I love the story of Noah, the Ark and the Flood. Reading it yesterday, I found something I’ve never seen before. But we’ll get to that.

First a reminder of some things I am blessed by every time I read it.

God Shut Them In

13On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark…15Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.
Genesis 7:13, 15-16 (NIV)

God shut them in before the storm waged around them. God shut them in. I love that feeling of protection and care I get every time I read verse 16.

God Remembered Noah

But God remembered Noah and all the animals in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the waters, and the floods began to disappear.
Genesis 8:1 (NLT)

I know that if God remembered Noah, He will remember me. We all face times when it’s easy to believe that God has forgotten us. Don’t believe it! It’s a lie of immense proportions. God remembered Noah. (Actually, He had never forgotten Noah, so I’m convinced the phraseology is purposeful – written just as it is so that I can hang my hopes on it when satan throws lies in my face.)

I blogged about these first two points more extensively here.

Noah Worshiped First

20Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.
Genesis 8:20 (NIV)

The first thing that Noah did upon disembarking from the boat that he had spent the last ten and a half months on was worship God. What a powerful example to us. I can imagine how Noah wanted to run and play on hard ground, how he wanted to bask in the sunshine and fresh breeze, how he wanted to roam in open spaces. But first, he worshiped. Lord, help me to worship first.

What also impresses me about this simple verse is that Noah had animals to sacrifice after being at sea for so long. They were among the animals in the ark – when God told Noah what to take in the ark, He included not only all that would be needed to repopulate the world, but also all that would be needed to worship Him! I can trust that when I follow God’s directions, He will provide not only what I need (Noah had what was needed to live for nearly a year in the boat), but will also provide what is needed to accomplish His purposes (in this case, repopulate the world) and enough to worship Him. Now it sounds like I’m putting the worship of God last here. I’m not. Knowing this, I can put worship first and trust that God has already provided enough to meet my needs and accomplish His purposes.

I blogged about this aspect of the story here.

Where Did the Olive Branch Come From?

10Seven days later, Noah released the dove again. 11This time, toward evening, the bird returned to him with a fresh olive leaf in its beak.
Genesis 8:10-11a (NLT)

It never occurred to me before that in order for the dove to return to Noah with the olive branch in its mouth, the Lord must have already repopulated the earth with vegetation. God not only sent the flood, after the flood receded, he reseeded the land and caused the plants to grow in about a week. Maybe a few days more. Wow! What a God we serve! I suppose it’s a little thing, because He had already formed all of creation in a week, but this miracle reminds me that God does things right! He goes above and beyond our expectations. He deposited Noah and his family into a land that would support them while they got settled and prepared for the coming year. I like that God!

My challenge for you over the next few days is to look for places where God has gone above and beyond your expectations. Because that’s just the kind of God He is!

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