This blog post will cover the devotionals #58-62 for Genesis Chapter 8.
Please note that this devotional book is for sale as a physical (paperback) &/or digital (PDF) book on my website.
 Genesis 8:1-3
God ‘remembered’ Noah (not like He had forgotten about him) and He caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters calmed down, the fountains of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained. Eventually, the dry land appeared. This action reminds me heavily of Creation. In Genesis 1:1, 2, God’s Spirit hovered over the face of the waters. In verses 6-10, He separated the waters, and made dry land appear. If you read Genesis 8:2, you’ll notice that the word, ‘restrained’ was used in reference to God’s action against the waters. In devotional #57, we saw that, when God created the earth, He restrained the waters from their natural course. When He stopped the flood from continuing, He did the same thing. We read Psalm 18:15, which says, “Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at Your rebuke, oh Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.” Once again, we’re seeing God’s Spirit, wind, or breath involved in the dealing with the waters. Notice how the words, ‘restrain’ and ‘rebuke’ are used. Psalm 104:6, 7 says, “You covered it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of Your thunder, they hasted away.” If God’s the one that caused the waters to become a flood, why would He need to rebuke them? That would be like a boss reprimanding or firing his employee for doing something he told him to do! No, what really happened was that a storm was raging, and the Lord saw His children in their boat, and He calmed the storm, saying, ‘Peace, be still.’
 Genesis 8:1-5,13,14
They sat in the ark for seven days before it started raining—then it rained for forty days (Genesis 7:4, 10). The waters stayed on the earth for 150 days (Genesis 8:3). It started raining on the seventeenth day of the second month (Genesis 7:11) and the waters decreased on the 150th day. The ark rested on Mount Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month (Genesis 8:4). Water was heavy on the earth for exactly five months [5 months x 30 days = 150 days]. The waters continued to decrease from then until the first day of the tenth month (Genesis 8:5) [2 months + 2 weeks = 60 + 15 = 75 days]. The mountain tops could finally be seen. The next year, on the first day of the first month, the water was gone—the ground’s surface was dry (Genesis 8:13) [3 months x 30 days = 90 days]. On the twenty-seventh day of the second month, the ground was completely dry (Genesis 8:14) [roughly fifty-seven days], and God told Noah to leave the ark (Genesis 8:15-17). If we do the math here: [7 days + 150 days + 75 days + 90 days + 57 days = roughly 379 days (1 year is 360 days in the Biblical calendar, + 19 days)] Noah’s family, along with all the animals, were closed in the ark for over a year. The visible flood water was there 315 days (10.5 months), and it took almost two more months for the ground to be dried out enough to live on once again. Ararat stands at around 16,854 feet (just over three miles tall). If the ark rested on Mount Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month, then that means that after five months of water being on the earth, it had decreased by about half from 5.5-6 miles high. Mount Ararat is the tallest mountain in the Armenian Highland (of Turkey) and is a snow-capped (dormant) volcano. I wonder if this volcano let loose during the flood as well. I find it interesting that, as we saw in devotional #14, when looking at the four rivers of Eden and where they possibly originated (around the Taurus mountains), Turkey is once again a subject of interest for Genesis geography. These two locations are only roughly fourteen hours apart. It seems that, despite there being a world-destroying flood with intense waters that could’ve taken the ark anywhere on the planet in that year afloat, they were kept in their relative location around their country of creation. In Hebrew, ‘Ararat’ translates to ‘holy ground’ or ‘sacred land’. Ararat has very special meaning. AR is significant in Armenian language, meaning ‘Creator’ (so all their words about creation start with AR). Based on some of their other beliefs, Ararat is believed to mean, ‘Land of Creation’. Imagine how Creation took man to his first earth-home somewhere around Turkey, then the flood took him from there and everything was destroyed, and when he landed again, the place became known as the ‘Land of Creation.’ It was as if God would start what He did all over again—and He was! We’ll see, in devotional #61, that God once again told the few people and animals on the earth at that time to be fruitful and multiply.
 Genesis 8:6-12
I find it interesting that Noah first sent out a raven. It says that it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth, but it doesn’t give the timing or show exactly what that meant. For some reason though, Noah chose to also send out a dove, but focused more on her movements than on the raven’s. Now, the placement of this passage about the two birds being sent out (Genesis 8:6-12), is kind of odd because it appears to have been done at the end of the 150 days. Verse 6 says that at the end of forty days, Noah sent out a raven. We know that forty is a significant number anyway, but especially in the flood story. Once it had started raining, it rained for forty days and forty nights. So, could it be that Noah first tried sending out the birds as soon as the rain stopped? Well, let’s see. The dove went out and returned quickly because she found nowhere else to land (no ground or natural features were above water yet). He sent her back out a week later, and that evening she returned with a freshly plucked olive leaf. This told Noah that the waters were receding, but not gone enough (otherwise, she probably wouldn’t have returned at all). One week later, he sent her out again, and she never returned—which means she found a place she could land. Now, we saw, in devotional #59, that the mountain tops couldn’t be seen above the water until the first day of the tenth month. The highest mountain in the world (Everest) may have been considered for that (which would’ve only been roughly 22-45 feet below water), but let’s just say for the sake of argument that it was referring to the mountains in Noah’s area—Mount Ararat was the tallest and stood at just over three miles high. So, the earliest that the dove could’ve landed somewhere was when that mountain top was revealed. It started raining on the seventeenth day of the second month, and the mountain tops weren't revealed until the first day of the tenth month. Thus, since he only sent the dove out for two weeks, there’s no way it could’ve been done right after the rain stopped. Something that I love about Noah’s choice to send out a dove is how doves are represented in Scriptures. We know that a dove is often associated with peace (which I’m sure Noah felt after the rain stopped), but we also see how the Holy Spirit took the form of a dove and descended upon Jesus at His baptism. At that moment, God said that He was His beloved Son, in Whom He was well pleased. Well, I equate Noah entering that ark as a form of baptism. He died to self (imagine the humility he’d experienced) and was saved in (by) the water. God had already told him, several times before the flood, that He was very pleased with him. The dove was used to bring tidings of peace that the waters were receding. Just like the dove was used as a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Bible, oil was used for the same—specifically olive oil. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that the dove brought back an olive leaf, of all the things she could’ve found. Psalm 52:5-8 says, “God will likewise destroy you forever, He will take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, and root you out of the land of the living. The righteous also will see, and fear, and laugh at him: ‘Lo, this is the man that did not make God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.’”
 Genesis 8:15-21
I love that Genesis 8:17 is basically a repeat of what God told Creation in Genesis 1:24, 28. Man, cattle, fowl, and creeping things (as well as what was in the seas) should be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth. The world started with two of each species. Adam and Eve, and a pair of each animal (and their line(s)) filled the earth for ten generations before it was reset. Then it was back down to four human couples (three of which replenished the entire Earth once more), and one to three pairs of each animal species (see devotional #53) to start everything over. It was like a re-Creation—a second chance. Although sin (and its effects) didn’t get completely eradicated, it was taken down to a relative minimum. Noah came out of the ark a very thankful man, and the first thing he did was prepare an altar for a large burnt offering, using one (out of the seven saved) of every clean animal. Something similar happens in Genesis 12:7. Abram had just received a promise, “...Unto your seed will I give this land…”, and he immediately prepared an altar to God as well. Noah stepped out on that mountain as the new 'owner' of the entire world—just like Adam did when God woke him up from his creation. We’ll see, in devotional #63, that the land was once again returned to man to have dominion and multiply, and what changes were coming as a result of everything that had occurred up until that point. Just like God said so many times during the original creation week, “It is good,” He looked upon Noah’s offering with sweet savor—He perceived good and made a promise in His own heart—which He would tell Noah shortly afterward (in Genesis 9). He would never again ‘curse’ the ground for man’s sake, or smite every living thing. In other words, He wouldn’t allow man’s sin to curse the ground (like what Adam and Cain did), nor allow it to be completely ripped apart and destroy all life (like He allowed at the flood). Isaiah 54:9 says, “…as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with you, nor rebuke you.”
 Genesis 8:22
Genesis 8:22 is such an important thing to pay attention to. First off, it was part of God’s promise to not let the world come to an end—until it comes to a final end. Secondly, we see the first mention of a change in seasons. Up until the flood, the world had never experienced any type of climate changes—including precipitation and temperature fluctuation. We've learned (in devotionals #2 and #57) about how God created a perfect atmosphere for our planet so that life would have the most amazing environment possible. The earth was kept at an even, comfortable temperature—like a thriving greenhouse! It was never too hot or too cold, and it didn’t rain, snow, hail, or lightning. The only ‘change’ that was ever really evident (which wasn’t a part of the system God created) was the falling leaves (since death became a part of the world through sin). The most water seen (outside of the seas and rivers, etc.) was the mist that arose from the ground (dew) to provide perfect moisture / humidity. However, once that swaddling band (the ‘garment’ cloud God wrapped around the earth, from Job 38:8-11) was removed, the waters were no longer restrained (rain), the sun was no longer de-intensified (scorch), the temperature was no longer maintained (hot and cold fluctuations), and even the seas would be affected (by the moon). No wonder the flood marked the beginning of changing seasons and unpredictable climate! God foretold this, in Genesis 8:22, when He mentioned cold and heat, summer and winter. The new population would never know the perfect paradise that their predecessors had experienced and taken for granted. Never again will anyone experience a perfect paradise on Earth, until our planet is made new, but this time, it won't be done with water.