Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 8 and we are going to read Genesis 8:1-3:
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.
In these verses the Lord tells us that it was at the end of 150 days (or five months) that the waters were abated. As I mentioned before, in chapter 7 the word “waters” was found nine times (3 x 3) and the waters were continually rising. In chapter 8 the “waters” are again mentioned nine times (3 x 3) and the waters were continually abating or going down. We will try to discuss this a little more later on in chapter 8, but right now we want to look at Genesis 1:1:
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark…
God remembered Noah. That is an interesting way to put it. What does it mean that He remembered Noah? First of all, let us consider if God had not remembered Noah. What would that mean? It says in Job 24:20:
The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.
This verse speaks of someone under the wrath of God and he will no more be remembered. Also, it says in Psalm 88:4-5:
I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
Again, this language has to do with God’s wrath. The pit and the grave identify with the condition of “hell.” Here, it is being said that this person is like those that lie in the grave whom God remembers no more because they are cut off. Of the people outside of the ark (all that had the breath of life), we could say that God would cut them off and remember them no more, because it typifies the final judgment of the world. And when God brings about the final destruction of the earth and all its unsaved inhabitants, then the penalty for sin will have been fully meted out in the “second death,” which is annihilation. It is the complete removal of the rebels from the presence of God by complete destruction and they will be remembered no more. The Bible tells us that the former things will not be remembered or come into mind. God has no plans to remember the sinner. There will be no memorial services held in the new heaven and new earth to ever bring them into remembrance. God has no plans of remembrance for the cursed creation. His intention is to destroy it and (unsaved) man will be no more. In the language of the Bible, he will perish forever like his own dung.
In the previous chapter, we saw that God was also highlighting His wrath and the death of the earth, its creatures and (unsaved) man outside the ark. But, here, in our verse we see God’s mercy and grace and the wonderful news for the people of God – they are remembered by God in the Day of Judgment.
Let us take a look at a couple of verses. It says in Exodus 2:23-24:
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
Here, we also see the word “remembered,” the same word that was used concerning God remembering Noah. In Exodus 2, verse 24 the children of Israel were groaning in Egypt and that language identifies with God’s elect that are groaning in the world, because Egypt is a picture of the world. It says in Romans 8:23:
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. ** The elect are “groaning” as they wait for that day of the completion of all things, the day of the resurrection or rapture. It is the day that the people of God will receive their new resurrected spiritual bodies and receive their inheritance of the new heaven and new earth, which was the promise made, again, and again, in the Bible. It was the promise spoken to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It was the covenant God gave to those patriarchs, but it was really the promise to all the people of God. So, here, God heard the groaning of the Israelites in their bondage in Egypt and He “remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.” What happened when God remembered His covenant? He brought about their deliverance, as it says in Exodus 6:4-5:
And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am JEHOVAH, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:
This was all part of the process of God “remembering” His covenant. First of all, He brought plagues upon Egypt and destroyed the mighty power of the Egyptians, climaxing with the death of Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. It was all part of a step-by-step plan of God to fulfill His promise of the covenant given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give them the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession. Of course, all of that is historical, except for the part about an everlasting possession. The delivery of the Israelites out of Egypt and their entrance into Canaan resulted in them receiving their inheritance by lot in the Promised Land. It was historical, but it pointed to the giving of the eternal land of the kingdom of God, the new heaven and new earth. All the things promised to Israel of old will have a spiritual fulfilment for the spiritual Israel of God, which are counted for the seed of Abraham in Christ. The “land” was given to the seed (Jesus) and to seeds (His elect), as God remembered His covenant.
We read in Psalm 105:6-11:
O ye seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. He is JEHOVAH our God: his judgments are in all the earth. He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance:
Then there were stages. Actually, the entire history of the world is an unfolding of God’s plan to fulfill His promise of giving the eternal land (the new heavens and new earth) to the promised seed, the body of believers. Everything else is just steps or periods within that program. The first coming of Christ had to do with that. The church age had to do with that in the saving of the firstfruits. The Latter Rain had to do with that with the saving of the great multitude outside of the churches and the completing of God’s salvation program. These things were all parts of the overall promise of God to fulfill His covenant and God has not “forgotten.” That is one thing that stands out when we look at the flood account and we see that God had great concern and love for Noah and his family and for the animals on the ark. He delivered them from the flood and shut them in the ark. Then God fulfilled His Word to Noah to destroy the earth with a flood as the waters began to rise.
You know, it is hard for us to do, but try to put yourself in the place of Noah and the others on board the ark. It kept raining. It just kept raining and there was total devastation. It was a calamity unmatched by anything else that has happened in the history of the world and everything outside the ark was utterly destroyed. It rained and rained for forty days and forty nights and even when it stopped raining the waters continued to rise for five months. Five months is a very long time for people isolated inside an ark. They could not go anywhere. If you have ever talked to people on aircraft carriers that go out on the ocean for six months at a time and they tend to go “stir crazy.” That is just an expression, but they become very anxious to get off the ship and to reach land. It would have been very difficult to experience that voyage for five months and then there was nothing left in all the world. “What about us? What is going to happen to us? Has God forgotten us? Has God forgotten to be gracious? He saved us and brought us into the ark, but now the waters just keep rising and rising above the highest mountain. What is going on? Where is God? Has He forgotten us?”
In Psalm, chapter 9 we have a chapter that outlines the final judgment of the world. For instance, it says in Psalm 9:17:
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
That has happened. “Hell” is the grave and when God brought Judgment Day (on May 21, 2011) He turned the nations into “hell.” In Revelation, chapter 9 we learn that the bottomless pit was opened up and smoke came out of the pit and rose up and basically covered the earth. The condition of the bottomless pit is the essence of “hell,” but that condition arose and came up to the earth and caused the earth to match the condition of the pit, so the nations were turned into “hell.” It also says in Psalm 9:18:
For the needy shall not alway be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
The wicked will always be forgotten and the expectation of the wicked will perish forever, but not the poor and needy. The “poor and needy” are synonyms for the people of God, the elect. They will not always be forgotten and their expectation will not perish forever and that fits with what God tells us in Proverbs 23:17-18:
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of JEHOVAH all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Our expectation will not be cut off and what is our expectation? We expect that God will fulfill His Word and His promises and He will give His people eternal life as we are equipped with glorious resurrected bodies to live for ever and ever in the new heavens and new earth in a glorious state of bliss and happiness. All these things will happen. That is our expectation, even though for a time there is hardship. There is no “dressing up” our time. There is no way to make this time appear gentler and kinder. It is not a gentle and kind time for the people of God. It is grievous to be tried and tested and to be proved in the fire. There is no way to escape it, but it is only for a time. It is just a certain duration of time in which these things are going on and God is assuring us that we will not always be “forgotten,” as it may appear to be the case at this point in time as we make our appearance before the judgment seat of Christ. We may think we have been forgotten, but that is not true. God has not forgotten His people, as it says in Isaiah 49:14-16:
But Zion said, JEHOVAH hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. hold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
God will not forget His people. This goes along with our not being forsaken. He will neither leave us nor forsake us. If God forgot us, we would be forsaken, but He does not. God remembers. He remembers His people. If we go back to Psalm 105, it says in Psalm 105:42-44:
For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham his servant. And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;
These verses are summarizing all the events of the exodus and the entry into the land of Canaan. Yes, God fulfilled His Word, but after delivering the Israelites He brought them into the wilderness and there was a little period of about forty years between the deliverance from Egypt and the actual entry into the Promised Land. In between there was the wilderness sojourn in which the vast majority of the Israelites perished due to unbelief. However, God did fulfill His Word, historically, and brought them into the land of Canaan.
We have a similar situation when God delivered all His elect by May 21, 2011. All that were to become saved were saved and, yet, we did not rush right into the new heaven and new earth. That is not the way God does things. Instead, God brought us into a prolonged period of judgment and testing. This period has gone on for a few years and it may go on for several years more, but can we say that God has forgotten us? Is God unfaithful? Is God not just and right and good, because I trusted He would bring me into the Promised Land, but He has not done it yet?” When we feel that way, we are really acting like the rebels in the wilderness, the unsaved Israelites that were impatient. They did not wait on God and they did not trust that the same God who delivered them and won the glorious victory over Egypt would, in His time, fulfill His Word to give them the land.
Would it not have changed everything if the Israelites had kept remembering that God is faithful and good and always fulfills His Word? He will accomplish it. It should have come from the leadership all the way down whenever anyone murmured or complained: “What are you saying? Do not even think such a thing, let alone speak it! God is faithful and true. He will bring us into the Promised Land. He will make sure His Word is fulfilled.”
In Psalm 105, verse 42 where it says, “For he remembered his holy promise,” the Hebrew word translated as “promise” is Strong’s #1697. It is the word “debar” and that is the word “Word.” God remembered His holy Word. It refers to His written Word, the Bible. It not only appears here, but it appears in several places where the word “promise” is the same word as “Word,” because God’s Word has all the authority and weight of a promise; it is one with the promise of God. Every Word that is spoken in the Bible is a promise because it is absolutely true and trustworthy. That is what God tells us in Hebrews 6:10:
For God is not unrighteous to forget…
To forget a Word that God spoke would be unrighteous. It goes on to say in Hebrews 6:10-18:
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
God remembered Noah because God remembers His covenant. He remembers His promise. He remembers His Word and He will absolutely fulfill it.