Genesis 8:6 ~ 14
 Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made;
 and he sent out a raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth.
 Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land;
 but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.
 So he waited yet another seven days; and again he sent out the dove from the ark.
 The dove came to him toward evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth.
 Then he waited yet another seven days, and sent out the dove; but she did not return to him again.
 Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, on the first of the month, the water was dried up from the earth. Then Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the surface of the ground was dried up.
 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, This is 116th Lecture on Genesis.
The water that covered the entire earth during the flood steadily decreased. In Noah’s 600th year, on the 1st day of the 10th month, the tops of the mountains became visible. 40 days later from this day, Noah sent a bird out of the ark to see if the water had abated.
He first sent out a raven. Then the raven flew here and there as the water was drying up from the earth until it was dry.The raven actually was no real help to Noah. And so, Noah sent out a dove the next time. But the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to the ark. Noah put out his hand and took the dove, and brought her into the ark to himself.He could see that the water was still on the surface of all the earth.
So seven days later, he sent out the dove from the ark again. The dove came to him toward evening, and in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. ‘A fleshly picked olive leaf’ means that the water was almost abated from the earth. Another seven days later, Noah sent out the dove; but she did not return to him this time.
Noah met a new year in the ark.In his six hundred and first year, on the 1st day of the 1st month, Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked around to see the surface of the ground was dried up.Yet still, he didn’t get out of the ark. It was because God didn’t tell him anything yet. On the 27th day of the 2nd month, the land was dry and God told Noah to come out of the ark.
Brothers and sisters, from the fact that Noah sent out a bird, we can learn a couple of lessons. First, faith is followed by deed. God knew how much the water was abated.But He didn’t tell Noah about it on all such occasions. He let Noah check for himself how much the water was abated.
Since God is almighty, those who believe in God can understand all things and do all things by communicating with God. However, those with the ‘full assurance of faith’ are inspired of what they should do to get help from God.
They don’t just say, “LORD, I believe” without doing what they are supposed to do or what they must do. It is because the ‘full assurance of faith’ can be given from above to those who accomplish the ‘sincere heart.’A ‘sincere heart’ is the heart filled with goodness, love and truth that God desires. Those with a sincere heart never violate the justice and seek their own benefit.Those who have a sincere heart in full assurance of faith are aware of what they should do to meet justice when they need to receive an answer. According to it, they do what they are supposed to, and sow what they should sow.
The reason God the Father is conducting human cultivation is to acquire such children as these who have a sincere heart. And to these with a sincere heart, God gives the ‘full assurance of faith’ from above so that they can reveal the glory of God by faith.
What if a man could receive answer just by saying, “I believe,” even though he doesn’t have a sincere heart?It would be the same as parents do whatever their child wish even though the child doesn’t do his/her duty.
Say, your child has homework. But he doesn’t want to do his homework, but to play instead.Would you do his homework and go to school for him?No matter how difficult it is for him to manage, you would never do it for him. Children should do what they are supposed to do to get the knowledge and skills they need. Only then can they grow up to carry out their roles in their communities.
Of course, their parents can help them during the process. Parents can help with their children’s homework, and encourage them too. But doing their homework for them is completely different from helping them with their homework.
By the same token, when the children of faith face difficulty or trial, God can manifest His power for those who seek it. But God does not cause difficulties, trials, or refinements to come upon them at all.It is because through the process of overcoming them, they will feel the love of God and accomplish a sincere heart.
Tonight’s scripture talks about the end of the Great Flood. And now, the human cultivation would begin anew. As the new human cultivation began, God was leading Noah to show his deeds all by himself. Of course, even before this, Noah was the man who established perfect obedience to God’s word.
Before the flood, however, he was in the level of just obeying the word in a situation given by God. God gave him all the instructions as how to build the ark and what to do.God taught him like this and guided him. God Himself worked even when loading the animals into the ark. From now on, however, God was leading Noah so that Noah would be inspired in what to do by himself and accomplish the will of God.
Those amazing works of faith in the Bible are surely done by God.When examined carefully, however, they were accompanied with the forefathers’ deeds of faith.
For example, when the Israelites who escaped from Egypt were about to cross the Jordan River, what did they do?Did God first stop the overflowing currents of the Jordan River? And then, did the Israelites check the bottom of the river and step onto the river bed?In the beginning of Exodus, when they crossed the Red Sea, the Israelites’ faith was so weak, and thus God divided the Red Sea first and then let them cross.
For the 2nd generation of Exodus, who were trained in the wilderness, the situation was different. That is, their faith grew up to that extent. And so, God let the priests who carried the ark of covenant step into the river first. When they conquered the city of Jericho, that was the first hurdle to the land of Canaan, God didn’t take care of it all; He instructed the Israelites what to do.
With His power, God could have made the city of Jericho collapse in an instant, but He let the Israelites show their deed of faith. That is, He let them walk around the city once a day for 6 days, and 7 times on the 7th day and shout. The Israelites obeyed the word, and the city of Jericho fell by the power of God.Just imagine how much their trust in God grew up ever stronger in their hearts through this. They must have had such strong faith since all they had to do was just obey the word of God!