Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark.
…on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. (v.4) After the Jews were delivered from Egypt, the seventh month became the first month of the Hebrew calendar. (Exodus 12:1-5) It was on the fourteenth day of the first month, the day of Passover, when Jesus was crucified. Three days later Jesus rose from the dead. Three days after the fourteenth day was, of course, the seventeenth day. (Luke 23:53-56)
So it happened that the Ark came to rest on the same day that the resurrection came to pass.
Even as the ark came to rest, you and I can rest in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. His resurrection is the validation that Jesus is who He says He is.
“…we want to see a sign…” the Pharisees said, unbelieving. Jesus replied, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38-40)
…God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. (Acts 10:40)
Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. (v.6-7) The raven, sent out into the world, never came back. Perhaps finding the floating bloated bodies of the dead animals that succumbed to the flood, the raven did as ravens do, and tore into the flesh of the carrion. The raven here represents your flesh and my flesh. Our desire to feed on things that are dead in God’s economy, things that are dead to the eternal. The raven never returned to Noah, the raven never brought anything back as we’ll see that the dove does in the next post. Acting in the flesh, in our own energy, apart from God’s spirit, like the raven, results in nothing of eternal value in return. Acting in the energy of our flesh results in a life without love.
The story is told of the Drill Sergeant who received a phone call informing him that Private Johnson’s mother had died. The Sergeant, being a can-do-git-er-done-and-move-on kind of guy, simply walked up to Private Johnson at morning line-up and told him straight out, “Johnson, your mother died.”
Johnson, who was horrified at the news, broke down and cried in front of the whole platoon. Later it got back to the Sergeant’s superior who called him in for a reprimand. “You can’t just come right out and tell someone that their mother died! Next time, you have to break it to them gently.”
The Drill Sergeant took his reprimand like a man, humbly nodded his understanding, and went his way.
Sure enough a week later the Sergeant received a phone call informing him that someone’s mother died, this time it was Private Jones’.
That morning at line up the Sergeant started toward Jones, but, suddenly, remembering the words of his superior, the Drill Sergeant stopped and barked, “Everyone with a mother take one step forward…”
“…not so fast Jones!”
Noah sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. (v. 8-9) The dove, a representation of the Holy Spirit in scripture, provides for us an insight into God’s heart for you and for me. Even as the dove ranged throughout the earth looking for a place to perch, 2 Chronicles 16:9 tells us that the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth looking for someone He can strengthen and use. God’s eyes range throughout the earth looking for someone to bless with His Holy Spirit. Someone He can pour out His Spirit upon to strengthen and use.
Lord help me to be that person. In today’s world we’re inundated with the opportunity to do more. Home has become an office away from the office. Family and friends text and email and call your cell phone and post on facebook and water your plants on Farmville. “What kind of person am I?” we think, if we don’t respond to the emails from work, if we don’t reply to that text message, if we don’t answer the cell phone, if we don’t return the favor on Farmville.
move fast, fast, fast!
Scripture points to a problem with the rapid pace lifestyle many of us are living today – a lack of love. The dove released by Noah, is the symbol of God’s Holy Spirit, and the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit is love. (Galatians 5:22 – see previous post) When we become caught up in the rapid pace of life a disconnect with God’s Holy Spirit often creeps in. Yes we may be connected with family and friends, yes we may be more productive at work, yes our Farmville farm may be expanding, but this is all for naught without the fruit of the Holy Spirit, without love.
We might be more productive than ever in terms of accomplishing tasks, but when we’re in the can-do-git-er-done-and-move-forward mode, like the Drill Sergeant we can leave out the most important ingredient in life:
1 Corinthians 13 tells us that of faith, hope, and love, love is the greatest. (1 Corinthians 13:13) And the same chapter of scripture tells me that when I’m buzzing about, accomplishing much, pushing myself to the limit in the energy of my flesh, gritting my teeth and pressing on, I can be drained and disagreeable: I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Corinthians 13:1)
Less really can be more! When I’m pushing myself, when you’re pressing forward too hard, we often fall into a pattern of moving through life without love. This is contrary to what God wants for us! Jesus said that we would be known as belonging to Him by our love! When I push too hard, I can push God’s love right out of my heart. (See related post: Rest)
In scripture, is Jesus ever seen buzzing about? Is Jesus ever seen in a hurry? Never. Not once. You and I must live the same way. Avoid the trap of doing just a little bit more. Be rejuvenated, rested, and ready to love people.
Leave a place for the dove to land.
Leave room in your life for love.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
See related post: Rest
Illustration by Joseph Miller