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God Remembered Noah

“But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided” (Genesis 8:1).

Have you ever felt abandoned by God? Have you ever wondered if God has forgotten you? Have you ever felt as if your prayers were bouncing off the ceiling and hitting you on the head? If so, Genesis 8 is for you. 

When the text tells us that God “remembered” Noah, it doesn’t mean that God had forgotten him. It simply means that in the midst of the great flood, God stayed true to His promises. The Lord looked down on the earth and fulfilled His promise to have mercy on eight people floating in a big barge with all those animals.

Perhaps Noah felt forgotten by God. If so, he is in good company because the greatest saints of the ages have felt the same way. Consider Psalm 42:9, “I say to God, my rock: ‘Why have You forgotten me?’” And in the Lord Jesus we have the supreme example of a righteous man feeling abandoned. In His darkest moments on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Our text contains an important message of hope. In the midst of judgment, God always remembers mercy. He remembers those who suffer and He keeps His eyes on them. Though they often feel forgotten, the Almighty will not abandon them. As God remembered Noah, even so He will remember you and me. There is no trial so severe that it can separate us from the God who loves us.

In his message on Genesis 8, James Montgomery Boice points out three ways in which the Lord remembered Noah during the flood.

1. God Sent a Wind

Genesis 8:1 is specific on this point: “God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” We should learn from this that when affliction has done its appointed work, it will be removed from us. Whether it be sickness or bad circumstances or hateful opposition, when God’s purposes have been served, the hard times will go away.

It is significant that the flood did not disappear in a day. The waters rose slowly and fell slowly. Even so, God often works deliverance for us gradually, little by little, day by day, step by step.

2. God Gave Noah a Sign

Noah was looking for signs that the flood was coming to an end. No doubt he was ready to see the family have a little bit of elbowroom. So he sent out a raven. Since ravens feast on rotting flesh, it no doubt found plenty to eat on the surface of the waters. It flew back and forth but did not return to the ark. The first time Noah sent out a dove, it came back because the water wasn’t low enough. The second time the dove returned with an olive leaf, indicating that plants were beginning to grow. The third time he sent out a dove, it didn’t come back at all.

But why did he send the birds in the first place? The answer is simple and perhaps easy to overlook. God had told him when the flood would start but not when it would end. Often, it is the not knowing that wears us down. We watch and wait and wonder and pray as the uncertainty gnaws away on the inside. Our chief question is always: “When will this end?” And the answer is always: “In God’s time, not one day sooner, not one day later.” Nothing can rush, change or hinder God’s designs for His children.

3. God Spoke to Noah Again

The final way God remembered Noah was by speaking to him again. In verses 16-17 the Lord instructed Noah to leave the ark with his family and the animals. As far as we can tell, this is the first time God had spoken to Noah since He told him to enter the ark.

Who could blame him if he felt forgotten? The same thing can happen to any of us. You may come to a time in your life when you feel forgotten and alone. You may think that your prayers are bouncing back at you. You may lack the conscious sense of God’s presence so that you feel abandoned and left to face life on your own.

What do you do then? You must do what Noah did. Stay faithful to what you know to be true. Obey the Lord and follow the light that you were given in the past. Day after day, Noah had to get up and take care of his responsibilities on the ark. It did not matter if he “felt” like it or not. God had given him a job to do and it must be done. Christian, wait on the Lord. And while you wait, obey as much as you know. Stay faithful. Do your duty. And just as God spoke to Noah again, so He will speak to you in due time.

—Ray Pritchard, condensed