8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 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.
6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 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. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year,the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”
18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
22 “As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
(Genesis 8:1-22 NIV)
In Chapter 7, Moses told us about God’s gracious invitation for Noah’s family plus representatives from all the creatures to enter the ark. The Lord shut the door, and the flood began. The only survivors were the people and animals inside the ark.
In Chapter 8, we see God’s grace extended again to Noah and the inhabitants of the ark. Moses said that God “remembered” Noah and the creatures in the ark – God had not forgotten about them. The Lord sent a wind (another first) to dry out the earth and cause the flood waters to recede.
Moses records in great detail the flood timeline. The ark had been afloat for approximately five months before it settled once again on dry ground. Another two and a half months later, other mountain peaks became visible. Another three months after that, most of the water had dried up from the face of the earth. Another three months after that, the Lord told Noah and all the creatures they could exit the ark.
All in all, Noah, his family, and the animals and creatures had been in the ark for about thirteen months. While Noah was clearly ready to be out of the ark, he was obedient and stayed in until the Lord gave him permission to leave.
Can you imagine the joy that Noah, his family, and all the creatures had when they exited the ark? The sunlight, the ability to move around freely, the fresh air – what a blessing!
So what did Noah do? He offered thanks to the Lord by constructing an altar and sacrificing clean animals to the Lord. His life and his family’s life had been spared, and he was exceedingly grateful to the Lord.
Here is a great summary of Noah’s mindset after exiting the ark:
“Noah must have been totally overwhelmed by the awareness that out of all the people who had been living on Planet Earth, God had saved him. Why? It was just God’s grace! Noah had been righteous and blameless as he had walked with God, but he knew that did not make him worthy of salvation. His heart must have felt ready to burst with the intensity of his gratitude. There could be no other way to express what was in his heart than to give back to God the life that He alone had saved.
How can you and I do less?”
(from Joy of My Heart devotional, AnGeL Ministries/Anne Graham Lotz, 7/24/2018)