The Resting of Noah's Ark
Genesis 8:1-5
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark…

The ark of Noah, so far as man was concerned, was left alone upon the waters — no human hand steered it, no human counsel guided it. It was like many a poor soul which is struggling, perhaps, its heavenward way through difficulties and fears, without one earthly friend to comfort it, or one heart in all the world to which to turn for solace and advice. And yet not alone was it tossed and heaved upon this solitary waste. There was an arm unseen directing it, there was strength unseen supporting it, and love unseen that was wafting it. The inhabitants of the ark, at that time, constituted the whole body of God's believing people. "Are there few that shall be saved?" asked one of old. Yes, they are few, but they are all that can be saved; all that, by the largest stretch of mercy, consistent with God's justice, can be brought in, shall be brought in. There is no class on earth, if I may so speak, which has not got its representative in heaven. For 150 days — and when, we would ask you, was waiting time stretched out so long? — for 150 days Noah was left without any visible token of God's care, when, as the narrative simply and beautifully goes on, "God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark." Yes; for everything when it comes into covenant with God becomes, from that moment, dear to God. You may be the least — you may be the vilest of all His creatures, but if you are in the ark, if you are a Christian, God must love you. If the whole world is crying in terror, to a good and merciful God we must go: He has a store for His children. How many a man has had reason to look back and say, "That long, tedious affliction which seemed to me as if it would never end — what has it been to me but the saving of my soul? It has been the snatching of me from that destruction where thousands of my companions have perished, and where perhaps I should have been this day, but for God afflicting me"? The heaviest storm that follows you must one day be calmed; the rudest wind that assails you must one day be hushed. The waters at last began to assuage, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month — it is well for the mind to keep an accurate record of the date of mercies — the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. But Noah was not so soon as this to be released from his confinement, his term was not yet half completed: five months he had been locked in the ark, but seven months more must he yet remain in it. It is natural to imagine, that this last seven months must have seemed to pass more slowly than all the time while they were lying on the waves. If the troubled time of life brings its trials, so also does its calms. It is a hard thing to sit still, and very often there are the greatest perils in the still seasons of life. When is it that the soul of man is so tempted to presumption and self-righteous confidence? When is it that we become careless? When is it that the practical duties of life are neglected, and we sit down it a most dangerous spiritual slumber? Is it not in seasons when we have been imagining that we have reached a place of rest; when the soul, through an overweening confidence, abandons its efforts as if the work were done, and settles down on its lees? Oh, when I think of the dangers of life's calms, I bless God, that the voyage is generally a rough one! When I remember the trials of the resting ark, I bless God that it is kept so long struggling in the storm! We look at the ark resting seven months upon the mountains of Ararat. What a lesson have we here against impatience! Did Noah and his family complain that they had to wait so long? Oh, no; on the contrary, we know the feelings of the mariner, after a long and dangerous voyage, when he is becalmed within sight of his native land, how he looks at the land and longs to spring upon the shore, — and much more than that, probably, was Noah's felling; — but now mark his conduct: no impatient prayer escapes his lips, no restlessness seems to disturb his mind, his faith — as God will expect all faith to be — was a waiting faith. Not even when the least drop of water had dried away would he venture to leave the ark unbidden. God had shut the ark, and God, Noah knows, must open it. Not till the welcome word is given, "Go forth," will he presume to leave the place, how dark and how drearisome soever that place may be. Now learn, from Noah's example, your line of duty under many a similar dispensation. Let us learn not to be impatient — I do not say of forbidden pleasures, that would be an easy thing; but do not be impatient of pleasure which it is permitted, nay, of pleasure which it is commanded you to enjoy; no, not for heaven itself. If God has shut any Noah in, be content to wait patiently till God shall open. It is your confidence to sit still. Take another lesson from the resting of the ark. The flood — the type of this our present life — was not yet half completed when Noah found a resting place on earth. From that hour he is, indeed, to wait for many a day before he shall be permitted to come forth; but from that hour Noah is safe. He can thus change no more, for he is anchored on a Rock. Now just so may it be with us on life's long voyage. The time when it shall be good for us to land on the eternal shore, God alone has fixed — be it ours to wait for it. Long before our sojourn is nigh full — ay, at any time in all the course — we may find a safe anchorage under the Rock of Ages; and from the happy moment when you shall have been received upon a better mountain than that of Ararat, you will feel that you will move no more. There may be a rising of the deep waters around you, but you will be settled and at rest; and oh, how triumphant will you look down on the waters and floods of this world's struggles, while your faith, standing high on the mountain of God, can feel that the foundations of eternity are under you.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;

WEB: God remembered Noah, all the animals, and all the livestock that were with him in the ship; and God made a wind to pass over the earth. The waters subsided.

The Gradual Cessation of Divine Retribution
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