Genesis 8:12

The raven and the dove. While this passage has its natural, historical fitness, we cannot overlook its symbolical significance. It seems to set forth the two administrations of God, both of them going forth from the same center of his righteousness in which his people are kept safe. The one represented by the carrion bird, the raven, is THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUDGMENT, which goes forth to and fro until the waters are dried up from off the earth - finding a resting-place in the waters of destruction, though not a permanent rest; returning to the ark, as the beginning and the end of judgment is the righteousness of God. The dove is the emblem of DIVINE GRACE, spiritual life and peace. It cannot find rest in the waters of judgment until another seven days, another period of gracious manifestation, has prepared the world for it; then it brings with it the plucked-off olive leaf, emblem of retiring judgment and revealed mercy; and when yet another period of gracious manifestation has passed by, the dove shall return no more to the ark, for the ark itself is no more needed - the waters are abated from off the face of the earth. So we may say the raven dispensation was that which preceded Noah. Then followed the first sending forth of the dove unto the time of Moses, leading to a seven days' period of the ark life, waiting for another mission of grace. The dove brought back the olive leaf when the prophetic period of the old dispensation gave fuller promise of Divine mercy. But yet another period of seven days must transpire before the dove is sent forth and returns no more to the ark, but abides in the earth. After the two sacred intervals, the period of the law and the period of the prophets, which were both immediately connected with a special limited covenant such as is represented in the ark, there followed the world-wide mission of the Comforter. The waters were abated. The "Grace and Truth took possession of man's world, cursed by sin, redeemed by grace. - R.

The waters assuaged.

1. God's remembrance of His creatures during the cessation of retribution is merciful.

2. God's remembrance of His creatures during the cessation of retribution is welcome.

3. God's remembrance of His creatures during the cessation of retribution is condescending.

II. THAT IT IS MARKED BY THE OUTGOING AND OPERATION OF APPROPRIATE PHYSICAL AGENCIES. "And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged." There have been many conjectures in reference to the nature and operation of this wind; some writers say that it was the Divine Spirit moving upon the waters, and others that it was the heat of the sun whereby the waters were dried up. We think controversy on this matter quite unnecessary, as there can be little doubt that the wind was miraculous, sent by God to the purpose it accomplished. He controls the winds. The Divine Being generally works by instrumentality.

1. Appropriate.

2. Effective.

3. Natural. Anti in this way is the cessation of Divine retribution brought about.


1. That the destructive agencies of the universe are awakened by sin.

2. That the destructive agencies of the universe are subdued by the power and grace of God.

3. That the destructive agencies of the universe are occasional and not habitual in their rule.

IV. THAT IT IS MARKED BY A GRADUAL RETURN TO THE ORDINARY THINGS AND METHOD OF LIFE. This return to the ordinary condition of nature is —

1. Continuous.

2. Rapid.

3. Minutely chronicled.The world is careful to note the day on which appeared the first indication of returning joy, when after a long period of sorrow the mountain tops of hope were again visible. It is fixed in the memory. It is written in the book. It is celebrated as a festival. Lessons —

1. That the judgments of God, though long and severe, will come to an end.

2. That the cessation of Divine judgment is a time of hope for the good.

3. That the cessation of Divine judgment is the commencement of a new era in the life of man.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

On the slopes of Ararat was the second cradle of the race, the first village reared in a world of unseen graves.

I. It was THE VILLAGE OF THE ARK, a building fashioned and fabricated from the forests of a drowned and buried world. To the world's first fathers it must have seemed a hallowed and venerable form.

II. The village of the ark was THE VILLAGE OF SACRIFICE. They built a sacrificial altar in which fear raised the stones, tradition furnished the sacrifice, and faith kindled the flame.

III. The first village was THE VILLAGE OF THE RAINBOW. It had been seen before in the old world, but now it was seen as a sign of God's mercy, His covenant in Creation.

IV. The village of the ark gives us our FIRST CODE OF LAWS. As man first steps forth with the shadows of the Fall around him, scarce a principle seems to mark the presence of law. Here we advance quite another stage, to a new world; the principles of law are not many, but they have multiplied. As sins grow, laws grow. Around the first village pealed remote mutterings of storms to come.

V. The village of the ark was THE VILLAGE OF SIN. Even to Noah, the most righteous of men, sin came out of the simple pursuit of husbandry. A great, good man, the survivor of a lost world, the stem and inheritor of a new, he came to the moment in life of dreadful overcoming.

(E. P. Hood.)

I. SIN PUNISHED. Mount Ararat was a solemn witness to the severity of God's judgments upon a guilty world.

II. GRACE REVEALED. Mount Ararat saw Divine grace displayed to sinful men.

III. SALVATION ENJOYED. Mount Ararat beheld salvation enjoyed by believing sinners: This temporal deliverance was a type of the spiritual. Immeasurably grander, however, will be the salvation of the saints.

1. In respect of its character, being spiritual instead of merely temporal.

2. In respect of its measures, being complete and not merely partial.

3. In respect of its duration, being eternal, and not merely for a brief term of years.

IV. GRATITUDE EXPRESSED. Mount Ararat heard the adorations and thanksgivings of a redeemed family.

V. SAFETY CONFIRMED. Mount Ararat listened to the voice of God confirming the salvation of His people.

(T. Whitelaw, M. A.)

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.)

What a splendid spectacle! The resting of an eagle who, after soaring half-way to the sun, and stretching across whole provinces; at last, the light of the evening gleaming on her golden feathers, folds on the crag her unwearied wing; the resting of a ship of the line at anchor after contending all day with the angry billows; even the resting of the great moon, as if tired with her long journey through the ether, upon some mount of pines or some hill of snow — are only faint images of the sublimity of the scene, when the Wanderer of the Waters, the God-built ship, its journey done, its work accomplished, its glory gathered, its crew safe, the commencement of a new era of hope for earth through it secured, calmly, and one would almost dream, consciously, reposes upon the proud summit which God has prepared to bear its burden and to share in its immortal fame.

(G. Gilfillan.)

Noah anchored his ark to the Providence of God. No sails were unfurled to the breeze, no oars were unshipped to move the lumbering ark, no rudder was employed to steer. The Providence of God was deeper than the winds and waves and contrary current; and to that, he fastened his barque with the strong cable of faith. Hence the security of the ark with its living freight.

(W. Adamson.)

When Alexander the Great was asked how he could sleep so soundly and securely in the midst of surrounding danger, he replied that he might well repose when Parmenis watched. Noah might well be in peace, since God had him in charge. A gentleman, crossing a dreary moor, came upon a cottage. When about to leave, he said to its occupant, "Are you not afraid to live in this lonely place?" To this the man at once responded, "Oh! no, for faith closes the door at night, and mercy opens it in the morning." Thus was Noah kept during the long night of the deluge; and mercy opened the door for him.

(W. Adamson.)

Tops of the mountains seen.

To realize this, let us suppose ourselves standing on a hill on a September morning, surrounded by a sea of mist. Nothing for awhile is visible but wild, rolling waves of dripping darkness, till at last the sun looks out, a wind begins to blow, and then there loom forth, peak after peak, the hundred hills around, starting up, as if newly created, from the gulf below, their bases still bathed in mist, but their tops crowned with light, and resembling the islands of some "melancholy main." It is one of the sublimest of spectacles, reminding you of the worlds rising out of chaos, of God's "calling the things that were not, and they appeared," and compelling you, the spectator, to uncover, as the mountains have doge, in the presence of the God of day, although you see in him, what they do not, only the vicegerent of his heavenly King. And similar, but still more striking, must have been to Noah's eye, as he stood on the sides of the resting ark, the sight of the ancient landmarks of nature reappearing, the ridges of Taurus heaving up like islands through the waters, their shows for the time melted, and perhaps over them all, in the remote distance, the "Finger Mount" arising, relieved against, and pointing significantly to the calm blue sky! Sight reminding us of the rising of great buried truths, as at the Reformation, out of the darkness of ages; struggling, too, to free themselves from the incrustations of error, as the lion from the impediments of the Daedal earth, Sight reminding us of the resurrection of great reputations buried under loads of calumny, or whelmed in deluges of oblivion, into the light of general appreciation, and the consecration of long-denied reverence and love. Sight reminding us of the resurrection of the dead from their sepulchres — specially, shall we say, of the resurrection of aged and venerable patriarchs, having left their hoary hairs in the dust, arising to the vigour and freshness of immortal youth.

(G. Gilfillan.)

Mount Ararat
Added, Didn't, Dove, Forth, Return, Returned, Seven, Stayed, Stayeth, Turn, Waited, Yet
1. God remembers Noah and calms the waters.
4. The ark rests on Ararat.
6. Noah sends forth a raven and then a dove.
13. Noah, being commanded, goes forth from the ark.
20. He builds an altar, and offers sacrifices,
21. which God accepts, and promises to curse the earth no more.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 8:1-19

     7203   ark, Noah's

Genesis 8:8-12

     4636   dove

Genesis 8:10-12

     5977   waiting

December 27. "He Sent Forth the Dove which Returned not Again unto Him" (Gen. viii. 12).
"He sent forth the dove which returned not again unto him" (Gen. viii. 12). First, we have the dove going forth from the ark, and finding no rest upon the wild and drifting waste of sin and judgment. This represents the Old Testament period, perhaps, when the Holy Ghost visited this sinful world, but could find no resting-place, and went back to the bosom of God. Next, we have the dove going forth and returning with the olive leaf in her mouth, the symbol and the pledge of peace and reconciliation,
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

'Clear Shining after Rain'
'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; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sermon of the Seasons
"Oh, the long and dreary Winter! Oh, the cold and cruel Winter!" We say to ourselves, Will spring-time never come? In addition to this, trade and commerce continue in a state of stagnation; crowds are out of employment, and where business is carried on, it yields little profit. Our watchmen are asked if they discern any signs of returning day, and they answer, "No." Thus we bow our heads in a common affliction, and ask each man comfort of his fellow; for as yet we see not our signs, neither does
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

The Best of the Best
"I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."--Song of Solomon 2:1. THE time of flowers has come, and as they are in some faint degree emblems of our Lord, it is well, when God thus calls, that we should seek to learn what he desires to teach us by them. If nature now spreads out her roses and her lilies, or prepares to do so, let us try, not only to see them, but to see Christ as he is shadowed forth in them. "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys." If these are the words
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 42: 1896

The Unchangeable One
Psalm cxix. 89-96. For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants. Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me:
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

On Gen. viii. I
On Gen. viii. I Hippolytus, the expositor of the Targum, and my master, Jacobus Rohaviensis, have said: On the twenty-seventh day of the month Jiar, which is the second Hebrew month, the ark rose from the base of the holy mount; and already the waters bore it, and it was carried upon them round about towards the four cardinal points of the world. The ark accordingly held off from the holy mount towards the east, then returned towards the west, then turned to the south, and finally, bearing off eastwards,
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus

The Song of the Three Children
DANIEL iii. 16, 17, 18. O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. We read this morning, instead of the Te Deum, the Song of the Three Children, beginning, 'Oh all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation,
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

That it is Profitable to Communicate Often
The Voice of the Disciple Behold I come unto Thee, O Lord, that I may be blessed through Thy gift, and be made joyful in Thy holy feast which Thou, O God, of Thy goodness hast prepared for the poor.(1) Behold in Thee is all that I can and ought to desire, Thou art my salvation and redemption, my hope and strength, my honour and glory. Therefore rejoice the soul of Thy servant this day, for unto Thee, O Lord Jesus, do I lift up my soul.(2) I long now to receive Thee devoutly and reverently, I desire
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Covenanting Enforced by the Grant of Covenant Signs and Seals.
To declare emphatically that the people of God are a covenant people, various signs were in sovereignty vouchsafed. The lights in the firmament of heaven were appointed to be for signs, affording direction to the mariner, the husbandman, and others. Miracles wrought on memorable occasions, were constituted signs or tokens of God's universal government. The gracious grant of covenant signs was made in order to proclaim the truth of the existence of God's covenant with his people, to urge the performance
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

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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