Noah, and his family and the living creatures, enter the ark, and the flood begins. (1-12) Noah shut in the ark. (13-16) The increase of the flood for forty days. (17-20) All flesh is destroyed by the flood. (21-24)
Verses 1-12 The call to Noah is very kind, like that of a tender father to his children to come in-doors when he sees night or a storm coming. Noah did not go into the ark till God bade him, though he knew it was to be his place of refuge. It is very comfortable to see God going before us in every step we take. Noah had taken a great deal of pains to build the ark, and now he was himself kept alive in it. What we do in obedience to the command of God, and in faith, we ourselves shall certainly have the comfort of, first or last. This call to Noah reminds us of the call the gospel gives to poor sinners. Christ is an ark, in whom alone we can be safe, when death and judgment approach. The word says, "Come;" ministers say, "Come;" the Spirit says, "Come, come into the Ark." Noah was accounted righteous, not for his own righteousness, but as an heir of the righteousness which is by faith, ( Hebrews 11:7 ) . He believed the revelation of a saviour, and sought and expected salvation through Him alone. Thus was he justified by faith, and received that Spirit whose fruit is in all goodness; but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. After the hundred and twenty years, God granted seven days' longer space for repentance. But these seven days were trifled away, like all the rest. It shall be but seven days. They had only one week more, one sabbath more to improve, and to consider the things that belonged to their peace. But it is common for those who have been careless of their souls during the years of their health, when they have looked upon death at a distance, to be as careless during the days, the few days of their sickness, when they see death approaching; their hearts being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. As Noah prepared the ark by faith in the warning given that the flood would come, so he went into it, by faith in this warning that it would come quickly. And on the day Noah was securely fixed in the ark, the fountains of the great deep were broken up. The earth had within it those waters, which, at God's command, sprang up and flooded it; and thus our bodies have in themselves those humours, which, when God pleases, become the seeds and springs of mortal diseases. The windows of heaven were opened, and the waters which were above the firmament, that is, in the air, were poured out upon the earth. The rain comes down in drops; but such rains fell then, as were never known before or since. It rained without stop or abatement, forty days and forty nights, upon the whole earth at once. As there was a peculiar exercise of the almighty power of God in causing the flood, it is vain and presumptuous to attempt explaining the method of it, by human wisdom.
Verses 13-16 The ravenous creatures were made mild and manageable; yet, when this occasion was over, they were of the same kind as before; for the ark did not alter their natures. Hypocrites in the church, who outwardly conform to the laws of that ark, are yet unchanged; and it will appear, one time or other, what kind they are after. God continued his care of Noah. God shut the door, to secure him and keep him safe in the ark; also to keep all others for ever out. In what manner this was done, God has not been pleased to make known. There is much of our gospel duty and privilege to be seen in Noah's safety in the ark. The ( 1 Peter. 3:20 1 Peter. 3:21 ) Observe then, it is our great duty, in obedience to the gospel call, by a lively faith in Christ, to come into that way of salvation which God has provided for poor sinners. Those that come into the ark, should bring as many as they can with them, by good instructions, by persuasions, and by good examples. There is room enough in Christ for all comers. God put Adam into paradise, but did not shut him in, so he threw himself out; but when God put Noah into the ark, and so when he brings a soul to Christ, the salvation is sure: it is not in our own keeping, but in the Mediator's hand. But the door of mercy will shortly be shut against those that now make light of it. Knock now, and it shall be opened, ( Luke 13:25 ) .
Verses 17-20 The flood was increasing forty days. The waters rose so high, that the tops of the highest mountains were overflowed more than twenty feet. There is no place on earth so high as to set men out of the reach of God's judgments. God's hand will find out all his enemies, ( Psalms 21:8 ) . When the flood thus increased, Noah's ark was lifted up, and the waters which broke down every thing else, bore up the ark. That which to unbelievers betokens death unto death, to the faithful betokens life unto life.
Verses 21-24 All the men, women, and children, that were in the world, excepting those in the ark, died. We may easily imagine what terror seized them. Our Saviour tells us, that till the very day that the flood came, they were eating and drinking, Lu. 17:26, Lu. 17:27 ; they were deaf and blind to all Divine warnings. In this posture death surprised them. They were convinced of their folly when it was too late. We may suppose they tried all ways and means possible to save themselves, but all in vain. And those that are not found in Christ, the Ark, are certainly undone, undone for ever. Let us pause, and consider this tremendous judgment! Who can stand before the Lord when he is angry? The sin of sinners will be their ruin, first or last, if not repented of. The righteous God knows how to bring ruin upon ( 2 Peter. 2:5 ) day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men! Happy they who are part of Christ's family, and safe with him as such; they may look forward without dismay, and rejoice that they shall triumph, when fire shall burn up the earth, and all that therein is. We are apt to suppose some favourable distinctions in our own case or character; but if we neglect, refuse, or abuse the salvation of Christ, we shall, notwithstanding such fancied advantages, be destroyed in the common ruin of an unbelieving world.
Genesis 7:1-24 . ENTRANCE INTO THE ARK.
1. And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark--The ark was finished; and Noah now, in the spirit of implicit faith, which had influenced his whole conduct, waited for directions from God.
2,3. Of every clean beast . . . fowls--Pairs of every species of animals, except the tenants of the deep, were to be taken for the preservation of their respective kinds. This was the general rule of admission, only with regard to those animals which are styled "clean," three pairs were to be taken, whether of beasts or birds; and the reason was that their rapid multiplication was a matter of the highest importance, when the earth should be renovated, for their utility either as articles of food or as employed in the service of man. But what was the use of the seventh? It was manifestly reserved for sacrifice; and so that both during Noah's residence in the ark, and after his return to dry land, provision was made for celebrating the rites of worship according to the religion of fallen man. He did not, like many, leave religion behind. He provided for it during his protracted voyage.
4. For yet seven days--A week for a world to repent! What a solemn pause! Did they laugh and ridicule his folly still? He whose eyes saw and whose heart felt the full amount of human iniquity and perverseness has told us of their reckless disregard ( Luke 17:27 ).
9. There went in two and two--Doubtless they were led by a divine impulse. The number would not be so large as at first sight one is apt to imagine. It has been calculated that there are not more than three hundred distinct species of beasts and birds, the immense varieties in regard to form, size, and color being traceable to the influence of climate and other circumstances.
16. and the Lord shut him in--literally, "covered him round about." The "shutting him in" intimated that Noah had become the special object of divine care and protection, and that to those without the season of grace was over ( Matthew 25:10 ).
17. the waters increased, and bare up the ark--It seems to have been raised so gradually as to be scarcely perceptible to its occupants.
20. Fifteen cubits upward . . . and the mountains were covered--twenty-two and a half feet above the summits of the highest hills. The language is not consistent with the theory of a partial deluge.
21. all flesh died . . . fowl . . . cattle, and . . . creeping thing--It has been a uniform principle in the divine procedure, when judgments were abroad on the earth, to include every thing connected with the sinful objects of His wrath ( Genesis 19:25 , Exodus 9:6 ). Besides, now that the human race was reduced to one single family, it was necessary that the beasts should be proportionally diminished, otherwise by their numbers they would have acquired the ascendancy and overmastered the few that were to repeople the world. Thus goodness was mingled with severity; the Lord exercises judgment in wisdom and in wrath remembers mercy.
24. an hundred and fifty days--a period of five months. Though long before that every living creature must have been drowned, such a lengthened continuance of the flood was designed to manifest God's stern displeasure at sin and sinners. Think of Noah during such a crisis. We learn ( Ezekiel 14:14 ) that he was a man who lived and breathed habitually in an atmosphere of devotion; and having in the exercise of this high-toned faith made God his refuge, he did not fear "though the waters roared and were troubled; though the mountains shook with the swelling thereof" [ Psalms 46:3 ].