The Heavens Were Opened


Noah and the ark is a familiar Bible story to many. I often used to read it to my kids from their children’s Bible. The story began, “Noah was a good man who trusted God.” On the accompanying page was a smiling, bearded man surrounded by pairs of lions and tigers. Sounds like a great summary, and it is. But, there is so much more. As you read the passage today, don’t miss the richness of Noah’s courage, the awesome power of God over creation, the fearsome nature of judgment, and the beauty of God’s protection over his righteous remnant. 

  • How can familiarity with something lessen its impact?


11 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. 12 And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah and his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them entered the ark, 14 they and every beast, according to its kind, and all the livestock according to their kinds, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, according to its kind, and every bird, according to its kind, every winged creature. 15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.

17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubitsdeep. 21 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind.22 Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23 He 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. 24 And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Recount the progression of the flood (vss. 11-12, 17-20, 24). Imagine what was going through the minds of Noah and his family on the ark as they lived through the flood experience. 
  2. How many times do you notice the phrase “the waters prevailed” in verses 17-24? To prevail is defined as proving more powerful than opposing forces, or to be victorious. How did this demonstrate that God is Lord over all creation?
  3. Our view of God determines how we live. What characteristics of God do you see displayed in this passage? What difference will this make in how you live out your faith? 


The biblical account of Noah and the ark foreshadows the greater reality of Christ, the Cross, and the final judgment. By grace, those in the ark lived, while those outside the ark perished. In Christ, there is grace and life; outside of him, ultimately, is only destruction. There is no other name under heaven by which one may be saved. The flood was God’s way of purging the earth of its corruption, washing it clean. In his holiness, God has no tolerance for sin and must judge it. In his compassion, he sent his son, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). In response, let us rejoice in so great a Savior. 

  • Praise God for his justice, his holiness, and his power over creation.
  • Pray that you would walk in a worthy manner, bearing fruit, and growing in your love and knowledge of God.