Reflection on Genesis 8:6-22 – God’s Promise to Noah
Have you ever thought about the ways you can bring about positive change in your life and the world around you? In the ancient tale of Noah, his family, and the diverse array of animals aboard the ark, we find a remarkable story of survival and rebirth after one of history’s most devastating disasters. The Book of Genesis offers us a glimpse into Noah’s patient and deliberate approach to leaving the ark. When he noticed that the dove no longer returned, he sensed that the waters had receded, signaling that it was time to disembark. Anticipation filled their hearts, yet, as we heard earlier, there is no indication that they hurriedly left the ark. Noah, despite having removed the hatch and observed the dry land, chose to wait.
It’s essential not to overlook a crucial point here. Even though it appeared from a human perspective that everything was in order—the water had receded, the dove had not returned, and the conditions seemed favorable—Noah remained within the ark until God granted them permission to set foot on dry land once more. This decision was rooted in Noah’s understanding of God’s purpose during the great flood, recognizing that every life was in God’s hands throughout that ordeal. Their exit from the ark symbolized a fresh start, and for Noah, this new beginning had to be different. The first day after the great flood couldn’t mirror the days that preceded it or those spent on the ark.
Noah contemplated how to make life better and unique in this new world. Patiently, he awaited God’s guidance before embarking on this new journey, being led by God’s word. In this life shaped by God’s word, the first step Noah took was to construct an altar and offer worship to God. This act touched the heart of God, and it led to a transformation in God’s own intentions. In response, God made a divine promise, vowing never to unleash another catastrophic flood to destroy God’s creations. This marked a significant change of heart in the divine realm. This covenant extended to Noah, his family, and all the living beings that had survived the ark. Through his actions, Noah revealed a new image of God—gracious, patient, and merciful.
Noah understood that this fresh beginning had to be distinct from what came before. He didn’t seek a return to the past. Instead, he humbled himself before God and patiently waited for divine guidance to lead him into a new life. On the first day after the great flood, he constructed an altar, not for himself, but for God. He expressed gratitude to God and offered up all that remained from the ark, symbolizing a departure from the past.
This story illuminates the concept of a new beginning and a new life in God. Every day is a gift from God, challenging us to reflect on how it can be different from yesterday. Placing God at the forefront does not imply inactivity. Rather, when we empty ourselves, God has room to fill us. Emmanuel! God is with us.