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Genesis 7:1-8:14: The Flood
Bible Essentials: Set 3, Lesson 6
Individuals: Take time to think back about your past week. Where have you seen God work in your life or answer prayer? Write down any prayer requests you have.
Group: Open the study by sharing life updates, reviewing highs and lows of your past week, or sharing prayer requests and praises.
Icebreaker: What’s the worst storm or natural disaster that you’ve ever experienced?
All: Begin the study with a word of prayer, asking God to open your heart for today’s study. You can also pray for any prayer requests now, or save that for the end.
Read today’s passage: Genesis 7:1-8:14.
7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On 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. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.
6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
What is the context for this passage?
In Genesis 6, we learned that God was troubled at the evil on the earth, so he decided to destroy the earth with a flood. In spite of all the evil, he did find one good man, Noah, and he gave Noah instructions to build an ark to save himself, his family, and the animals. As the blameless person Noah was, he followed all of God’s instructions. He built the ark to God’s specifications and he prepared to enter the ark with his family at God’s appointed time. That appointed time comes in this week’s passage.
Read the passage again.
Explore a different version if you have one available. If you are online, here is Genesis 7 in NIV through Bible Gateway. You can change the version by using the dropdown menu at the top right of the page.
Try to summarize the passage in your own words.
Answer these three questions about the passage:
1. What does the passage say about God?
God found Noah righteous in his generation. We learned last week that at the time of Noah, everyone on earth was evil, with evil thoughts all the time. But God found Noah righteous even in a time when everyone else was evil. It is possible to stand for what you believe in even in a time when no one else does. And God will take notice if your faithfulness.
God gave Noah the exact plan he needed to survive the flood. God planned to bring disaster on the world, but he also had the exact plan for a remnant to survive, and God shared that with the one person who was faithful to him—Noah. God told Noah how exactly to build the ark, who and what to bring on the ark, and when to go into the ark.
God follows through on his plans and promises. After all the plans and promises God made and shared with Noah, he actually followed through on that plan. He did bring the flood, and everything that was not in the ark did perish. Just as he promised, he brought destruction to all living things on the earth except for those who were in the ark. But he didn’t just leave it at that. He also followed through on the promise that Noah and his family would be saved.
God is the one who shut Noah and his family into the ark. When it came time to enter the ark, Noah wasn’t the one who decided when to go into the ark and when they should close the door. God told Noah exactly when the flood would start, and once Noah, his family, and the animals were in the ark, God is the one who shut them in. He closed that door and sealed it so that they would be safe from the flood.
God does not forget about those who are faithful to him. After 40 days and nights of rain and 150 days of flooding, it might have seemed to Noah and his family that God had forgotten them. But he didn’t. God sent wind over the earth to help the water recede, and after over a year on the ark, the earth was finally dry so that Noah and his family could leave the ark.
2. What does the passage say about people?
Those who are righteous follow God’s commands. Continually throughout the story of Noah, the Bible reports that Noah did all that God commanded. One of the characteristics of someone who follows God is obedience. When God tells you to do (or not do) something, you listen and obey. Noah had this characteristic. He built the ark, he brought the people and animals on the ark that God commanded, and he entered the ark at the right time. This obedience saved him.
Noah tested whether the earth was ready for habitation again. After almost a year on the ark, it probably felt too good to be true that the waters might be receding. Noah used the birds that God had placed on the ark to test whether the earth was ready for habitation again. He first sent out a raven, a bird that could scavenge and find just about anything to eat. When the raven just kept flying back and forth, Noah decided to send out a dove. A dove was a more delicate bird that would provide a better idea of whether the earth was ready. Eventually, the dove came back with signs of new growth on the earth, which confirmed to Noah that the land was ready.
3. What does the passage say about God’s plan?
God’s plan was to preserve the human race and the different types of animals through Noah and his family. As we discussed last week, when he decided to wipe all living creatures off the face of the earth with a flood, he had a plan to preserve some of the living creatures. He had Noah and his family bring on at least a male and female of each type of animals so that they could continue to produce offspring and survive once they were off the ark.
God’s plan was to flood the earth to wipe out all living creatures left on the earth. Although God could have used many types of destruction to wipe out the people who were evil, he chose a flood. A flood is all encompassing. It has no mercy for life or property. It just destroys everything in its path. This is the type of destruction that God needed at this time.
God’s plan was to direct the animals to the ark. God’s plan was that he would guide the animals to take up residence in the ark. He didn’t make Noah go round up all the animals. Although God required obedience from Noah, he also had his own hand in saving his creation.
God’s plan was that the earth would recover from the flood. Although God used the flood to destroy all living creatures that weren’t on the ark, he didn’t intend them to live in the ark forever. His plan included a plan for recovery and restoration. After the flood, God had a plan for the waters to recede, and he had a plan for new life on earth. When God is leading you through a hard time in your life, remember that he often has a plan for restoration at the end.
How does the passage fit into the overarching story of the Bible?
Sometimes it’s easier to understand a passage if you have a little outside knowledge from other passages in the Bible. This section will help provide that outside perspective.
In order for God to bring about his full plan for the human race, he needed to preserve a remnant through the flood. Although he wiped out almost all living creatures in the flood, he saved Noah and his family as well as enough animals for them to eat and for the animals to reproduce. This one boat full of living creatures was all that would remain to repopulate the earth.
Even though God chose Noah, a righteous man, to survive the flood, the fallen state of human hearts was still preserved through the flood. Eventually, evil overtook the world again, and we were still in need of a Savior. Through Noah, God brought the line of Abraham, and through Abraham he brought the line of David, and through the line of David, he brought Jesus. Jesus came to save all humankind from the path of sin and evil that they were on before and after the flood.
Individual: Answer the following questions thoughtfully for yourself.
Group: Pose these questions for discussion.
All: If you are willing to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts to these questions. Feel free to use the comment section to start a discussion about this passage.
What else strikes you about this passage?
How does the passage affect how you view God? How you view yourself?
How does this passage affect how you will live your life?
For additional study related to this topic, read Leviticus 11:1-47.
For Bible Essential studies, you can use my thoughts as your devotional, or you can download and use the journaling sheet to work through the passage on your own. If desired, you can then compare your thoughts to mine. Journal sheets can be downloaded and used now or later. They can be printed and filled in by hand or saved and filled out electronically. Journal sheets are available for individual or group use.
If you plan to lead a group study, a PowerPoint presentation is also available.
You can access these resources by clicking here: Genesis 7-8 Resources
Or you can download the journal sheets here*:
*Substack doesn’t support PowerPoint file downloads yet, so if you want to access the PowerPoint file for group study, you will need to download it from the resource page linked above.