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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Genesis 7

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God Destroys the World with a Flood

A. Final preparations for the flood.

1. (Gen 7:1) God invites Noah into the ark.

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

a. Come into the ark: The idea is that God will be with Noah in the ark, so He called Noah to come into the ark with Him.

b. I have seen that you are righteous: Noah spent the years before the flood in active obedience. He not only believed God would send the flood; he obeyed what God told him to do in preparation for it.

2. (Gen 7:2-9) Noah gathers all the animals and his family.

“You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female; also seven each of birds of the air, male and female, to keep the species alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days I will cause it to rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and I will destroy from the face of the earth all living things that I have made.” And Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth. So Noah, with his sons, his wife, and his sons’ wives, went into the ark because of the waters of the flood. Of clean animals, of animals that are unclean, of birds, and of everything that creeps on the earth, two by two they went into the ark to Noah, male and female, as God had commanded Noah.

a. You shall take with you: Some wonder how the animals came to Noah or how Noah got them. In Genesis 6:20 God said the animals would come to Noah by migration. In some animals, God has created a migratory instinct (which can operate in an amazing manner). It is no difficulty for Him to miraculously place an urge to migrate to the ark in each pair of animals He planned to be preserved in the ark.

b. Two by two they went into the ark to Noah: God never has a problem getting the animals to do what He wants. Only man is more stupid than the animals. The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider. (Isaiah 1:3)

3. (Gen 7:10-12) God brings the waters upon the earth.

And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights.

a. After seven days that the waters of the flood were on the earth: Noah, the animals, and his family had to wait in the ark seven days for the rain to come. They had never seen rain up to this time. This was a real test of faith – to wait a week after more than 100 years of preparation.

b. The windows of heaven were opened: This is when the great waters which were above the firmament (Genesis 1:7) broke up. These waters formed the huge “blanket” of water in the upper part of the earth’s atmosphere since creation.

c. The fountains of the greet deep that were broken up: Waters came up from under the earth also, no doubt accompanied by great geological catastrophe.

d. Forty days and forty nights: The number 40 becomes associated with testing and purification, especially before coming into something new and significant. This is seen in Moses’ time on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:18, Deuteronomy 9:25), the spies’ trip to Canaan (Numbers 13:25), Israel’s time in the wilderness (Numbers 14:33, 32:13), Elijah’s miraculous journey to Sinai (1 Kings 19:8), and Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness (Mark 1:13).

4. (Gen 7:13-16) All enter the ark and the door is shut.

On the very same day Noah and Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark; they and every beast after its kind, all cattle after their kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind, every bird of every sort. And they went into the ark to Noah, two by two, of all flesh in which is the breath of life. So those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

a. Went in as God had commanded him: This summary statement describes how everything was fulfilled exactly as the Lord had spoken. All things were ready for the flood God would bring upon the earth.

b. And the Lord shut him in: Noah did not have to shut the door on anyone’s salvation; God did it. After the same pattern, it is never our job to disqualify people from salvation. We let God shut the door.

i. God kept the door open until the last possible minute, but there came a time when the door had to shut. When the door is open, it is open, but when it is shut, it is shut. Jesus is He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens (Revelation 3:7).

ii. The ark was salvation for Noah, but condemnation for the world. There were no second chances for those left out.

B. Noah in the ark during the flood.

1. (Gen 7:17-23) The flood described.

Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly on the earth, and all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed fifteen cubits upward, and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved on the earth: birds and cattle and beasts and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died. So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.

a. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth: The description of the flood in this passage is so complete and specific that it is impossible to reconcile a local flood with the Biblical record. Despite the claims of some, this was a global deluge.

i. If this were not a global flood, then the ark itself would be unnecessary. If this were only a local flood, then God’s promise to never again bring such a flood is false. If this were only a local flood, the Bible is wrong when it traces all of humanity back to Noah’s sons and other passages that speak of a universal flood (such as Psalm 104:5-9 and 2 Peter 3:5-6).

ii. Literally hundreds of people groups have their own accounts and legends of the flood. One of the most remarkable is the Babylonian account, which is similar to the Genesis account in many ways and is clearly drawn from it. Since all mankind came from Noah’s sons, all mankind remembers the flood.

iii. Boice specifically cites the legends of the Samo-Kubo tribe of New Guinea, the Athapascan Indians of America, the Papago Indians of Arizona, Brazilian tribes, Peruvian Indians, African Hottentots, natives of Greenland, native Hawaiian islanders, Hindus, Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Australian natives, the Welsh, Celts, Druids, Siberians, and Lithuanians.

iv. Of the more than 200 cultures that have their own account of the flood the following aspects of the story are common:

· 88% describe a favored family
· 70% attribute survival to a boat
· 95% say the sole cause of the catastrophe is a flood
· 66% say that the disaster is due to man’s wickedness
· 67% record that animals are also saved
· 57% describe that the survivors end up on a mountain
· Many of the accounts also specifically mention birds being sent out, a rainbow, and eight persons being saved

b. And the mountains were covered: This took a lot of water, but there is plenty of water on the earth today to do this – but because of the topography of the earth, the water is collected into oceans. If the earth were a perfect sphere, the oceans would cover the land to a depth of two-and-a-half to three miles. Before the cataclysmic flood, the earth may have been much nearer to a perfect sphere.

c. All in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, all that was on the dry land, died: In the Scopes Monkey Trial, Clarence Darrow humiliated William Jennings Bryan by asking him if he believed every word in the Bible. When Bryan said he did, Darrow asked him how the fish drowned in the flood. Bryan didn’t know the answer, gave a great, confused speech, and died the next day. If only he would have known the Bible better, he would have known it says this about the breath of the spirit of life. The fish did not die in the flood; only animals with the breath of life in them died, the animals on dry land.

i. God did just as He said. Virtually all of Noah’s contemporaries did not believe God would do just as He said. Though it took 120 years, God demonstrated that He keeps His promises and is totally faithful.

2. (Gen 7:24) The flood lasted 150 days without receding.

And the waters prevailed on the earth one hundred and fifty days.

a. One hundred and fifty days: Some suggest that God put some or many of these animals into a period of hibernation for this period, meaning that less food, space, and “damage control” was needed.

b. One hundred and fifty days: God provides many animals today with an amazing instinct for hibernation. It would be no difficulty for Him to miraculously impart a unique instinct for these particular animals.

©2013 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission
[A previous revision of this page can be found here]

Study Guide for Revelation 1 ← Prior Book
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