Moses is writing this to the people of Israel whom God had delivered from bondage in Egypt. They are in the wilderness, glad not to be slaves but not so happy about where they are at the moment. It seems they would have been very encouraged to hear that God remembers his people. Brevard Childs writes, “God’s remembering always implies his movement toward the object (of his remembrance) …The essence of God’s remembering lies in his acting toward someone because of a previous commitment.” When God remembered Noah, he acted on Noah’s behalf to bring an end to the flood. When God remembered Abraham in Genesis 19, God saved Lot from Sodom. When God remembered Rachel in Genesis 30, he opened her womb and she conceived. When we take communion, we are doing as Jesus told us to. “Do this,” he said, “in remembrance of me.” Remembering Jesus means moving towards him in faith and dependence, giving our lives to the One who laid down his life for us.
When God remembered Noah, not that God could ever forget, he made the water stop. He really is the weatherman. And after the waters had receded for 150 days, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. Many days later, the dove Noah sent out found a place to rest. And finally, so did the people of God. The grace of God brings rest for his people, in and after the storm. The year-long journey in the ark had finally come to an end. Noah removed the covering of the ark, and again they waited until God said, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.”
There is an important reminder in this story that God calls us to obey, and often obedience looks exactly like waiting. Waiting on him, not running ahead, but waiting for his time and his word. When God told Noah to go out from the ark and bring everybody with him, do you think his wife and family had to be told twice? No, they had been ready for weeks on end to be out of there. But they had trusted God to work through Noah. Their obedience was just as important as Noah’s. Same with the animals! They had been given what must have been supernatural grace to live together and not kill each other for an estimated 370 days, and I love that when the time came, “(the animals) went out by families from the ark.” One by one they patiently lined up, maybe alphabetically: “Aardark family, you’re first!”
They filed out and re-creation began. Noah’s first act on the cleansed earth was to build an altar and make a sacrifice to the Lord. His first thought was not about himself and how he just wanted to enjoy himself for a few days after 101 years of very hard work. His first thought was about God. God remembered Noah, and Noah remembered God and his first act was worship. Allen Ross writes, “The people of God were to be a worshiping people, offering to God the praise of their lips and the best of their possessions.”
Good news! God still remembers his people.