The Rains Came Down and the Floods Came Up

At last, the Ark was finished, food for Noah’s family and the animals was stored in the Ark, and Noah, his wife, his sons Shem, Ham, Japheth and their wives went into the Ark and the Bible says, “and the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16).

Then, the rain began. Rain fell for forty days and nights. I can’t imagine what a storm that was, the mighty wrath of God descending on the earth. “The fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11).  “All the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered” (Genesis 7:19), “and the mountains were covered” (Genesis 7:20).

Not only did rain fall, I believe there were earthquakes, volcanoes, water coming up from under the earth, and what fell from the sky was not a gentle shower nor even like the most violent thunderstorm we may have witnessed. This was an assault of the elements, a mighty roaring of winds and waves covering God’s whole creation.

Everything and every person on the earth perished; everyone except the eight people who were safe aboard the Ark. That vessel built by Noah under God’s direction withstood the turbulence while God, in His anger toward sin, completely obliterated the old world and its inhabitants, re-shaping the earth.

It is fascinating to contemplate what the earth may have looked like before the Flood and what it looked like afterward. I don’t think most of us give much thought to the re-shaping of mountains, seas, and ground that was caused by the Flood of Noah’s time.

 Bible scholars believe that Noah and his family were on the Ark for more than a year. Although the rain stopped after forty days, the earth still seethed with an angry, restless sea. It took time for the waters to recede, the ground to appear, and  for everything to dry out and become solid instead of bottomless mud.

What kind of world did Noah see when he left his haven of wood there on Mount Ararat? How far was he from his old home, the place where he had boarded the Ark? I don’t know the answers. I do know that Noah’s first act was to worship God. The Bible said he built an altar and offered sacrifices. Humans and animals had a fresh start and thanking the Lord for keeping them safe was a fitting way to launch life in a new world.

God made a promise that never again would He destroy the whole world with a flood. The rainbow is the symbol of that promise. When the sun shines through rain and forms that misty, lovely arch in the clouds, it reminds me that the Lord offers hope and forgiveness and that when storms rage around me, God is the only possible place of shelter.

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