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. Two more months went by, and at last the earth was dry!
The Flood Recedes
1But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the floodwaters began to recede. 2The underground waters stopped flowing, and the torrential rains from the sky were stopped. 3So the floodwaters gradually receded from the earth. After 150 days, 4exactly five months from the time the flood began,a the boat came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5Two and a half months later,b as the waters continued to go down, other mountain peaks became visible.
6After another forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the boat 7and released a raven. The bird flew back and forth until the floodwaters on the earth had dried up. 8He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground. 9But the dove could find no place to land because the water still covered the ground. So it returned to the boat, and Noah held out his hand and drew the dove back inside. 10After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again. 11This time the dove returned to him in the evening with a fresh olive leaf in its beak. Then Noah knew that the floodwaters were almost gone. 12He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.
13Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began,c 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. 14Two more months went by,d and at last the earth was dry!
15Then God said to Noah, 16“Leave the boat, all of you—you and your wife, and your sons and their wives. 17Release 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.”
20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and there he sacrificed as burnt offerings the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose.e 21And the LORD was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things. 22As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”
a 8:4 Hebrew on the seventeenth day of the seventh month; see 7:11.
b 8:5 Hebrew On the first day of the tenth month; see 7:11 and note on 8:4.
c 8:13 Hebrew On the first day of the first month; see 7:11.
d 8:14 Hebrew The twenty-seventh day of the second month arrived; see note on 8:13.
e 8:20 Hebrew every clean animal and every clean bird.
Do you realize that Noah was stuck in a boat for about a year, but the rain only lasted the first 40 days?
I’m sure Noah was cool with staying on the boat for the 40 days it was raining, but how do you think he felt for the next 11 months?
I can only imagine how frustrating that must have been.
You know the boat had to be uncomfortable. It had to smell weird. His family was probably getting on each other’s nerves. I’m sure there were countless times where Noah was willing to do anything to get off that boat. You know Noah and his family had to have doubted God constantly during that year-long waiting period.
But God let Noah wait.
It took over 7 months for him to even see mountain tops. It was another forty days after that before Noah started to look for dry land, only to find out it still wasn’t time. So he waited another 7 days, but it still wasn’t quite time. So he waited ANOTHER 7 days, and finally realized it was time to leave the safety of the boat.
Noah was a pretty patient guy, but that’s a lot of waiting for something you’ve been promised by God.
The Bible is filled with examples of waiting for the right time.
A lot of people look at Matthew 4:18-20,21-22 and assume that Peter, Andrew, James, and John all just saw Jesus and immediately jumped up and left everything. But if you look at all the Gospel accounts, you get a better picture of what really happened.
We know from the Gospels that John the Baptist had been spreading the word about Jesus before Jesus started His ministry, right? (Luke 3:16)
Well John 1:35-36 says two of John the Baptist’s disciples saw Jesus one day and started following Him. They ended up going to where Jesus was staying and spent the day with him. One of those two disciples of John the Baptist’s was Andrew, Peter’s brother (John 1:40). And John 1:41 says that Andrew introduced his brother Peter to Jesus.
Then Luke chapter 5 tells us that one day Jesus actually walks up out of nowhere, jumps in Peter’s boat, and takes it out into the water so He can teach (Luke 5:2-3).
Why would Peter just let Jesus do this? Could it be that he knew who he was beforehand?
After all, according to John 1:40, Peter’s brother was a disciple of John the Baptist, and John the Baptist was telling everyone about how awesome Jesus was and that Jesus was coming. So they had to at least know who Jesus was beforehand.
And Luke 5:10 tells us that James and John were partners with Peter, so it’s a safe bet to assume that Peter, Andrew, James, and John all knew of Jesus before the day when they actually started following Him.
Then, in Luke 5:6-7, Jesus performs the amazing miracle and invites them to follow Him.
So, if we piece these accounts together, we can see that these guys learned about Jesus from John the Baptist, then they meet Jesus, a couple of them spend the day with Him, then finally one day Jesus comes by where they’re doing their normal day job, and He invites them to follow Him.
How much fun do you think it was for them to go back to fishing after hearing John the Baptist talk about how awesome Jesus is?
What about after Andrew and Peter met Jesus? Do you think they enjoyed going back to their fishing gigs after that encounter? I can only imagine how many amazing things they heard and saw from Jesus. Yet as far as we know, they didn’t make the leap to follow Jesus and leave their safe jobs until the time was right – when Jesus told them it was time.
After all, the Bible doesn’t say they started following Jesus for good after they spent the day with Him. It just says they spent the day with Jesus.
So life’s filled with delays, even when we know what we’re meant to do.
Noah knew he was meant to survive the flood and inhabit the earth, but it took forever on a safe, boring boat before he could do that.
Peter, Andrew, James, and John had to have known that following Jesus was the ultimate calling on their lives. After all, they followed John the Baptist and spent an entire day with Jesus, but they still had to keep on doing their safe, boring fishing job until Jesus called them away from it.
If you’re in a safe, boring place in life right now, just know that sometimes God wants you to stay in that environment until the time is right for you to come out.
So embrace the delays of life, and use them to prepare for the amazing things God has in store for you.