Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying. 14 Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17 Release all the animals—the birds, the livestock, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—so they can be fruitful and multiply throughout the earth.”
18 So Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives left the boat. 19 And all of the large and small animals and birds came out of the boat, pair by pair. – Genesis 8:13-19
We recently returned from a 3000 mile road trip. We had a great time. Saw many beautiful sights: The Smoky Mountains, the Biltmore Estates, gardens, tourist sights, and friends. Friends and family topped the list of experiences that filled our souls. The mountains were beautiful. The Biltmore quite interesting. The gardens were exquisitely beautiful. The Ark Encounter was impressive.
But we were glad to roll into town last Saturday. It was time to be done with our trip. Time to unpack. Go through the mail. Water the plants. Work on the photos. Sit in my favorite chair. Catch up on being at home.
We knew why we went on our trip. It was a choice we were glad to make. We had people to see, sights to enjoy, experiences to encounter, photos to take. Noah knew, also, why he was taking his trip on the ark. But it wasn’t really a choice – at least not like the road trip vacation was our choice. And when it was ended, and he and his family and all the animals came out of the ark, they were not coming home. There was no inventory to take. They didn’t need to water the plants: that’s for sure. They wouldn’t wanted to have taken souvenir photos or bring gifts back to their friends and family.
The would, however, have things to do. There would be households to set up. There would be a new life to begin. They would need to mark out new boundaries. I’m guessing they might simply have enjoyed the wide-open spaces of life outside of the boat.
And there is the matter of thanksgiving. Just as we were thankful to God for safe travel and wonderful experiences, so Noah and his family were no doubt thankful for their deliverance. It had been about a year since they first boarded the ark. I suspect it felt good to leave it behind.
Maybe you’re on an ark. Perhaps it’s been longer than a year even. But God has a future for us that is beautiful and good. He has provided a means of salvation. And in fact, the Bible connects the ark with Christian Baptism (cf. 1 Peter 3:19-21). We’re living on the other side of the flood. For that deliverance we must thank God. And when the days wear on, and we yearn for a more perfect experience of God’s deliverance, we do well to remember Noah, and our own wanderings before the flood, before the rescue, before the door is opened. Now, having experienced that rescue, we’re experiencing a foretaste of the deliverance, rescue, and open door that is yet to come.
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