The message of the chapter is given in verse 1: “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.”
Consider that simple phrase: “God remembered Noah.”
Those three words tell us a great deal about the Lord. One of the greatest human fears is to be forgotten. We fear death because it means that ultimately we will be buried in a grave, the world will go on without us, and we will eventually be forgotten.
When the text tells us that God “remembered” Noah, it doesn’t mean that God had forgotten him. It simply means that in the midst of the great flood, God stayed true to his promises.
Our text contains an important message of hope. In the midst of judgment, God always remembers mercy. He remembers those who suffer and he keeps his eyes on them.
God sent a wind that blew across the whole earth and caused the floodwaters to begin to recede.
God gave Noah a sign.
Noah was looking for signs that the flood was coming to an end. I’m sure he was tired of being around those animals day and night. We can’t even imagine the smells and the other aspects of living in the ark.
Often, it is the not knowing that wears us down. We watch and wait and wonder and pray as the uncertainty gnaws away on the inside. Our chief question is always: “When will this end?”
We may feel forgotten and abandoned in the flood, but the dry land will appear in due time.
God Gives Us Signs
And just as God gave Noah a sign, he still gives signs and tokens of his grace today. Often it is a Scripture or a song repeated at just the right moment. Or a phone call or a letter that came when we felt like giving up.
God spoke to Noah again.
The final way God remembered Noah was by speaking to him again. In verses 16-17 the Lord instructed Noah to leave the ark with his family and the animals. As far as we can tell, this is the first time God had spoken to Noah since he told him to enter the ark.