Genesis 8:20-9:17 Thanks giving

God’s solemn promise to man.

The flood is over. Dry land is once again available to man and beast. Noah and company have a LOT to be thankful for. God had new marching orders for the family too.

Noah learned to honor God from a young age. He knew about giving offerings to God. He knew how to build an altar and that was his first task after coming out of the ark. I’m not sure if the offering came before getting all the animals off the ark or after. It could go either way for me. If it was after, he would have needed to hold a few of the “clean birds” and “clean animals” back for his sacrifice. He certainly wouldn’t want to have to chase them down. If he did it before letting them off, they might have smelled death on him and been difficult to control. The animals were not afraid of humans until this point, although sacrifices had been taking place for over 1,600 years.

Something I’m curious about, in ALL the previous meat sacrifices, what did they do with it after it was cooked? Did God consume everything with fire? Did they leave in on the fire until it was just ash? What became of it? They didn’t eat it previously. God allowed man to eat meat after this sacrifice, not before. I wonder what they thought of the taste of it that first time. Did they have a hard time eating it, as they were “friends” with the animal that provided it? Or was it a natural extension of the sacrifice process now? No longer did they have to incinerate the meat but could eat it after all the blood was cooked from it.

(“You try it.”

“I’m not going to try it! You try it!”

“Let’s get Mikey. He’ll eat anything!”

“He likes it! Hey Mikey.”)

I wonder who was “Mikey” in this instance. No longer was the animal’s life given only for sacrificial reasons, now it was to sustain human life too. I wonder if this was a metabolism shift for man. Previously we only needed plant material to survive. Man now would be able to digest complex proteins from this point on. Our bodies today REQUIRE proteins for optimal health. Most of those proteins do not come from plants but animals.

Something that just occurred to me. Were they still wearing animal skins? And did those skins only come from animals used for a sacrifice? Did they thank God for the animal as they took its life to harvest its hide? Probably those who still followed God did, but I don’t know about the rest. Did those who didn’t follow God before the flood eat meat before God said this was acceptable? We are told that man was very wicked and nothing was beyond his depraved mind. That is why God sent the flood in the first place.

Our meat eating animals would have had to remain on a plant diet a little longer. Everything on the ark was vegetarian at the time. Everything was created vegetarian in the garden. Did that change when sin began or after leaving the ark? How and when did the lion learn that the gazelle was good for food? Did God change animal’s metabolic process after the flood or had they been feasting on one another since the beginning or just from the expulsion from the garden? SO MANY questions to ask God when I finally get to see Him face to face. I want to have a chat with Adam and Noah too! I wonder what they would think of how I write their stories. Would they find them entertaining, funny, offensive, or right on point?

Time to come back to our story. Our passengers are finally able to step foot on dry land again after nearly a year on the water. It is time to tell God “Thank You” for keeping them safe.

Another side note: how many babies came off the ark? Gestation time for most all livings things is less than a year. I know elephants have a longer gestation period but who is to say some of the animals were not pregnant when the journey began. I sure do get sidetracked easily. Let’s join our family again as they begin their new adventure.

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Everyone has been working hard to get the ark emptied. “Make sure and save a pair of each of the clean animals back. Don’t let them off yet” calls Noah to his sons. The animals are not afraid of the people and willingly go where they are directed. The reserve pairs are put in one pen at the back of the ark.

“That’s the end of them father” calls Japheth. The elephant is the last one down the gangplank. The animals are milling around. None of them have left the area. There is plenty of fresh grass to eat and even some trees to pick the top leaves from for the giraffe.

“Let’s gather some stones and some wood. It is time to build an altar and give thanks for all that the Lord had done for us” directs Noah. He directs those carrying the pieces as to where to put them.

Everyone helps in this task. Everyone has something special they want to thank God for. Their hearts and minds were full of praises and thanks they wanted to offer when the altar was complete. It took about an hour to get everything ready.

Noah instructs Shem, “Bring out the reserved animals. It’s time to give thanks to the Lord.” Shem brings his brothers along to help. There are twenty two animals in total. Two doves, two pigeons, two ducks, two geese, two chickens, two cows, two sheep, two goats, two donkeys, two horses and two camels.

As each pair is brought to the mouth of the ark they are killed and dressed for the sacrifice. Each pair is then laid on the altar and burned before God. The birds are done first as they are the hardest to contain in the ark. Then the process is repeated until all the animals have been brought out, killed, dressed and offered to the Lord. This takes the family the rest of the day so the entire day is spent in praise and worship before the Lord.

“Thank You Lord for choosing me, imperfect as I am, to be the father of all those who will now walk the earth. Help me be mindful of this task and train my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to honor You with their whole lives.”

“Praise be to God, Lord of all, for allowing me to be the mother to all the new generations. Help me be worthy of this calling.”

“Thank You Lord for the new life growing within me. Help Shem and I to train this new life in a manner pleasing unto You. Help this child be strong in Your Spirit and be a blessing to its parents.”

“Thank You Lord for giving me this wonderful wife who is willing to stand beside me in all I do and for her lessons in patience she learned during out time on the ark. Let those lessons also be evident in how she cares for our child. I would love for this child to be a son Lord, if You are so inclined.”

Japheth and his wife join hands as they offer their praise and prayers. “Thank You Lord for bringing us as part of this journey. Thank You for keeping us safe through the long voyage and for bringing us to this beautiful setting. Please bless us with many children as You have begun to bless our brother and his wife. We pray for the health of their child as well as the health of all our future children. We eagerly await the adventure You have next for us.”

Ham and his wife add their “Amen” to Japheth’s family prayer.

All is quiet except for the crackling of the fire on the altar as each couple reflects on all the things God has done for them over the past several years. Who would have guessed that being faithful to father’s command to “get building” so long ago would result in them standing in this beautiful place today. All of the criticism of the neighbors, the loss of friends, and the estrangements that went with this journey are paid back in full. All are also wondering what God has in store for them next.

It’s God’s turn to speak. He has some promises He wants to bestow on this faithful group. “Because you listened and followed ALL my commands, I’m giving the whole earth over to your care. I swear by My own Name, for there is none higher, that I will NEVER AGAIN destroy all flesh from the earth by flood. I’m setting a visible sign in the sky for you and I to both reference any time it rains. This will be an everlasting sing and all future generations can reflect on this solemn promise as it is for them also. It is a bow of many colors. See for yourself how beautiful it is.”

All eyes search the sky and are drawn to the magnificent sight. “That’s beautiful!” “How amazing!” “Thank You Lord for this sign.” These are just of a few of the praises offered that moment when the group beholds God’s rainbow.

“You are to fill the earth again with mankind. Yes, I’m answering all three of these family’s prayers. You will have MANY descendants. Teach them my ways. Also, the fear of you and the dread of you will now be on every animal, big and small, land and sea animals too. They will no longer be in your constant companionship. You are also now allowed to consume their flesh as food. Previously you were given every green thing, now you have all the animals too. BUT you are not to eat them with the blood still in them. The blood is their life. You are to kill and drain this life from them before eating of them. Life is precious, especially that of man. From the first life of man that was taken until now I have kept an accounting. From this moment forward I will require a reckoning. For every animal I will require it and for every man I will require it. From man, I will require a life for a life. If you kill a man, by man will you also be killed. I made man in My own image and he is precious to me.”

Noah speaks for the group as he is its head. “We will do just as You have commanded Lord. Thank You for Your promises and for Your blessings. We look forward to this new chapter in our lives.”

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Father God, I look forward to the new chapter being written in my life too. Things are changing for my husband. I don’t know what lies ahead for us but I trust You will be with us in it too. Weather good times or bad, our lives are in Your hands!

Thank You for Your promises to Noah and company. I enjoy eating the meat You created. I also love looking at Your rainbow. NO it is NOT a symbol of “gay pride” nor does it hold a pot of gold at its end. It is Your solemn promise. It is also awe inspiring and beautiful to behold. Please let me have another opportunity to pass through one again. That was amazing and I would LOVE to repeat it.

Father God, thank You also for not giving up on man. We have made a mess of this world again but Your love restrained Your hand from dealing with us as we deserve. Thank You for that grace and mercy. BOTH of these were what nailed Jesus to the cross that day. Nails couldn’t really hold Him but mercy, grace and love did instead. THANK YOU LORD JESUS!

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