Sunday November 25, 2018
Subject: " Thanksgiving and a Promise"
Lesson Scripture: Genesis 8:15-22
III.Leaving the Ark (Genesis 8:15-19)
IV. Worshiping God (Genesis 8:20-22).
“And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20) .
God created the whole world and people to inhabit it. When Adam and Eve chose to sin so much changed. Man’s sin caused a major divide between God and humanity. Because of sin’s downward spiral, God decided it was time to start over again. He knew there was one man, Noah, who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” because he was a righteous man (see Genesis 6:8-9). So God spared Noah and his family from the devastation of the punishment—the Flood. After Noah, his family, and the animals left the ark, the world they saw was fresh and new. God made a covenant with Noah. A covenant is a pledge, a binding agreement
B. Lesson Background
II. Leaving the Ark (Genesis 8:15-19
A. God’s liberating command (Genesis 8:15-17).
1. (vs. 15). This verse says “And God spake unto Noah, saying.” After being confined to the ark for over a year, Noah and his family must have yearned to get back on dry land, but they waited for God’s directions. Once the ark rested in the mountain range of Ararat (see Genesis 8:4), Noah sent birds out to test the depths of the waters (see Genesis 8:7-12). But he still didn’t move until God told him to. Circumstances on the earth looked suitable for their disembarking, but that was no guarantee that God wanted them to exit immediately and begin their new life. Noah was not going to make a move until God told him to. Just as Noah had a command to come into the ark (see Genesis 7:1), no matter how long his confinement would be, he was going to wait for a command to go out of it. Soon God spoke to Noah. We learn what God said to him in the next verse. Note: The lesson here is that we must acknowledge God in all our ways, and set Him before us in all our decisions (see Proverbs 3:5-6). Only those who follow God’s direction and submit to His rule can be assured of His protection. When we adhere to God’s Word as our rule and allow Him to assist us in applying His principles (see Psalms 119:33-34), we will be able to see Him guiding our movements as we march through this ungodly world (see Psalms 119:35, 105; Proverbs 6:23).
2. (vs. 16). In this verse God said “Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” We are told that when the earth was completely dry (see Genesis 8:13-14), God told Noah to “Go forth of the ark” and take “thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” Noah and his passengers exited the ark when Noah was 601 years old in the second month on the 27th day of the month. If we reckon a month to be 30 days according to the Jewish calendar, Noah and his passengers would have been in the ark for 371 days. The Jews count the first day and the last day of a sequence. But the actual elapsed time was exactly one solar year. This can be determined by multiplying the 12 months in Genesis 7:11 and Genesis 8:14 by the 29 ½ days which make up a lunar month. The total from this calculation is 354 days. When we add the 11 days from the 17th to the 27thof the second month we get 365 days, or one solar year. Note: A year earlier, God invited Noah and his family to “Come thou and all thy house into the ark” indicating that He would be with him in the ark. Now a year later, God does not say Come forth, but, “Go forth,” which reveals that God, who went with Noah, stayed with him all the while, until He sent him out of the ark safely. God is true to His word, for He has said, “I will not leave thee nor forsake thee” (see Hebrews 13:5).
3. (vs. 17). Then God said in this verse, “Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” Not only was Noah and his family to exit the ark, God also told him to “Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee.” Then God listed all the animals that Noah had on board and also reminded him of their purpose. God said “that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.” God wanted them to “breed” or reproduce “abundantly” on the earth. With the exception of sea animals, at this time the only living creatures on earth were those coming out of the ark. This was God’s reminder that His will was to repopulate the earth with every type of animal He had originally created. This would truly be a new beginning for man and animals.
B. Noah’s eager obedience (Genesis 8:18-19).
1. (vs. 18). This verse says “And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him.” Obeying God’s command, without hesitation, Noah and his family exited the ark. As we said earlier, Noah made no attempts to leave the ark before God told him to. Even though he had removed the covering from the roof of the ark, he still waited for God’s instructions. Only The Lord knew when it was safe to leave the ark. We can’t help but take notice of Noah’s patience. We would do well to imitate it (see Romans 8:25; II Corinthians 6:4; Colossians 1:10-11; I Timothy 6:11; Hebrews 6:12; 10:36; 12:1; James 1:4).
2. (vs. 19). This verse says “Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.” Just as Noah and his family exited the ark, so did all the animals that he had with him.
III. Worshiping God (Genesis 8:20-22
A. Noah’s sacrifice of thanksgiving and worship (Genesis 8:20). This verse says “And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” We are told that “Noah’s” first recorded act after coming out of the ark was that he “builded an altar unto the Lord.” An “altar”was usually a stone structure on which animals were slaughtered and burned as offerings and sacrifices. Although altars may have been used earlier, this is the first time one is mentioned in Scripture and “Noah” built it for “the Lord.” After building the “altar,” he “took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” The sacrifices that “Noah” would offer to God were on behalf of himself and his family. This was Noah’s way of showing gratitude to God for His favor and mercy in saving them from the Flood as well as a sign of worship. It was entirely the right thing for “Noah” to pay homage to the One who had delivered him and his family from the Flood. It appears that the principle of sacrifice had been handed down from the days of Abel (see Genesis 4:4). Notice that Noah“offered burnt offerings on the altar” that included only“clean beast” or animals, as well as “clean fowl” or birds. Later, the law of Moses made the distinction for Israel between animals that were “clean” meaning those that were appropriate for eating and sacrifice, and those that were “unclean”meaning animals that were inappropriate for eating or sacrifice (see Leviticus 1:2, 10, 14; 11:1-47). It appears that the distinction between “clean” and “unclean” animals must have already existed in Noah’s day (at least for sacrifices) because God had commanded him to take into the ark seven each of the“clean” animals but only two each of the unclean ones (see Genesis 6:19-20; 7:2-3). Note: Under the new covenant (see Hebrews 10:16-17), Jesus Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice removed the need for anymore animal sacrifices (see Hebrews 9:24-26; 10:1-12). In addition, the laws governing what one could eat or not eat have also been removed (see Colossians 2:16-17).
B. God’s promise and commitment to Noah (Genesis 8:21-22).
1. (vs. 21). This verse goes on to say “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” We know that God was pleased with Noah’s offerings because “the Lord smelled a sweet savour.” In other words, the aroma from the sacrificial offerings smelled good to God. The description that God “smelled a sweet savour” is an anthropomorphism which means using human qualities to describe God. Since God is a spiritual being and beyond our understanding (see Isaiah 55:9), using human qualities or characteristics to describe Him help us understand what we can’t otherwise comprehend about Him. In this case, the characteristic of smell is used to describe God’s satisfaction with Noah’s sacrificial offering. Just as a sweet odor is pleasant to a person, likewise sacrifices of love are pleasing to God. This act of worship met God’s approval, so He made a commitment to Noah, his family and their descendants. God declared “in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake.” God had earlier cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin (see Genesis 3:17-19). God’s promise recorded here didn’t invalidate or remove that curse, and it won’t be removed until Jesus returns and God’s people dwell in the Holy City (see Revelation 22:3). But in His grace, God decided not to add to man’s troubles. The Lord said that the reason He will never again send a universal flood was because“the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” At first glance, this statement appears to be a contradiction since it was because of people’s “evil” hearts that God had brought the Flood on them in the first place. But now God was making a different point. God had sufficiently taught the world through the judgment of the Flood the severe lesson that He punishes sin. Now He indicated that judgment does not solve man’s sin problem. In spite of the Flood’s purification of the earth, every new generation of people would be incurably “evil” or sinful. Therefore, God’s answer to this problem of man’s sin would not be judgment over and over again, but would be providing a means of redemption for sinners. Much of the rest of Scripture is dedicated to that provision—Jesus Christ (see I Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:5-7; Colossians 1:12-14; Galatians 3:13; I Peter 1:18-19). God also declared “neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” In other words, God will never again destroy the entire earth with water. He knew that man’s thoughts and intents were “evil from his youth.” Therefore, destruction of the earth would not be the answer. Man would need a new “heart.” He would need God’s law placed in his “heart” (see Jeremiah 31:33; Hebrews 10:16). Note: We should not think that God doesn’t judge sin today or that there will be no future judgment of the world. Romans 1:18 makes it clear that God’s judgment is being revealed against sinners right now through the consequences of their sins. God gave them over to their own sinful bondage and gave them up to the consequences of their sins in their own bodies (Romans 1:21-32). One of the greatest judgments God can send to sinners is to let them have their own way and then pay for it in their own lives. That’s the judgment the world is experiencing right now. For sure, there will be a future worldwide judgment, but not a judgment of water; it will be a judgment of fire (II Peter 3:10).
2. (vs. 22). In our final verse, the Lord continued to say “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” The phrase “While the earth remaineth,”verifies that there will come a time when the earth will no longer exist. It will be destroyed as declared by II Peter 3:10. But God said until that happens there will continue to be“seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night.” In other words, the seasons here described as “seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter” as well as “day and night shall not cease” or end. The flood had interrupted the normal cycle of the seasons for a year, but that would never happen again. Instead, God reaffirmed that the rhythm of days and weeks and seasons would continue as long as the earth lasts. Without this guarantee, mankind could never be sure of having the necessities of life. Note: We know now that the steady cycle of days and nights, weeks and months, seasons and years, is maintained by the rotation of the earth on its axis and the orbit of the earth around the sun. God made it that way so that His universe would operate effectively. Although there were numerous galaxies to choose from, the Lord chose to pour His love and grace down upon the inhabitants of the earth for “The earth is the Lord’s” (see Psalms 24:1). The Lord arranged the universe so that the living things on earth might be maintained, and this includes men and women who too often forget God’s care. God’s guarantee here in Genesis 8:22 gives us hope and courage as we face an unknown future. Each time we go to bed for the night, or turn the calendar to a new month, we should be reminded that God is concerned about planet earth and its inhabitants. With the invention of the electric light and modern means of transportation and communication, our world has moved away from living by the cycles of nature established by God. We no longer go to bed at sundown and get up at sunrise, and if we don’t like the weather where we are, we can quickly travel to a different climate. But if God were to dim the sun, rearrange the seasons, or tilt the earth at a different angle, our lives would be in jeopardy. God’s “covenant of day and night” is especially meaningful to the people of Israel, for it guarantees them His care and protection so that they will never cease to be a nation (see Jeremiah 33:19-26). God’s promise that He will not send another flood is assurance to the Jews that His covenant with them will never be broken (see Isaiah 54:7-10). We may take for granted sunrise and sunset, the changing face of the moon and the changing seasons, but all of these functions are evidences that God is on the throne and keeping His promises. All creation preaches a constant sermon day after day and season after season that assures us of God’s loving care. We can trust His Word, for “there has not failed one word of all His good promise…” (see I Kings 8:56).
This week’s lesson emphasizes Noah’s thankfulness and God’s acceptance of his worship, which resulted in a promise to all future generations. After Noah exited the ark, God promised to never again destroy the earth with floodwaters. The rainbow was given as a guarantee of God’s promise (see Genesis 9:13-17). We can all appreciate the beauty of a rainbow, which often signals that a rainstorm is over. Every time we see a rainbow in the sky, we should be reminded that it is a sign that God will never again send a universal flood to devastate the earth and destroy mankind. The rainbow is therefore a reminder to mankind of God’s marvelous grace. Whenever we see one, we should thank God for His love, His mercy, His grace, and for all His promises none of which will ever fail (see II Corinthians 1:20).