But God remembered Noah and all the animals in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the waters, and the floods began to disappear. — Genesis 8:1
The floods which swept over Mozambique in March 2000 were described by veteran relief workers as the worst natural disaster they had ever witnessed. After many days of cyclonic rainfall, the River Limpopo burst its banks.
Mozambique, which is virtually the flood plain of southeast Africa, was inundated. Tens of thousands of helpless people were swept away, villages disappeared, and crops were devastated. Those who survived found precarious refuge in the tops of trees or on rooftops, which occasionally collapsed under the weight of the people. Rescue efforts were hindered by bureaucratic red tape, corruption, and lack of supplies. In the aftermath of the flooding, outbreaks of malaria and typhoid fever took many lives. The specter of starvation loomed over the troubled land. Hopelessness and helplessness prevailed.
The devastation in Mozambique no doubt prompted some people to think about the flood recorded in Scripture. In that event, the devastation was unprecedented and has never been repeated. While no theological cause and effect can be attributed to the Mozambique inundation, we do know the cause of the biblical flood. God, on observing “the extent of the people’s wickedness,” had specifically said, “I will completely wipe out this human race that I have created” (Genesis 6:5-6).
In Mozambique, the treetop survivors waited endlessly in hope that one of the few helicopters brought into action would see their plight and rescue them. In Noah’s case, “God remembered [him] and all the animals in the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the waters, and the floods began to disappear” (8:1).
After careful reconnaissance with a raven and a dove, Noah and his family, the flood’s sole human survivors, disembarked in direct response to the divine command, “Leave the boat, all of you” (8:16). Then Noah promptly “built an altar to the Lord and sacrificed on it the animals and birds that had been approved for that purpose. And the Lord was pleased with the sacrifice” (8:20-21). Then the Lord promised that the normal course of seasonal and diurnal life would never again be disrupted. For no other reason than God’s own grace, mankind was given a chance to start again, to be born anew.
The devastation caused by the floods in Mozambique reminds us of the horrors of Noah’s flood, which, in turn, points to the seriousness of human sin and divine judgment. The shortage of relief in southeast Africa contrasts vividly with the gracious divine rescue of Noah. It is against the dark backdrop of sin and judgment that grace shines most brightly.
For further study: Genesis 8:1-22
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.