Genesis 8

Opening discussion:

Every day is a gift from God. Discuss.


Chapter 7 ends with an eerie and foreboding feeling. Everything on the face of the earth is destroyed. Everything that has breath! Only a boat remains containing Noah and his family. Chapter 7 Verse 23 takes us from an aerial view of the world in disaster and zooms all the way into the ark that is floating on water for 150 days. We are with Noah. Waiting in the dark.



8:1-5 – God remembered Noah

8:6-14 – Noah checks the weather

8:15-22 – A new start

8:1-5 – God remembered Noah

“But God remembered…” Could God have forgotten? This is not a celebration on what God is capable of doing but a moment of thankfulness that God is committed. He made a covenant with Noah in 6:18 – a promise. With the backdrop of world annihilation, God remembered Noah – this ‘little’ man in this ‘little’ boat, bobbing up and down with nowhere to go but wait – God remembered him. While we can take comfort in this, we first thank God that he keeps his covenant with Noah and then work out what covenant can we bank on God remembering that helps us. We can sit defenselessly in the bed that we have made but can thank God that he remembers his covenant made to the world that all who put their trust in Him through Christ will be saved.

“…Noah and all the wild animals and…” Here (Verse 1) and in Verse 17 and 19, we are reminded that the covenant with Noah included all those who God had ordained to be on the ark. Chapter 7 included the repetition of all the animals. We see that God doesn’t simply remember something, but he remembers everything. This plan for salvation was fully thought through and God will see it happen.

“…and he sent a wind…” We remember that the weather didn’t just get better, but God sent a wind. It is perfectly helpful to balance the laws of nature with the command of God. He made everything. Jesus calmed a storm. In late January 2020, when the rains came down and receded the Summer bushfires, it was not visible as a miracle – something that sits opposed to predictable science – and yet we can give thanks and praise to God for his mercy. God enacted the flood and God caused it to cease. The process of withdrawing the waters included a wind which was sent. “…the floodgates of the heavens had been closed…” Same deal. A perfectly natural thing to happen and yet it is God who is to be thanked.

“…on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” The text is so specific about the timeline and the general geography of the earth that we must see this as historic. Cultures across our globe have legendary flood stories which we may or may not trace back to this one, but the bible contains a story with dates preserved in it. This is not just myths and legends but a passed down account of how long this happened. You can almost imagine the wall inside the ark where Noah scratched a tally of the days. But, the geography is vague enough that we don’t know which mountain it landed on. Again, would it not have been that Noah would pull that thing apart and reused what he could rather than leave it for history? The fact that this happened is preserved, but the geography is lost – and thank God for that or else we’d have a shrine built on it.

8:1-5 gives us God’s perspective of the event described by the narrator. God remembered and God brought the ark to rest back on the ground. Next, we watch what Noah does.

8:6-14 – Noah checks the weather

“After forty days Noah…” We were told it had rained for forty days and nights (7:12). Now that the rain stopped and the tops of mountains became visible, Noah waited 40 days before doing some biological experiments.

“…after forty days Noah opened a window…” lol

“…he made in the ark and sent out a raven…” These verses focus on what Noah plans to do. The ark zoo was all God’s plan and the boat and its contents are all at the mercy of God and yet, Noah works within his boundaries to investigate. I think we see the trust and faith of Noah overlaid with the thoughtfulness and proactive freedom to think and plan. We are not told to simply believe God or have faith but to walk by faith. We see that Noah observes what he needs to, and gets the answer he wants, but still waits for God to tell him it’s time.

“He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark.” Isn’t that a beautiful image of Noah’s tenderness. A man who built a huge vessel and bore the challenges that were upon him, also receives a dove and brings it back into shelter. Given this amount of detail compared to the vast absence of detail in all that Noah did, I take it that we have a little glimpse at the tenderness of this man – perhaps even to reflect on the tenderness of God?

“By the twenty-seventh day….the earth was completely dry.” After these human experiments, Noah could attest that the earth was dry and ready to be reused. But he didn’t leave the ark until God had said. We see the narrator’s perspective of the flood as the hand of God (to open and close the waters) and the perspective of Noah is that he is being saved by God and not himself. It is one thing to observe the signs, and another to wait on the Lord.

8:15-22 – A new start

“Then God said to Noah…” The two main characters will now meet. God initiates the next move.

“Bring out every kind…” The same long explanation of all the different types of creatures is repeated like we saw in Chapters 6 and 7 because this is all part of the same plan. The whole creation is on view but all who were promised to be saved were saved.

“…be fruitful and increase in number on it.” We get the same plan as the beginning of creation – to multiply.

“So Noah came out, together with…” The repetition is there to take us all the way to the full end of salvation. Not a single part of God’s promise is forgotten or a failure. God is a promise keeper.

“Then Noah built an altar to the Lord…” God doesn’t get a statue. The ark is not praised. The Lord who speaks and wills and promises and does – he is worshipped. Rather than hoard his goods, Noah sacrifices the very things that were planned for sacrifice. Prior to the flood, Noah was known as a man of righteousness – he lived a life trusting God. Post the flood, the first thing he is recorded to do is offer a sacrifice of dedication to the LORD in response to salvation. 

“The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma…” God has no nose, of course. Exodus 29:18, 25; Leviticus 1:9, 13 and more use the same language. The act of worship is a demonstration of our dedication to God and the bible uses this language of sweet smell to directly link the act with the response from God. The bible warrants sacrifice. 

“Never again will I curse the ground…” The ground was cursed in Gen 3:17. This promise does not seem to undo this original curse but is a promise linked to what follows in Verse 21.

“…even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood.” God knows that a flood is not going to change the human heart. What we need, is not an external washing or genocide but for our hearts to be washed. It’s not a water ritual that will change us, but the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Please note that children don’t need to be taught to be evil. 

“As long as the earth endures…day and night will never cease.” The seasons of the earth will keep their rhythm like the beating heart of every human – until one day it will stop. Floods and fires and viruses will come and go but this world remains in God’s hands until it is time for the world to pass away. Heaven and earth will pass away, but the word of the Lord stands forever. The predictability of the weather is only so by the grace of God.


Our days are in God’s hands. We may observe the world and make rational decisions about each and every day, but the ultimate end is in his power and not ours. Noah observed the world around him and bowed down and worshipped. Every day is a gift from God. And salvation belongs to our God.


Application A: The place of weather forecasts. Noah was quite clever in sending a raven out who is a robust bird before sending out the gentler creature of the dove. His approach was wise. But all of our sciences are both clever and short-sighted. That is, we can forecast the weather and we can do many great wonders within our means through science, research and development – but we cannot stop death, we cannot tell a storm to stop and we cannot save ourselves. Noah used his head but also waited on the LORD. We can learn from Noah to be both practical and walk by faith.

Application B: God remembers. It is not a miracle for God to remember but it is for us. We will quickly forget the love and mercy of God. Especially when we begin to presume on his mercies. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.

Application C: Noah was saved by a narrow path. Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. The narrow gate is Jesus. All who fail to go through him and him alone, will not be saved but destroyed.

Genesis 6:-7:22


Genesis 1 set the foundation for us to think about the character and nature of God.  Genesis 2 zoomed in on the relationship between God and humanity and sharpened our understand of what it is to be human.  In Genesis 3, the first humans sinned – breaking their relationship with God, the earth and each other.  God judges, but his judgement is also merciful (he clothes, he still speaks with people, death is not immediate) and there is the promise of the serpent crusher, who will defeat Satan to one of Eve’s offspring.

In Chapter 4 we meet Cain and Abel and we should be asking ‘will one of these be the Serpent crusher’… but instead we see evil increases – and the generation of Cain continues and evil increases all the more.  It is a dead line… ending with multi-murderer Lamech.  But the promise continues in Seth.

In Chapter 5 we are introduced to a different line… the line of the promise.  There is death, but there is the continuation of generations finishing open-endedly for the story of Noah.  In Chapter 6, we get a mini-insight into the perspective of God.  We sin is rampant in the lives of human (every person, all the time).  We see God’s sorrow at the evil which is unfolding inhis declaration that he will judge evil.  The question we should be asking is: what about the serpent crusher?  Will God preserve his plan and promise, or will he destroy all of humanity once and for all.

And we are left with just a glimmer of hope. Vs 8: “But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.”


Verses 9-10 function a bit like a title summarising what will follow.  It has a summary heading of the account; Adescription of Noah; and highlights the continuance of the promise by highlighting the continuation of the lineage after Noah.

The zoomed in description should stand out to us in verse 9, showing 3 attributes:  he is righteous and blameless (legally upright before God) and he walked faithfully with God – which is the same description which is used to describe Enoch (5:24).  What we don’t see here, like with Enoch, is a description of ‘sinlessness’ which has slipped into some explanations of why these extraordinary events happen to them.  Noah is human and so is caught up in the sinful nature which has infected every facet of being human.  But as a sinner, Noah is one, like Enoch, who called on the name of the LORD (4:25) and so desired to walk faithfully with God (5:24, 6:9).

Verse 11-13 remind us of what we had already heard in 6:1-8.  God speak to Noah, declaring that the earth is full of violence and evil and that God will judge.  Note: there is judgement against both humanity and the earth.  The sin of humanity is not just to uproot the way that people relate to other things, but it brings with it a radical reshaping of the way that creation works as a whole and so the whole of creation is subject to judgement.

Verse 14 – 21 introduce the covenant between God and Noah.  Verse 18 is worth focusing on and especially the introduction of the word covenant.  The word itself is the word of a treaty agreement.  On Noah’s side of the bargain, he has to build an ark with the specifications that God has given.  On God’s side, his promise is to keep Noah and his family safe from his judgement on the earth.  This language of covenant is incredibly significant, as it shapes the relationship between God and humanity for the future – beginning with Abraham in Genesis 12, 15.

The repetition in 6:22 and 7:5 that Noah did all that the Lord commanded him is significant.  Noah fulfilled his end of the covenant promises.  It contributes to how we read the descriptions of Noah in verse 9 – he was righteous and blameless and walked faithfully with God in his obedience to God’s covenantal promises.

Genesis 7:5 signals a shift in the story – moving away from the conversation between Noah and God and Noah’s responses and instead focussing on the action of God’s judgement. Verse 5-16 focusses on the gathering of Noah, his family and the animals into the ark.  Verse 16 significantly shows God ‘shutting them in’ affirming his promise to uphold his end of the covenant and to protect them.

Verse 17-24 move away from Noah’s protection to focus on the judgement of God.  The repetition in verse 21-23 should highlight the magnitude of the judgement of God and the ‘undoing’ of creation that is happening here. Every living creature and all “mankind” (same word as used in 5:1) are wiped out.  Everything that had “God breathing his spirit into their nostrils” (remember chapter 2:7).  Everything that moved along the ground and birds that flew in the air (allusions back to chapter 1 and 2).  We need to be slow and sober about the impact of this judgement – God is wiping out all of the good creation that he has made, because it has become corrupted by evil.

The chapter finishes with the reality that the floodwaters went for 150 days.  Nothing could withstand the judgement of God.  The only way to survive, is (in 7:23) to be like Noah and the ark – under the protection and promises of God.


I normally give options, but I would focus in on this one today:1. The judgement of God and the response of the righteous.  Read Matthew 24:36-44.
How does the account of Noah help us to understand what a faithful response to God is, in light of his judgement?  How does a Christian ‘be prepared’ for the judgement of God?

Genesis 5:1-6:8

NB: Questions for group discussion are in italics. There are copious notes for leaders – please decide which if any you will share with your group.

Questions to open up discussion:

“With the right education we could get rid of most of the evil in the world” – what do you think?

We might wonder why the writer of Genesis would choose to include genealogies at regular points in the story from creation through to the call of Abram in Genesis 12:1-3. Chapter 4 includes the first of these, and chapter 5 the second.

What are the unique aspects of the family tree of Cain in ch 4 ? (cities 4:17), music (21), metalworking (22).                                           

Because these are seen as central activities of the line of Cain who “belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother”(1 John 3:12) does this make them evil in themselves? Why? Why not?

What are the unique features of the genealogy of Seth? (4:25 – 32)

Why is verse 2 included? See also verse 3

Note for leaders: this summary is a help:                                                                                                                                                “One effect of reading these genealogies is that we realize we are not reading fiction. Whether or not we decide that parts of the Genesis story are strictly literal, we don’t have the option of dismissing the stories as myth.                                                                                                                                                                                         Another thing we realize as we read is that there is a ‘Good news, bad news’ aspect to these lists of individuals and their children. The good news is that babies continue to be born and humanity continues to fulfil God’s plan that they be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.(5:1)                                                                                                                                                             The bad news is that the curse of death is always apparent. Even though the life spans recorded in Genesis 5 are incredibly long, the refrain “and then he died” is repeated time and again. Long life doesn’t cure the reality of death.                                                                                                                                                                                               One reason for recording these long life spans may be to invite us to compare these life spans with the genealogies of Genesis 11:10-32. By the time we reach the last member of the family tree—Abram—life spans are coming close to what we would normally expect, and we realize that the curse of God is having its intended effect”. ( GordonCheng: Beginning with God;p28)

And this: ​We encounter the Sethite genealogy again in Luke’s genealogy of Jesus. Luke is intent to show that he is not only a descendant of David (so Matthew’s genealogy), but that he is a part of all humanity (by virtue of his descent from Adam). As Luke looks back from Jesus, the ten generations (Noah, Lamech, Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalalel, Kenan, Enosh, Seth, and Adam) are named at the end. From the vantage point of Luke 3, we can see that we are on the way to Jesus, who descends from the godly line of Seth, not the ungodly line of Cain.( Longman III, Tremper. Genesis (The Story of God Bible Commentary) (pp. 105-106). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition).

What evidence of God’s grace is here in chap 4:25 to 5:32? ( Leaders: note 5:29)

How bad have things become in vv 1-8 of chapter 6?   

What is the most striking and shocking statement in 6:1-8? Why?

Notes for leaders: The opening verses of Genesis 6 indicate that God had much to be angry about. In Genesis 1, “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31), but now he sees a very different picture: “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5).                                                                                                        NB Jude 6 and 2 Peter 2:4 see the “sons of God” here as angels who rebelled against Gods by marrying the “daughters of men” (i.e. humans) and producing children, probably the “Nephilim”. Though we do not know all the details, this is obviously extremely wicked in God’s sight and leads to the flood. (v5 and following) The situation had deteriorated. Mankind was a blot on the landscape, and God was grieved by it. He cared about his world—he loved his world. And when he looked at it and saw it inhabited with evil, his heart was filled with pain (see Gen 6:5-6).                                                                                                                                                                         God determines to wipe out mankind. This is not done in a fit of rage or pique; it is his slow and deliberate response to the evil he sees. As we might expect from God, he does not confront evil with indifference or half-measures; his response is judgement mixed with salvation.

Do you feel embarrassed about telling your friends about a God who is a judge?

There are numbers of Christians who think of the Covid19 pandemic as the judgement of God. Do you agree?  Why? Why not?

What effect do you think a knowledge of the judgement of God might have on our lives?

How might we tell people of Jesus from Genesis 5 and 6:1-8?