8 But God showed concern for Noah. He also showed concern for all the wild animals and livestock that were with Noah in the ark. So God sent a wind to sweep over the earth. And the waters began to go down. 2 The springs at the bottom of the oceans had been closed. The windows of the sky had also been closed. And the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water on the earth continued to go down. At the end of the 150 days the water had gone down. 4 On the 17th day of the seventh month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to go down until the tenth month. On the first day of that month, the tops of the mountains could be seen. 6 After 40 days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark. 7 He sent out a raven. It kept flying back and forth until the water on the earth had dried up. 8 Then Noah sent out a dove. He wanted to see if the water on the surface of the ground had gone down. 9 But the dove couldn’t find any place to rest. Water still covered the whole surface of the earth. So the dove returned to Noah in the ark. Noah reached out his hand and took the dove in. He brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days. Then he sent out the dove again from the ark. 11 In the evening the dove returned to him. There in its beak was a freshly picked olive leaf! So Noah knew that the water on the earth had gone down. 12 He waited seven more days. Then he sent out the dove again. But this time it didn’t return to him. 13 It was the first day of the first month of Noah’s 601st year. The water on the earth had dried up. Then Noah removed the covering from the ark. He saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the 27th day of the second month the earth was completely dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark. Bring your wife and your sons and their wives with you. 17 Bring out every kind of living thing that is with you. Bring the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground. Then they can multiply on the earth. They can have little ones and the number of them can increase.” 18 So Noah came out of the ark. His sons and his wife and his sons’ wives were with him. 19 All the animals came out of the ark. The creatures that move along the ground also came out. So did all the birds. Everything that moves on land came out of the ark, one kind after another.
Noah was in the ark with an enormous number of animals for 7½ months before they opened a window. I’m guessing the fresh air was welcome.
The ark had been grounded after 5 months but 7½ months later they were still in the ark with all those animals. I’d have been willing to get my feet a bit muddy to get off. But they waited until God said it was time to come out – more than a year after they went in.
Sometimes God doesn’t seem to share my sense of urgency.
The story is about rescuing Noah and his family, but it’s also a picture of Jesus rescuing me (1 Peter 3:19-21). Sometimes he seems far too patient about rescuing people I’m praying for. But sometimes it requires an enormous amount of patience before we are willing to accept that rescue.
Noah had some experience of God’s timing. God told him to build an enormous ark at just the right time so it would be finished before the flood came. God told him to take his family and the animals into the ark at just the right time to be safe. For seven days after they went in, nothing happened. But Noah knew it was the right time, and it was. Noah knew to wait until God said it was the right time to come out.
Father, your timing is the right timing. Give me the faith of Noah to act when you say, but also to wait for your right time. I know you won’t get it wrong.
Written by David Cornell