But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. (Gen. 8:1)
We’ve all had those moments when a single thought brings a whole and complete concept into being within our minds. But to express that thought to others takes far more time and energy than its coming into being. This is one of those times. Let me start with the whole and then share the pieces; maybe then you will be able to connect the proverbial dots that were drawn in a flash within my thoughts.
When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, He said, “The wind blows where it wishes . . . but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.” (Jn. 3:8). Jesus wanted Nicodemus to understand from the natural how the Spirit will come into our lives blowing as the LORD desires to accomplish God’s purposes, specifically being “born again” or being made a new creation in Christ.
Now let’s unpack that thought from the story of Noah and try to more fully understand what I believe God desires to do in our lives today by His Spirit.
I’m struck by what happened as God “remembered” Noah and all the animals with him in the ark. It’s not that the LORD had forgotten Noah, but at the appropriate time God acted on behalf of all the living creatures within the ark. What did God do? “God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided.” This is the work of the Spirit that God wants to do within our lives. Like Nicodemus, we may not know where the wind comes from or where it is going, but when it blows we can hear, see and feel the effect whether it be a gentle breeze or gale-force blast.
“Wind” in Hebrew is the word ruwach, which is also translated as “spirit” and “breath.” It is the ruwach or “Spirit”that is first mentioned as hovering over the waters at creation. The Spirit hovers (rachaph in the Hebrew) is literally pictured as a bird flapping its wings, so the Spirit’s hovering is the source of the wind. This activity of the Spirit brought about all creation by God’s spoken word. Jesus, the Word, exhaled or breathed out the spoken word that was being fulfilled or completed by the Spirit at creation.
Now back to Noah. As God remembered Noah the Spirit (translated here as “wind” but the same word in Hebrew) acted in a similar way as it did at creation. The Spirit now came to “blow over” the earth and waters; in the Hebrew the word àbar can be understood as to cross over or cover. Thus similar to creation the Spirit or wind is moving above or across the waters and earth to fulfill God’s purpose at that moment in Noah’s life (and that time in creation).
At creation the Spirit or wind was active to bring everything into being. But God’s creation was complete in six days, and the LORD rested from His work on the seventh day. Thus the Spirit’s work of creation is finished, so what was the ruwach (spirit/wind) doing following the flood?
From our bible reading today, I think the Psalmist helps us connect the dots. Psalm 104:30 says, “When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” The Psalmist describes the Spirit’s activity or work in two ways: the ruwach (spirit/wind) does the work of creation (bara’ create), which at creation was described as “hovering over” the waters. However, the Psalmist also says of the LORD that by the ruwach (spirit/wind) you “renew the face of the ground.” “Renew” or chadash in the Hebrew means to repair, recreate, or make anew.
Thus after the flood, which remember was God’s judgment for the sinfulness of man, the Spirit who was active to bring creation into being is now seen as actively restoring or renewing God’s creation. Noah was powerless to cause the flood to subside so the land would again produce and sustain life. Only the Spirit of God could again blow over the waters so Noah together with his family and all the animals could leave the ark and live again on dry ground.
As followers of Jesus or believers, you and I have experience the new birth Nicodemus struggled to understand. The Spirit or wind/breath of God has come to us so we are made alive in Christ. We have been cleansed of our sin and forgiven, but how often do we again stumble and fall again. It is at these times that we again need the Wind of God to come blow afresh across our lives to renew, refersh and restore again the work of salvation that God alone can accomplish in us.
I desire God’s Spirit to come according to the LORD’S time to blow again into my life. I don’t need to know from where the Spirit comes only to experience again the refreshing of being restored and made anew. Today I will raise the sail of my heart to catch again the wind of His Spirit.
Yes to Yield
LORD Jesus, as you remembered Noah I pray you will remember me today. I thank You that by Your power the work of salvation is complete in me; I’m no longer dead in my sins, but am made alive in Christ. Yet I need a fresh blowing of Your Spirit in my life; come Holy Spirit! LORD, You alone know how and from where Your Spirit needs to blow over my life, whether it be a gentle breeze of encouragement or a gale-force blast of stronghold destruction. Come, I need You LORD and do Your work in me.