Today, as I read the account in the book of Genesis of Noah and the flood, I could not help but think about similarities between the flood in Noah’s day and the Covid-19 pandemic we are currently enduring. And yes, I do believe there was an actual flood in which “God blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark ” (Genesis 7:23).
We are told that Noah was 600 years old when the flood came, to be exact, “in the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11). We know the flood was extensive. Verses 19-20 of Genesis 7 read, “And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.”
In Genesis 8, verses 13-14, we read, “In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried off from the earth. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out.” It seems to me that the flood and its devastation lasted just a few days more than one year.
At the beginning of Genesis 8, we read these words, “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and livestock that were with him in the ark…” What? Mercy, did God forget Noah, his family, and all the animals? Did He all of a sudden remember that He had flooded the earth?
No, He never forgot. Rather, “but God remembered” means that He acted decisively. He caused “a wind to blow over the earth, and the waters subsided” (Genesis 8:1).
One of the accounts that I read described the flood as a “worldwide cataclysm of unprecedented dimension.” So many times have I begun emails and notes this year with, “I hope you and those you love are well in these unprecedented times in which we find ourselves.”
I have to admit, I am an animal lover; and yet I know there are many friends of mine who do not share that sentiment. I probably would have thought it was really kind of nice to have been cooped up with all of the animals, birds, and such for a few weeks, but I can only imagine that as time went on, the ark got not only a bit crowded, but also rather smelly! Let’s just say I would not have fared well for an entire year!
And so it is with this pandemic. Just as Noah and his family were undoubtedly tired of being in such close quarters with all the animals, I am equally tired of all the precautions I feel it is necessary that I take during this time. I am tired of wearing masks, tired of “washing/sanitizing” groceries, using hand sanitizer until my hands are uncomfortably dry and irritated, having to make reservations to attend worship services, meeting on Zoom, and being unable to be with family and friends in the same ways we had been able to gather previously. And I have only been inconvenienced; I have not lost a loved one, but I personally know several people who have.
But just as the flood waters eventually abated, in God’s timing, so will Covid-19. As we read in Genesis 8:1, “God will remember”; He will act. Hopefully the advent of the vaccine will be a start.
When Noah and his family finally went out from the ark, do you remember what he did? He worshiped. He built and altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings on that altar. May our response be like Noah’s; let us worship Him who does all things well.