Noah's ark dove

Day 3 (Jan. 3): Flood, Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, murder

Image by Carolyn Dyk/Wycliffe Bible Translators

Welcome to Livin’ Light’s Bible-In-A-Year challenge of discovering God’s love for us and His purpose for our lives. Here is the format for this great adventure: The daily reading assignment is posted at 5 a.m. After each day’s reading, Leigh An Coplin, the blog host, shares observations and poses questions about difficult passages to Rob Fields, who studied Christian Education at Asbury Seminary and currently teaches Biology in the Orlando area. To start from the beginning, click on 365 Bible Readings and scroll down to Day 1. The reading schedule is taken from The One Year Chronological Bible NLT. 

Today’s Reading
Genesis 7-10:5
1 Chronicles 1:5-7
Genesis 10:6-20 
1 Chronicles 1:8-16
Genesis 10:21-30 
1 Chronicles 1:17-23
Genesis 10:31-32 
(Before 2500 BC) Click here for a timeline of the whole Bible.

Questions & Observations

Q. (7:4): I saw a skit in church that told of how many years it took to build the ark, but here it’s saying 7 days?  Also, I’m starting to see a lot of 7’s.  What is significant about the number 7?

A. (7:4) doesn’t say the Noah build the ark in seven days; it says God told Noah to be ready, because the flood was coming in seven days.  7:1 tells us that the boat was already ready when God spoke to Noah and told him the flood was approaching.

Regarding you noticing the significance of seven, you have definitely hit upon something.  Seven is one of the most significant numbers in the Bible.  It signifies completeness and fulfillment, and traces its roots back the seven days of creation.

A few other numbers to watch for (some of which are shown in this reading): 3) Either representing the Trinity (which we established is strictly a NT concept), or also a form of emphasis. Things that the Bible repeats three times (Holy, Holy, Holy from Isaiah 6 is just one example of many), it is to draw attention to something important.  So if you see a portion of narration repeated, its not because the author screwed up and forgot what he wrote, it is to show that the thing repeated is really important.  4) Four is also a number you see frequently, and it tends to identify a completed set of something important (the four living creatures of Ezekiel and Revelation 4-6, the four horsemen of Zechariah 6 and Revelation 6).  6) Six represents humanity, incompleteness (as in not seven), and inferiority to God.  40) Forty represents a trial period or time of cleansing.  You have the flood which lasts forty days and nights, the Israelites in the wilderness forty years, and Jesus in the desert for forty days.

O. (8:3-14): The childhood accounts of Noah and the flood usually say it lasted 40 days and 40 nights.  I always thought that after that time Noah and the boat’s inhabitants walked off after 40 days.  But as the Bible describes, the total time from when the flood started to when they walked on dry ground was more like a year.

Q. (9:5-7): God says if someone kills, they should be killed.  This changes after Jesus dies on the cross where all sins are forgiven?

A. This is the subject of some debate.  Here we see clearly God’s command to avenge murder (along the lines of eye for an eye, Leviticus 24:20), but this command is honestly not consistent throughout the Old and New Testaments.  While the (capital L) Law (which we get from the next few books of the Old Testament) prescribed retribution killing — a death for a death, it is unclear if the Jews actually practiced this as their standard of law.  Certainly by Jesus’ time (First Century AD), it is quite clear that the people did not have the stomach to kill people for the sins prescribed in the Law.  Thus we see the seeds of mercy that Jesus preached (Matthew 5-7) already taking shape in the world into which He was born.

O. (9:24): To me, passing a punishment to someone else almost makes it worse for the offender, especially if it is passed on to your own sons or daughters.  Also, this seems to foreshadow Jesus taking on all of our sins.

For further reading: We can see that God can get pretty angry. This article deciphers God’s wrath. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/what-is-gods-wrath.html

Check out this video! The Ark Experience videos explain how the this venture actually happened.  And if you go there, you will see an amazing, detailed life-size display of the humongous project that God gave Noah: https://arkencounter.com/noahs-ark/

Shop: God tells us to spread the Gospel — Good News.  Livin’ Light helps make you a walking billboard for the Lord.  Shop at livinlight.org.

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 11:1-26; 1 Chronicles 1:24-27; Genesis 11:27-14:24