The Great Escape

Genesis 8:15–16 “Then God spoke to Noah saying, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.’”

Observation: The flood had ended and waters receded to the point of revealing dry ground upon which the ark had lodged. At last, the Lord gave permission for the travelers to leave the ark.

Application: What kind of man was this who waited for God’s command before leaving the ark? After one hundred fifty days of rudderless drifting on an ocean as big as the planet itself, fit amongst the most unusual menagerie ever assembled before or since, Noah finally had God’s permission to disembark.

But the people hadn’t just one hundred fifty days at sea to contend with. Once the waters receded enough for the ark to be grounded, another three months went by ‘til mountaintops were seen, then yet another forty days ‘til Noah opened the window for a peek outside. He released a raven, then a dove, waited another seven days and sent the dove a second time. Then seven more days and the dove left permanently. Finally, another fifty-eight days passed before God gave permission for Noah and his family to leave.

I am astounded by the thought that they waited that last fifty-eight days before taking their leave. Having seen dry ground from the open window, would I have been disciplined enough to patiently wait? Not likely. I can imagine my heart leaping at the view of dry ground and exclaiming, “Honey, get the kids and our pillows, and don’t forget to unplug the coffee pot…we’re outta here!”

But Noah waited another fifty-eight days. For what? To hear God’s voice? There is no indication in the text that God had promised to speak. Imagine the tension at mealtime on the tenth or twentieth day: “Dad, can we leave now?” And on the thirtieth or fortieth: “Dad, why are you keeping us locked up in this awful place?” Did Noah become testy by the fiftieth day: “You’ll leave when I tell you to leave!”?

The Word gives no hint of such discord or impatience. Surely the God who had spoken so clearly as to cause the ark’s construction and the animals’ meek march into it, surely the God whose divine hand had closed them into the protective cocoon of the ark; surely this God would speak again. But I wonder…have I gone so deep into the heart of God that I would have waited for permission to leave, or would I have burst out, eager to escape confinement by running ahead of God once again?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for all those times I have run ahead of You, not satisfied to wait for Your word. Thank You, Lord, for being the safe place I can run to even when I have moved out from under Your authority and direction. Cause me to lean ever more contentedly into You, that I might be in perfect sync with Your plan for my life.

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