I genuinely hate the idea of being on a boat for more than 20 minutes. Even though I was born in Brooklyn, I eventually MOVED to Staten Island (I don’t claim that borough whatsoever for my own reasons). I had a Belle moment (from Beauty and the Beast), and thought that there must be more to this Island where I felt suffocated. This led me to attend high school in midtown Manhattan, where I had a fun time traveling around everywhere with my friends. There was only one problem. The Staten Island Ferry. A free 25 minute boat transportation service that takes people from Staten Island to lower Manhattan. I literally had no other option to go home so I had to take the ferry frequently.
Every. Single. Day. Monday through Friday and sometimes weekends if I wanted to hang out. I had to take it in the snow, the blizzards, the rain, windy weather, you name it. I hated every second of it. Somehow, the boat didn’t bother me as much in high school, but when I came back from college I realized that everything bothered me since I wasn’t used to taking it as frequent. There is something about the rocking of the boat and being on water that makes me feel uneasy. If I’m a land creature then why am I over the water? I can’t swim and even if I could, the water isn’t exactly warm. Plus, my phone would be drenched with no service to call help.
Could you imagine being on a boat for 150 days? I’d lose my mind. I doubt in this situation I’d be thinking about drowning because of the covenant. If I’m on the ark then I’m 100% safe. I just don’t like the thought of being on water. I also think I’ll get sea sick. During this time, God remembered Noah. It’s not like He shut him in an Ark and forgot that he was on the water like “oh snap I forgot I flooded the earth and Noah is out here floating in this ark let me recede the waters.” God remembered his covenant with Noah and allowed the water to recede.
On the 17th day of the 7th month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat (don’t ask me to pronounce this word, I cannot), which is in modern eastern Armenia, which was known as Uratu in the ancient times. The waters continued to recede but we do not see any visible signs of mountain tops until the first day of the tenth month.
WHAT? Are you telling me that the water was so HIGH that it took MONTHS for water to recede enough for the TOP of mountains to show? That’s wild. The underwater sea life was probably swimming around having a party with all the open space they had.
Noah decides to send out some birds to see if there is land out there on the earth. If the birds returned to the boat then it would be concluded that there was no land. The first bird Noah used was the raven. Later, he used a dove. What was wrong with the raven? Did it not do its job in returning back to Noah? Or did Noah simply favor doves? I’m curious to know.
The answer is that raven’s are not only birds that can live on mountains, but they eat dead carcasses. They’re considered unclean animals. They are scavengers and as we know, the flood killed every living thing. This means that the raven, who can also travel over a wide area without rest, basically attended an “All You can eat Buffet” with free admission. The raven can land on anything, even if it is a dead carcass (that’s just plain nasty). Noah probably sent the raven the same reason why he sent the dove, to obtain information on the receded waters. The raven did return, but not to Noah. So, it can be safely inferred that it came back on the ark to rest between flights to find more food.
Think of the dove as the boujee version of the raven. They’re considered clean animals. They won’t land on dead bodies or pick at them. Instead, they survive on seeds and small insects. In Ezekiel 7:16 it says that doves rest only on dry ground and are known to fly in valleys. So if there is no dry ground for the dove to land on, then it would return to Noah, which it did at first. Eventually, the dove comes back with a freshly plucked olive leaf, a symbol of hope for Noah pertaining to the progress of the waters still receding and a symbol of peace. The final time Noah let the dove out it did not return to him which meant that the waters receded from the earth.
The water officially dried up in the first month of Noah’s 601 year. God tells Noah and his family to exit the ark -as well as the animals and they all did. We have reached a new beginning.
The first thing that Noah does is build an altar to the Lord, sacrificing some of the clean animals and birds he had with him. This is considered the first altar recorded in Scripture. God is pleased with the offering and makes this promise:
“And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.”
[The next time will be fire. That I know from reading the New Testament prior to this.] God says something here that is profound to me “for the intention of man’s heart is evil from youth. As in, all mankind has a sin nature. A wickeness. So what makes Noah special? As I mentioned in the beginning of this post I was aware of the story of Noah but after a while I questioned what made Noah so special out of the rest.
All man has a sin nature. This doesn’t exclude Noah or his family. In reality, I thought that the purpose of the flood was to simply rid the world of sin and start again. It is now that I understand that what made Noah special is despite his sin nature he still followed the Lord and walked with him. He did not indulge in the wickedness that was going on around him. So it’s not like the flood was in vain. It’s not like God took a random sinner and said “HEY! Build this ark!” Had he chosen someone who was wicked then they would have spread wickedness again after the flood.
Since God was cleansing the wickedness, the best way to start off is to use someone who follows Him. By doing this God’s nature and word could be spread among the descendants of Noah and their descendants and so on. That is why Noah was chosen. I know I’m repeating components from the other blog post but the Bible has taught me that repetition is key. It helps the memory. It helps us understand the main point.
I also learned something like that in my mock trial class in college. In our opening statements my professor made it clear that we had to choose a theme and consistently repeat that theme throughout the statement so the jury and the judge can have a clue on your stance. For example, if you’re focusing on betrayal then you will paint the picture of your opening statement with the word betrayal consistently used throughout the statement.
Anyways, the flood is over. Noah, his family, and the animals are off the boat. Anxious to see what happens next. How about you?