Verses 1-3 (Genesis 8:1-3)

Here is, I. An act of God?s grace: God remembered Noah and every living thing. This is an expression after the manner of men; for not any of his creatures (Luke 12:6), much less any of his people, are forgotten of God, Isa. 49:15, 16. But, 1. The whole race of mankind, except Noah and his family, was now extinguished, and driven into the land of forgetfulness, to be remembered no more; so that God?s remembering Noah was the return of his mercy to mankind, of whom he would not make a full end. It is a strange expression, Ezek. 5:13; When I have accomplished my fury in them, I will be comforted. The demands of divine justice had been answered by the ruin of those sinners; he had eased him of his adversaries (Isa. 1:24), and now his spirit was quieted (Zech. 6:8), and he remembered Noah and every living thing. He remembered mercy in wrath (Hab. 3:2), remembered the days of old (Isa. 63:11), remembered the holy seed, and then remembered Noah. 2. Noah himself, though one that had found grace in the eyes of the Lord, yet seemed to be forgotten in the ark, and perhaps began to think himself so; for we do not find that God had told him how long he should be confined and when he should be released. Very good men have sometimes been ready to conclude themselves forgotten of God, especially when their afflictions have been unusually grievous and long. Perhaps Noah, though a great believer, yet when he found the flood continuing so long after it might reasonably be presumed to have done its work, was tempted to fear lest he that shut him in would keep him in, and began to expostulate. How long wilt thou forget me? But at length God returned in mercy to him, and this is expressed by remembering him. Note, Those that remember God shall certainly be remembered by him, how desolate and disconsolate soever their condition may be. He will appoint them a set time and remember them, Job 14:13. 3. With Noah, God remembered every living thing; for, though his delight is especially in the sons of men, yet he rejoices in all his works, and hates nothing that he has made. He takes special care, not only of his people?s persons, but of their possessions?of them and all that belongs to them. He considered the cattle of Nineveh, Jonah 4:11.

II. An act of God?s power over wind and water, both of which are at his beck, though neither of them is under man?s control. Observe,

1. He commanded the wind, and said to that, Go, and it went, in order to the carrying off of the flood: God made a wind to pass over the earth. See here, (1.) What was God?s remembrance of Noah: it was his relieving him. Note, Those whom God remembers he remembers effectually, for good; he remembers us to save us, that we may remember him to serve him. (2.) What a sovereign dominion God has over the winds. He has them in his fist (Prov. 30:4) and brings them out of his treasuries, Ps. 135:7. He sends them when, and whither, and for what purposes, he pleases. Even stormy winds fulfil his word, Ps. 148:8. It should seem, while the waters increased, there was no wind; for that would have added to the toss of the ark; but now God sent a wind, when it would not be so troublesome. Probably, it was a north wind, for that drives away rain. However, it was a drying wind, such a wind as God sent to divide the Red Sea before Israel, Exod. 14:21.

2. He remanded the waters, and said to them, Come, and they came. (1.) He took away the cause. He sealed up the springs of those waters, the fountains of the great deep, and the windows of heaven. Note, [1.] As God has a key to open, so he has a key to shut up again, and to stay the progress of judgments by stopping the causes of them: and the same hand that brings the desolation must bring the deliverance; to that hand therefore our eye must ever be. He that wounds is alone able to heal. See Job 12:14. [2.] When afflictions have done the work for which they are sent, whether killing work or curing work, they shall be removed. God?s word shall not return void, Isa. 55:10, 11. (2.) Then the effect ceased; not all at once, but by degrees: The waters abated (Gen. 8:1), returned from off the earth continually, Heb. they were going and returning (Gen. 8:3), which denotes a gradual departure. The heat of the sun exhaled much, and perhaps the subterraneous caverns soaked in more. Note, As the earth was not drowned in a day, so it was not dried in a day. In the creation, it was but one day?s work to clear the earth from the waters that covered it, and to make it dry land; nay, it was but half a day?s work, Gen. 1:9, 10. But, the work of creation being finished, this work of providence was effected by the concurring influence of second causes, yet thus enforced by the almighty power of God. God usually works deliverance for his people gradually, that the day of small things may not be despised, nor the day of great things despaired of, Zech. 4:10. See Prov. 4:18.

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary