Devotional & Reflection

Week 4, Nov 2001

Genesis 8: God Forgets?
By Pang Hee Hung, Director & Trainer, Ezra Resources

Gen 8:1 " But God remembered Noah "

Last week, we were reminded to be like Noah who was patient and steadfast in the midst of the fallen world. Sometimes we ask God "How long?" in the midst of our waiting and trials. Yes, we are to be Faithful and Firm in a Fallen world. But has God Forgotten us? This passage reminds us that God remembers us as he remembered Noah. This does not mean that God has forgotten Noah or us. When biblical authors use "God remembered," it usually signifies a turning point. It is a pivotal point whereby God intervenes - to prevent tragedy or to extend grace. E.g. God remembered Abraham and saved Lot (Gen 19:29); God remembered Rachel and opened her womb (Gen 30:22); God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and begun the process of delivering the Israelites out of Egypt (Exod 2:24; 6:5); God remembered Hannah and she conceived Samuel (1 Sam 1:19).

This passage also has a chiastic, mirror structure that centers on the Gen 8:1 passage (adapted from Hamilton, Handbook On The Pentateuch, p. 76). The structure is as follows:
1. God resolved to destroy chaotic world (6:13-22)
2. Command to enter Ark (7:1-10)
3. Flood began (7:11-16)
4. Rising flood waters (7:17-24)
God remembered Noah (8:1)
4'. Receding flood waters (8:1-5)
3'. Flood ended, earth dried (8:6-14)
2'. Command to leave the ark (8:15-19)
1.' God resolved to preserve order (8:20-22)

As I was meditating on this passage a few weeks ago, my wife and I were wondering where my life was heading. God's direction for me seems hazy. We asked, "Where is God?" But God spoke to one of my ex-members in his meditations to have dinner with me. I was greatly blessed that God remembered me. It did not occur to me then. But having meditated on this and the other "God remembered" passages, I trust that God's intervention has begun. The turning point is just around the corner, which hopefully is not as long or as difficult as the deliverance of Israel. But the process of turning around has begun.

Just as God remembered Noah and us, we perhaps need to remember others too in their times of waiting, trials and struggles.

How are we barren?
How has God remembered you? Any signs?
Has the process of turning around begun?
Who can we remember now?

Tools For Reflection:
Last week we had an example of repetition of phrases within two chapters. Here, we see repetition of the phrase or theme of "God remembered" over the Old Testament. In so doing, we have a better understanding of the phrase.
This week, we also learn to look out for structures in the Bible.
Structures help us to identify the central thrust and theme of the passage.