January 8.—Morning. [Or January 15.]
“Return unto thy rest, O my soul.”
AND God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: (The Lord did not forget the saved ones. He thought on Noah first, and then on those with him, and even thus he remembers his dear Son, and us for his sake.) and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;
2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; (How readily are all things ordered by the Lord’s providence. Winds and waters move at his bidding, as well for the deliverance of his people as for the destruction of his foes.)
3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.
6 ¶ And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:
7 And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. (This foul bird could light on carrion; just as wicked men find delight in sin.)
8 Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground;
9 But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him in the ark. (Even thus our weary souls when renewed by grace find no rest in polluted things, but return unto Jesus their rest; and he graciously draws us in to himself when we are too faint to come.)
10 And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;
11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
12 And he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more. (In the new and renovated world the dove could live at liberty, as regenerated souls dwell amid holy things.)
15 ¶ And God spake unto Noah, saying,
16 Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
17 Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.
18 And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:
He did not come forth till he was bidden to do so by the same voice which called him into the ark. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
20 ¶ And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Before he built a house he built an altar. God must be first worshipped in all things.)
21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
22 While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Thus Noah’s sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord and the ground of a new covenant; and so the offering of the Lord Jesus is evermore a sweet savour, and for his sake the covenant of grace is made with all the saved ones. Have all of us an interest in it?
O Jesus, Saviour of the lost,
Our ark and hiding place,
By storms of sin and sorrow toss’d,
We seek thy sheltering grace.
Forgive our wandering and our sin,
We wish no more to roam;
Open the ark and take us in,
Our soul’s eternal home.
January 8.—Evening. [Or January 16.]
“He will ever be mindful of His covenant.”
IN this portion we have fuller particulars of the gracious covenant made with Noah and his seed.
8 ¶ And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying,
9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.
To those who have been saved in Christ no future destruction is possible. They are for ever secure from the floods of wrath.
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: (The covenant sign is seen in cloudy times when faith most requires a seal of the Lord’s faithfulness. No cloud, no bow. It is worth while to have a cloud to have a rainbow painted upon it.)
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, (This is better than man’s looking upon it, for He will never gaze with forgetful eye.) that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. (The word everlasting has heavenly music in it. A temporary covenant is of small value, but an everlasting covenant is a wellspring of delight.)
17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
The rainbow is thus made the lovely symbol of God’s truth. A bow unstrung, for war is over; a bow without a string never to be used against us; a bow turned upward, that we may direct our thoughts and prayers thither; a bow of bright colours, for joy and peace are signified by it. Blessed arch of beauty, be thou to us ever the Lord’s preacher.
We will now turn to a passage in the prophets where the covenant of divine grace is linked with this bow.
4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6 For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.
9 For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee.
10 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee. (Let us henceforth be ashamed to doubt the Lord. These steadfast signs should create in us unstaggering confidence in the faithfulness of our immutable God. Only let us make sure that we are exercising true faith in Him.)
The warm affections of his breast
Towards his chosen burn;
And in his love he’ll ever rest,
Nor from his oath return.
Still to confirm his oath of old,
See in the heavens his bow;
No fierce rebukes, but joys untold
Await his children now.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 15–16). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.