembers mercy, and communicates it to the objects of mercy in the midst of judgment. The flood came and the waters prevailed for one hundred and fifty days (Gen. 7:24). The judgment that God had promised had come, was complete, and in the opening verse of chapter eight we read the anthropomorphic expression: “Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided” (8:1). God never forgot Noah; rather, the expression “Then God remembered…” is way of saying, ‘After a period of time where God might have appeared, say, silent or distant, He undertook once again to do something on behalf of the objects of His mercy.’ For example: God remembered Abraham and delivered Lot from destruction (Gen 19:29); God remembered Rachel and opened her womb (Gen 30:22); and here God remembered Noah and all who were with him on the ark and He brought forth a wind, likely for the purpose of beginning to evaporate the waters (Gen 8:1). Even though for a time it might have seemed like Noah was forgotten in the ark as the waters prevailed on the earth, remember – he and his family were in the ark for one hundred fifty days leading up to Genesis 8:1 (not to mention the days that followed as the waters began to recede), and that might have been longer than Noah had anticipated, but through it all he and those with him were not forgotten. God remembered them and demonstrated afresh His kindness towards them by causing the waters to begin to recede. The words God spoke to Zion through the prophet Isaiah are a good reminder for all God’s people that the God who keeps His people not only does not slumber or sleep, neither does He forget. “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet I will not forget you” (Isa. 49:15).

Weather Controller. This identification is simply another way of coming around the idea of God’s sovereignty, particularly as it’s displayed in His control of nature. In the opening verse of this chapter we’re told that, “God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided” (8:1b). The waters’ recession was not simply the result of natural processes taking their place. God brought the flood so that waters increased and prevailed upon the earth, and God brought wind, likely a warm wind, to hasten the evaporation of the waters. The psalmist said that, “the waters stood above the mountains” (Ps 104:6b) but “at Your rebuke they fled” (vs. 7a). Verse eight goes on to say, “They went down into the valleys, to the place which You founded for them. You have set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth” (vs.8b-9). So the term “weather-controller” only captures one aspect of God’s sovereignty in the flood’s recession. God is also seen as the topography arranger (vs.8) and the ocean’s manager (vs.9). You can undoubtedly say – in Genesis 8 Yahweh is clearly demonstrated to be Lord over the wind and the waves. No wonder why, in Matthew 8, when Jesus arose, rebuked the winds and the sea and as a result there was great calm (Mt 8:34), the disciples marveled saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and sea obey Him?” (vs.35).

Pleased by True Worship. God’s immediate post-flood plan included worship. If you’ve ever wondered why God told Noah to take, “seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female…also seven each of birds of the air, male and female” (Gen 7:2a,3a,), yes the answer is, “to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth” (vs.3b), but that could have happened with two of every kind, so why seven of these creatures? The answer is found, at least in large part, in the fact that these animals would be used in worship. When Noah left the ark he built an altar, “and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Gen 8:20b). This was a bountiful burnt offering. We are not told exactly why Noah did this but there are likely implications given the type of offering it was and the environment that Noah found himself in. Imagine what Noah felt when he got off the ark. Perhaps he saw death wherever he turned. Whatever he saw I would have to imagine that he felt… graciously spared. Yes, Noah was justified by faith and he lived a life marked by obedience, but he was not sinless. The burnt offering, then, was likely: (a) an act of worship, particularly symbolized in how the offering was completely given to God, and (b) an act of atonement for sinfulness, per later Levitical law (Lev. 1:4), and (c) at some level, gratitude for God’s grace. Thus, this offering had all the likely components of a pleasing offering.

La satisfacción de Dios con la ofrenda de Noé se representa en la parte delantera del versículo veintiuno: “Y el SEÑOR olía un aroma relajante” (v.21a). Como se ha mencionado en la oración anterior, la lengua hebrea connota la idea de satisfacción. Tanto es así que Dios dijo en Su corazón que Él jamás volvería a maldecir la tierra por causa del hombre y que Él no destruiría a todo ser viviente de nuevo como lo había hecho (Gén. 8:21). Pero tan agradable como este sacrificio, no podía compararse con el valor de la ofrenda de una vez por todas que Dios había designado en Su Hijo. Pablo, escribiendo bajo la inspiración del Espíritu Santo, definió la muerte de Jesús como “ofrenda y sacrificio a Dios por olor aromático” (Ef 5, 2b). Esa ofrenda trae garantía de ningún castigo futuro a todos los que creen porque el Hijo de Dios agotó todo el juicio que pudiera venir apropiadamente.

Immeasurably Patient. This is another detail that could be easily overlooked. After God smelled the aroma of Noah’s sacrifice, the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done” (vs.21 emphasis added). So although wickedness would continue to spring out of the soil of man’s fallen heart, and what was said about man pre-flood (Gen 6:5) could also be said of man post-flood (Gen 8:21), God, under no compulsion from anyone, committed Himself to demonstrate immeasurable patience towards unfathomable obstinacy.

Preserver. Sometimes it can be easy to take for granted that seasons come and go, and year after year we see the arrival and departure of winter and summer, spring and fall, as though ‘this is just the way it is.’ And it is the way it is because God has committed Himself to preserve this regularity as long as “earth remains” (Gen. 8:22). So until the appointed time when God creates the new heavens and earth wherein righteousness will dwell (2 Pet 3:13), the seasons will come and go, not as the result of ‘mother nature’ but as the outworking of the commitment of God the Father.