Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
Matthew 11:3). But God had not forgotten him (cf. Mark 6:48; John 10:14). He remembered not Noah only, but every creature in the ark (cf. Luke 12:6). He saves to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). The time of trial was a prelude to complete deliverance (cf. Acts 14:22).
I. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN BELIEVERS ARE TEMPTED TO FEEL FORGOTTEN. When troubles gather, and prayers seem unanswered, it is hard to keep faith firm. The warning Hebrews 12:6, 7 often needful. Christians would fain be led in smooth ways. And when their course is irksome and discouraging they sometimes see the wind boisterous, and begin to sink. Still more surely does the feeling follow sin. The disciple has forgotten to watch; has trusted to his own strength; has ventured into temptation, and fallen. Then God is felt to be afar off (cf. Exodus 33:7). And there are times of discipline, when spiritual freedom seems denied, and the soul cannot cry Abba, and prayer seems choked (cf. Isaiah 49:14). Perhaps it is to teach humility; perhaps to show some root of evil; perhaps to excite more hunger for communion with God.
II. BUT GOD DOES NOT FORGET. A creature's love may fail (Isaiah 49:15), a creature's watchfulness may faint, but not God's. He made us; can he forget our wants? His purpose is our salvation; will he neglect any step? He gave his own Son for us; is anything else too great for his goodness? Not even thy coldness and unbelief can make him cease to care.
III. GOD'S CARE EXTENDS TO THE LEAST. Our Lord welcomed
(2) the undeserving (Luke 7:39; Luke 15:10; Luke 19:7). He cares also for small matters (cf. Luke 12:28-30). What treasures of wisdom and love surround us on every side! These are not beneath his care. Will he not fulfill? (Romans 8:28).
IV. FREEDOM THROUGH THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. God's time not always what we should choose (cf. John 7:6). Noah a prisoner of hope. God showed that the hope was well founded. The agent of deliverance "a wind " - the same word, both in Hebrew and in the LXX., as is used in Genesis 1:2 for the Spirit of God. Doubtless the agent in drying up the water was a wind. But in the spiritual lesson we are reminded of the Holy Spirit. His work at first brought life on the earth; and his work prepared for repeopling it, and completed the work of Noah's deliverance. And his work gives us freedom, showing us the work of Christ, and our position as children of God. - M.
1. The new world came out of an ark of Divine grace. Religion is the real foundation of society.
2. The waves of the flood bore the ark to its resting-place. So the waters of affliction, though they heave our vessel and trouble our hearts with fear, carry us onward to a new and often higher standpoint of knowledge and faith.
3. While the flood bore the ark, God himself chose out the spot where it should end its awful journey. The Ararat of the new world was like the paradise of the first man - the nursery of a rising humanity; but whereas in the state of innocence it is a garden, in the case of the redeemed man it is a mountain, with its steep, rough places, its heights and depths, its trials and dangers. The humanity which started from Ararat carried with it at once the good and the evil of the old world which had passed away, and the mountain symbolized the complex treasury of possibilities, mingled with liabilities, which were laid up in the rescued race. - R.
Grace and Truth took possession of man's world, cursed by sin, redeemed by grace. - R.
the rest, a half sabbath, promise of the rest which remains to the people of God.
I. AN EXAMPLE OF FAITH.
1. Not until God spake did Noah dare to do more than lift off the covering and look.
2. At the heavenly word the family, redeemed by grace, takes possession of the redeemed habitation.
II. THE REDEEMED LIFE IN ITS NEW APPOINTMENT. GO forth of the ark into the new world. There is the keynote of the Bible. Man redeemed is man living by every word of God.
1. By Divine commandment going into the prepared refuge.
2. By Divine commandment taking down old bounds and occupying new places.
3. Going forth into a promised land rejoicing in a pledged future.
4. Carrying with him all lower creatures into a new, progressive, God-blessed inheritance. The whole creation groaning and travailing, the whole creation participating in the Divine deliverance. - R.
(1) not the offerings of caprice, but the fulfillment of Divine commands,
(2) the reciprocation of Heaven's communications -
(3) ascends from the earth-built altar and fills the Lord with satisfaction. In return for that obedience and devotion the curse is removed, the earth is sealed with the saving strength of God in a covenant of peace.
I. RELIGIOUS LIFE IS ACCEPTABLE TO GOD when it is
(1) grateful acknowledgment of his mercy;
(2) humble obedience to his own revealed will;
(3) consecration of place, time, life, possessions to him.
II. UNION and COMMUNION between God and man is the foundation on which all earthly happiness and security rest.
III. The FORBEARANCE AND MERCY OF GOD in his relation to those whose hearts are yet full of evil is at once probation and grace. The ground is not cursed any more for man's sake, but, the more evidently, that which falls upon the ground may fall upon man himself. The higher revelations of God in the post-Noachic period were-certainly larger bestowments of grace, but at the same time they involved a larger responsibility. So the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reasons as to the punishment of those who trample underfoot the covenant of the gospel. The progressive covenants which make up the history of God's grace recorded in the Scriptures are progressive separations of the evil and the good, therefore they point to that complete and final separation in which God's righteousness shall be eternally glorified. - R.