For 150 days, God made His wrath known through a global flood. But in the midst of all the earth-ravishing waves, God had not forgotten Noah (Genesis 8:1). At the end of the first 150 days of the flood, God did something: He sent a wind upon the earth that caused the water to begin receding. The recession of the waters was a multi-month process, of which Genesis 8 provides many details.
The timeline below includes all the dates in Genesis 8 in chronological order:
(To view a larger version of this graphic click here).
Two of the most famous events in Genesis 8 are these: Noah sending out the raven, and Noah sending out the dove. Many have sought to find hidden symbols in these two events, but the best conclusion is this: Noah sent out an unsymbolical raven and an unsymbolical dove.
After Noah brought his bird-sending ventures to an end, New Year's Day was quickly approaching. On that special day, Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked out: the earth was dry, but not completely dry. And so, Noah waited some more. For almost three more months Noah waited until the day came that God spoke and commanded him to leave the ark.
Noah left the ark on the 27th day of the 2nd month (Genesis 8:14). The era of the post-flood world had begun, and Noah marked the occasion by offering up a burnt offering to the Lord. The offering Noah offered was not given out of obligation, but from a pure motive: his love for God.
The aroma of Noah's burnt offering drifted up to the heavens, and God found its aroma pleasing. It is at this point in time that Scripture states what God said in His heart:
The LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. (Genesis 8:21)God decided that He would not add to the Genesis 3 curse on the ground (but neither did He lift it). Despite man's sinfulness from youth, God chose to show mercy to the post-flood world. Never again would God send a flood to destroy the whole earth. For as long as the earth remained, the cycle of the seasons would never again be globally interrupted (Genesis 8:22).