And the waters prevailed upon the earth for 150 days.
Now, first of all, it was a great mercy to escape the wickedness of a wicked world, to be delivered from the blasphemies, the daring excess of iniquity which abounded openly on every side, to be rescued from sights and sounds that only jarred upon a soul that thirsted for the living God; when the door was closed, and the little Church and family of God were separated from the sinners; when the rain descended and the world began to drown; when Noah and his children felt themselves alone with God, there must have been an inexpressible sensation of release. However awful the scene without, they were able to live without disturbance, and to be at rest. And yet while in this, their awful and most merciful severance from the world, we see some, though lesser, trials. As that calm and holy house moved on from day to day, from month to month, was there not with all its peace, with all its opportunity of undisturbed intercourse with God, the loss of much that had rejoiced the soul? As day rose on day, must not the sense of confinement and restraint have come at times over the faithful Noah and his sons? Must there not have risen some longings for the green meadows and the evening walk, the beauty of the fields and the cheerful sights of God's excellent works, that give great pleasure to godly men? To be shut in that lonely house, and to see the spring and the summer come round, the changing seasons without any change to them, all watery and blank without, must have been a trial; and yet the very fact of such a cutting off from the world and worldly things, of such loss and privation of pleasures, innocent and allowed, likens this sojourn in the ark to a long and holy fast — a lengthened Lent filling up the circle of a year. But still, we may be sure that Noah looked upon it as a space of retirement, which was to be carefully husbanded and spent for the profit of his soul. The very loss of innocent delights, the very separation from the world, must have led Noah to search for some proper duties and proper work, there providentially assigned, and there to be fulfilled. We cannot but believe that the months were crowded with constant meditations on the things of God, constant liftings up of soul, and constant exercises of faith. No idle space was it to the man of God, and, though inactive as regards the labours of the world, it was a season of spiritual husbandry and of inward toil. And thus when Noah walked forth on that sort of Easter time of the visible material world, he was doubtless all the more prepared for future trials, with a still firmer trust in God, a still sublimer faith, a deeper knowledge of the things of God, and with a larger measure of spiritual strength. And now to turn from the stay of Noah in the ark to ourselves, it is true that, while such a kind of retirement from the world can never be given to us, and that such a length of retirement may never be given, yet God does carry us away, at times, from active life, and shuts upon us the door of our house, as it were the door of the ark. Often in the midst of our life, our hand is forced from the plough, our feet from the crowded ways of the world; and even of the guileless pleasures which good men may find in the works of God, we are for a time deprived. Surely, in our wiser and more thoughtful hours, we may thank God for these forced seasons of retirement, forced upon us that we may escape the pollutions of the world, study our Saviour's will and word, give ourselves to fervent and more frequent prayer, commune with our heart and in our chamber, and be still — examine the tenor of our past lives, repent deeply, and at length, of those things which we have done amiss and contrary to the motions of the Spirit of grace, break off evil habits that have been formed, or are beginning to be formed, and by dwelling on all the love and all the truths of Jesus our Lord, be moved to consecrate ourselves afresh to Him, and to make our sickness the beginning of a more holy life.
Parable of the ten virgins speaks of a final separation. "The door was shut." 'There our thoughts are turned to those without; here, to those within. The time was come when the choice must be made. "Come thou and all thy house into the ark." The broad and narrow way. The confinement of the ark or the freedom of home; and, in view of the flood, the frail vessel or the mountains. Trust in Christ or trust in self (cf. Romans 10:3
). He chose the way of faith. God shut him in (cf. Isaiah 26:3
). He knew he was safe. The world saw no good in it. The pause of seven days (ver. 10) illustrates the present state. Believers rejoicing in their safety; the world unconvinced of danger.
I. CHRIST OFFERS SAFETY TO ALL. The ark was prepared that all might be saved. The condemnation was because they did not care (John 3:19). There was room and welcome for all who would come (cf. Luke 14:22). Noah did not preach impossible things. When Jericho was destroyed Rahab was saved. When Sodom, Lot. God bids all seek and find refuge in Christ (Romans 3:22).
II. CHRIST IS A REFUGE FROM THE CONVICTION OF SIN. How many are living without serious concern. Not rejecting the gospel; they hear it, and approve, and think that all is well. Like St. Paul, "alive without the law." God's commandments not understood; his holiness not known. Let such a one be led to see how God's law reaches to the springs of life and feeling, and to feel the working of the "law of sin" in his members; then what a flood. "Who will show us any good?" Good deeds cannot give peace. Worldly good as wormwood. Conscience repeats, He has been knocking, and I have not opened (Proverbs 1:26). Yet, hark! his voice again: "Come unto me." It is not too late. Even now, if thou wilt, the Lord will shut thee in.
III. THE SAFETY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE, whom God shuts in. Who shall lay anything to their charge? Who shall condemn? Who shall separate? (Romans 8:33-35). The flood is without. Noah is weak and helpless as the world. His safety is God's refuge. The Christian is surrounded by evil influences, messengers of Satan. Temptations to worldliness or to spiritual pride; cares and anxieties hindering prayer; suggestions of unbelief, and hard thoughts of God; the fainting of nature because so little progress made. But in Christ is safety. Coming to him daily as we are; with weak faith, with many perplexities, with the marks of many falls. His word is, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." In the trials of life "we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." - M.
Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. I.
THEN MORAL GOODNESS IS SOMETIMES A SAFEGUARD FROM THE IMMINENT PERILS OF LIFE.
II. THEN MORAL GOODNESS IS SIGNALLY HONOURED AND REWARDED BY GOD.
III. THEN MORAL GOODNESS MAY SOMETIMES BRING A MAN INTO THE MOST UNUSUAL AND EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES. It may make a man lonely in his occupation and life mission, even though he be surrounded by a crowded world; it may make him unique in his character, and it may render him solitary in his preservation and safety.
A mariner in a storm would very fain save his goods, but to save his ship he heaves them overboard, a tender-hearted mother corrects her child, whereas the stripes are deeper in her heart than in its flesh. As it was said of a judge who, being about to pass sentence of death upon an offender, said, "I do that good which I would not." Thus God, more loving than the careful mariner, more tender than the indulgent mother, and more merciful than the pitiful judge, is willingly unwilling that any sinner should die. He punisheth no man as he is a man, but as he is a sinful man; He loves him, yet turns him over to justice. It is God's work to punish, but it is withal His strange work, His strange and foreign act, not His good will and pleasure.
PeopleHam, Japheth, Noah, Shem
TopicsFifty, Flooded, Hundred, Mighty, Prevailed, Waters
Outline1. Noah, his family and the living creatures enter the ark.
6. The flood begins.
17. The increase of the flood for forty days.
21. All flesh is destroyed by it.
24. Its duration of 150 days.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 7:1-24
7203 ark, Noah's
7227 flood, the
LibraryOn Gen. vii. 6
On Gen. vii. 6 Hippolytus, the Syrian expositor of the Targum, has said: We find in an ancient Hebrew copy that God commanded Noah to range the wild beasts in order in the lower floor or storey, and to separate the males from the females by putting wooden stakes between them. And thus, too, he did with all the cattle, and also with the birds in the middle storey. And God ordered the males thus to be separated from the females for the sake of decency and purity, lest they should perchance get intermingled …
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus
An Exposition on the First Ten Chapters of Genesis, and Part of the Eleventh
An unfinished commentary on the Bible, found among the author's papers after his death, in his own handwriting; and published in 1691, by Charles Doe, in a folio volume of the works of John Bunyan. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR Being in company with an enlightened society of Protestant dissenters of the Baptist denomination, I observed to a doctor of divinity, who was advancing towards his seventieth year, that my time had been delightfully engaged with John Bunyan's commentary on Genesis. "What," …
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3
ON the revival of science in the 16th century, some of the earliest conclusions at which philosophers arrived were found to be at variance with popular and long-established belief. The Ptolemaic system of astronomy, which had then full possession of the minds of men, contemplated the whole visible universe from the earth as the immovable centre of things. Copernicus changed the point of view, and placing the beholder in the sun, at once reduced the earth to an inconspicuous globule, a merely subordinate …
Frederick Temple—Essays and Reviews: The Education of the World
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Mal. 3:10). Down deep in the heart of every Christian there is undoubtedly the conviction that he ought to tithe. There is an uneasy feeling that this is a duty which has been neglected, or, if you prefer it, a privilege that has not been …
Arthur W. Pink—Tithing
Exhortations to those who are Called
IF, after searching you find that you are effectually called, I have three exhortations to you. 1. Admire and adore God's free grace in calling you -- that God should pass over so many, that He should pass by the wise and noble, and that the lot of free grace should fall upon you! That He should take you out of a state of vassalage, from grinding the devil's mill, and should set you above the princes of the earth, and call you to inherit the throne of glory! Fall upon your knees, break forth into …
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial
Journey to Jerusalem. Ten Lepers. Concerning the Kingdom.
(Borders of Samaria and Galilee.) ^C Luke XVII. 11-37. ^c 11 And it came to pass, as they were on their way to Jerusalem, that he was passing along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. [If our chronology is correct, Jesus passed northward from Ephraim about forty miles, crossing Samaria (here mentioned first), and coming to the border of Galilee. He then turned eastward along that border down the wady Bethshean which separates the two provinces, and crossed the Jordan into Peræa, where we soon …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
Appendix ii. Philo of Alexandria and Rabbinic Theology.
(Ad. vol. i. p. 42, note 4.) In comparing the allegorical Canons of Philo with those of Jewish traditionalism, we think first of all of the seven exegetical canons which are ascribed to Hillel. These bear chiefly the character of logical deductions, and as such were largely applied in the Halakhah. These seven canons were next expanded by R. Ishmael (in the first century) into thirteen, by the analysis of one of them (the 5th) into six, and the addition of this sound exegetical rule, that where two …
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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