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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Genesis 8

 

 

Verses 1-22

Genesis 8:1. And God remembered Noah,

Noah had been shut up in the ark for many a day, and at the right time God thought of him, practically thought of him, and came to visit him. Dear heart, you have been shut out from the world now for many days, but God has not forgotten you. God remembered Noah, and he remembers you.

Genesis 8:1. And every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark:

Does God remember cattle? Then he will certainly remember men made in his own image He will remember you, though you think yourself the most worthless one on the face of the earth: “God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark.”

Genesis 8:1. And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;

Winds and waves are wholly under God’s control. I suppose that this was a very drying wind, so the waters began to turn to vapor, and gradually to disappear. It is God who sends the winds; they seem most volatile and irregular, but God sends them to do his bidding. Blow it east, or blow it west, the wind comes from God; and whether the waters increase or are assuaged, it is God’s doing. Are the waters very deep with you, dear friend? God can dry them up, and, singularly enough, he can stop one trouble with another, he can dry up the water with the wind. I have known him very strangely with his people, and when they thought they were quite forgotten, he has proved that he remembered them, and both the winds of heaven and the waters of the sea have had to work their good. There is not an angel in heaven but God will make him to be a servant to you if you need him; there is not a wind in any quarter of the globe but God will guide it to you if it is necessary; and there are no waves of the sea but shall obey the Lord’s will concerning you.

Genesis 8:2. The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;

God works upwards, and stops the windows of heaven. He works downwards, and stays the breaking up of the fountains of the deep.

“He everywhere hath sway,

And all things serve his might.”

Be not afraid; he can open the windows of heaven, and pour down abundant blessings for you, and he can let down the cellar-flaps of the great deep, and stop its flowing fountains.

“When he makes bare his arm,

What shall his work withstand?”

Genesis 8:3-5. 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 of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

God told Noah when to go into the ark, but he did not tell him when he should come out again. The Lord told Noah when to go in, for it was necessary for him to know that; but he did not tell him when he should come out, for it was unnecessary that he should know that. God always lets his people know what is practically for their good. There are many curious points on which we should like to have information, but God has not revealed it, and when he has not revealed anything, we had better not try to unravel the mystery. No good comes of prying into unrevealed truth. Noah knew that he would come out of the ark one day, for was he not preserved there to be a seed-to keep the race alive? Noah was not told when he should be released, and the Lord does not tell you when your trouble will come to an end. It will come to an end; therefore wait, and be patient, and do not want to know the time of your deliverance. We should know too much if we knew all that will happen in the future. It is quite enough for us if we do our duty in the present, and trust God for the rest. Still, I think that Noah must have been very pleased when he felt the ark grating at last on the mountains of Ararat. He could not build a cook for his big ship; but God had prepared a berth for it on the mountain side Now, as he looked out, he could see, here and there, a mountain top rising like an island out of the great expanse of water.

Genesis 8:6-7. And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro,

Sometimes alighting on the ark; then flying away again.

Genesis 8:7-10. Until the waters were dried up from of the earth. Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from of the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark. And he stayed yet other seven days;

I wonder whether Noah sent out these creatures on the Sabbath mornings. The mention of seven days, and the resting in between seems to look like it. Oh, dear friends, sometimes people send out a raven on the Lord’s day morning, and it never brings them anything. Send out a dove rather than a raven; come to the house of God with quiet, gentle, holy expectation, and your dove will come back to you. It may be that it will bring you something worth bringing one of these days, as Noah’s dove brought to him.

Genesis 8:10-11. And again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

The waters were abated as far as the fruit trees; not only the tallest forest trees, but some of the fruit trees were uncovered from the water. The dove had plucked off “an olive leaf.” Perhaps you have seen a picture of the dove carrying an olive branch in its mouth, which, in the first place, a dove could not pluck out of the tree, and in the second place, a dove could not carry an olive branch even if she could pluck it off. It was an olive leaf, that is all. Why cannot people keep to the words of Scripture? If the Bible mentions a leaf, they make it a bough; and if the Bible says it is a bough, they make it a leaf.

Genesis 8:12. And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more.

Noah could read something from that leaf that the dove brought to him, but he learned more when she did not return to him. He knew that she had found a proper resting-place, and that the earth was clear of the flood.

Genesis 8:13. And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth:

That was a happy New Year’s day for Noah. He was glad to find himself at rest once more, though not yet at liberty.

Genesis 8:13. And Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.

Why did not Noah come out? Well, you see, he had gone in by the door, and he meant to come out by the door, and he that opened the door for him, and shut him in, must now open the door for him, and let him out. He waits God’s time, and we are always wise in doing that. You lose a great deal of time by being in a hurry. Many people think they have done a great deal when they have really done nothing. Better take time in order to save time. Slow is sometimes faster than fast. So Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked out, but he did not go out till God commanded him to do so.

Genesis 8:14. And in the second month,

Nearly two months Noah waited for the complete drying of the earth.

Genesis 8:14. On the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

“The face of the ground was dry” in the first month; “the earth was dried,” the second month. Noah might have thought it was dry enough before; but God did not think so, there was enough mud to breed a pestilence, so Noah must wait until God had made the earth ready for him.

Genesis 8:15-16. And God spoke unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark,

Noah must wait till God speaks to him. Oh, that some people would wait for God’s command, but they will not! He shall bless thy going out and thy coming in if thou wilt go forth and come in when he bids thee. “Go forth,” says the Lord, “Go forth of the ark.”

Genesis 8:16-19. Thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 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. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

That was a very wonderful procession, it was the new beginning of everything upon the earth. Whatever evolution or any other folly or evil of man may have done, everything had to begin again over. Everybody was drowned save these great fathers of the new age, and all must begin from this stock.

Genesis 8:20. 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.

Common sense would have said, “Spare them, for you will want every one of them.” But grace said, “Slay them, for they belong to God. Give Jehovah his due.” I have often admired that widow of Sarepta. When she had but a handful of meal, she made a little cake for God’s prophet first, but then God multiplied her meal and her oil. Oh, if we would but seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all things should be added unto us! Out of the small stock he had, Noah took of the clean beasts, and of the clean fowls, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Genesis 8:21. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour;

Noah’s faith was pleasing to God. It was Noah’s confidence in a bleeding sacrifice that gave him acceptance with the Lord. God thought upon his Son, and that great Sacrifice to be offered long afterwards on the cross, and he “smelled a sweet savour.”

Genesis 8:21. 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.

God always speaks comfortable words to those who bring an acceptable sacrifice. If you would hear the voice of a divine promise, go to the atoning blood of Jesus. If you would know what perfect reconciliation means, his to the altar where the great Sacrifice was presented.

Genesis 8:22. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

They never have ceased. He have this year had a long and dreary winter; it looked as if spring would never come. Only a few days ago, the chestnuts were just beginning to turn green, and then there came the little spikes, and now you can see them in full flower. How faithfully God fulfils his covenant with the earth! How truly will he keep his covenant with every believing sinner! Oh, trust ye in him, for his promise will stand fast for ever!


Verses 15-22

Genesis 8:15-21. And God spake unto Noah, saying, Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 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. And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark. 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. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour;

Until then, the earth had been obnoxious to Jehovah. He had put it away from him as a foul thing, drowned beneath the flood; but after the offering of Noah’s sacrifice, the Lord smelled “a savour of rest.”

Genesis 8:21-22. And the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground. And 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. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Thus we see what we may expect so long as the earth remains, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Now let us read a few verses from Jeremiah’s prophecy.

This exposition consisted of readings from Genesis 8:15-22; and Jeremiah 33:15-26.


Verses 20-22

Genesis 8:20-21. And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offering on the altar. And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; —

A savour of rest, —

Genesis 8:21-22. 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. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

So that you all live under a covenant, — a gracious covenant, and, by virtue of it, the day succeeds the night, the summer follows the winter, and the harvest in due course rewards the labour of the seedtime. All this ought to make us long to be under the yet fuller and higher covenant of grace, by which spiritual blessings would he scoured to us, — an eternal day to follow this earthly night, and a glorious harvest to follow this time of seed-sowing.

This exposition consisted of readings from Genesis 8:20-22; Genesis 9:8-17; and Isaiah 54:1-10.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Genesis 8:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/genesis-8.html. 2011.

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