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Genesis 8:1-19
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1.   Should we be completely fearless? 2.   Who was saved from God's punishment?
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Genesis 8:1-19

Paraphrased: God recalled Noah and all the animals in the ark, and he made a wind blow for the waters to subside.  The rain stopped by God's command, and the waters began to recede.  At the end of 150 days, the waters decreased (about 5 months).  The ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.   The waters continued to decrease until the 10th month; in the tenth month, on day one, the tops of the mountains were showing (2 1/2 more months passed).

***Interjection*** Notice the timeline.  Many assume the flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights.  The "rain" lasted 40 days and 40 nights, but the "flood" lasted additional 7 1/2 months, plus 47 more days (see next). 

40 more days passed and Noah opened the window of the ark and sent out a raven.   It went out and about until the waters were dried up.  He also sent out a dove, to see if the waters had subsided from the ground. She returned to the ark, as there was no place to set her foot.  So he put out his hand and took her back.  He waited 7 more days and set him out again.  The dove came back in the evening with a freshly picked olive leaf.  So Noah Knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.  He waited another 7 days and sent out the dove, and she didn't return to him anymore.

***Interjection***  Have you ever wondered why a dove was a symbol of peace?  Well here you go, the classic understanding of the dove and the olive branch comes from this story of Noah and the ark.  Apparently the raven wasn't doing the job, so Noah sent out the dove.  The olive branch signified that trees were coming up from the land. 

In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters dried up.  Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked and the face of the ground was dry.  In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.  Then God said to Noah, "Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and son's wives with you.  Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh- birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth - that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth."  So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him.  Every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out by families from the ark.

***Interjection*** At God's command all of them went out from the ark.  Notice that God told Noah exactly when the rain would start and when to go into the ark, but he never told him when the flood would subside.  It became almost 9 months for them in the ark.  This must have been a period of growing in faith and trust in God that the land would eventually reappear.  
Notice God told Noah when to leave the ark, yet Noah still sent out a raven and a dove out of curiosity.  Have you ever done this with God?  You trust Him to come through for you, but you just need to peek.  I do this all the time.  I just want to peek ahead, but God's way is always perfect and on time.  A nugget of truth that I take away from this is the need for patience.  God is not an app on your phone, like an instant download.  When you pray, He works, but not on your time.  We live in a world where everything is instant: instant coffee, fast internet, and instant EVERYTHING on your mobile device (you can even start your car from your phone!).  The storm took 40 days and 40 nights, but the process for peace took another 8 months! Will you trust Him through the process?  This is the most crucial time for your faith.  It can either grow or fade and the choice is yours.  You will either seek God and find peace as the flood subsides over time, or you will slowly take your eyes from God and find pain and turmoil, as only He can satisfy whether you are in a time of peace or in the time of a storm.  I choose God in every time.  

Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books likely written by Solomon, the wisest and richest man who every lived.  I'd like to end with his understanding of seasons:

 

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Next week: We will study Genesis 9.  God will make a covenant with Noah and we will see what the real reason that God gives us a beautiful rainbow.  Sometimes he sends two a the same time :) 
I will answer on the next lesson.
My pastor at Commissioned Church will be my accountability.
Please come check us out if you live in the northern VA/DC area.  We are meeting at Newington Forest Elementary School and service starts at 11am.
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