But God remembered Noah ...
The Beginning of the Fulfillment
After the end of that awful wrath and after the destruction of all flesh, together with the earth, comes the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise that the Lord gave to Noah and his sons, that they would be the seed of the human race. Undoubtedly they were looking forward very eagerly to this promise. No life is more difficult than one lived in faith, like the one Noah and his sons lived, whom we see utterly dependent on heaven. Because the earth was covered with water and they had no ground on which to set foot, there was only the Word of the promise to give them support as they drifted over that vast mass of water. . .. Look at Noah, who was surrounded by water on all sides and was all but overwhelmed by it. It is not works that preserve him, but solely his reliance on the mercy of God, to which the Word of the promise kept calling him. This difficult situation Moses describes by implication in the statement, "The Lord remembered." He points out that Noah had drifted on the waters for so long that God seemed to have completely forgotten him. Men who live in such a conflict of thoughts—when the rays of divine grace are withdrawn, and we find ourselves in darkness or in a state of being forgotten by God—discover that it is far more difficult to live by the Word alone or by faith than to be a hermit or a Carthusian monk.
All flesh died that moved on the earth.... Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark.
GENESIS 7:21, 23
Only Those in the Ark
God remains truthful and preserves the Church, rules, and guides it, but in a manner that the world neither sees nor understands. . .. [The Church] God has chosen for Himself ... receives the Word and shuns idolatry, although it is so hard pressed by cross and dishonor that it is not considered a church but a heretical body and a school of the devil. . .. In the same way man was given dominion over the world at the beginning of creation. In the flood this is taken away, not forever but for a time; and even then it is not taken away entirely. Even though the greater part of the world perishes, man nevertheless remains lord of the creatures; that lordship is preserved for him, if not in so large a multitude as the world believed and wanted, nevertheless in a few individuals, that is, eight souls, something that the world did not consider. God's promise [of the dominion over the earth by human beings], therefore, did not lie. God kept His promise, but He did not keep it in the manner in which the world wanted it kept. He destroyed the sinners; but He saved the righteous, even though they were few and were like seed that God increased later on in various ways.
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.
Entering the Ark
In what frame of mind do you suppose we would have been if we had been brought into the ark and had seen the waters rushing in from all sides with such force and the wretched mortals swimming in the water and wretchedly perishing without any help? We must keep in mind that Noah and his sons were also flesh and blood. . .. They sat in the ark for forty days before it was lifted from the earth. During these days whatever human beings and animals lived on the earth were destroyed. This disaster they saw with their own eyes. Who would doubt that they were profoundly shocked by it? . . . What loud cries there are, what grief, and what wailing when, from the shore, we observe a boat overturned and human beings perishing wretchedly! But in this instance not only one skiff but the entire world perished in the water. . .. Extraordinary indeed was the faith of Noah, who comforted himself and his people with the hope of the promised Seed and considered this promise of greater weight than the destruction of all the rest of the world.
"Every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground."... And rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights.
GENESIS 7:4, 12
Humbly Receive His Word
This account is sure evidence that even though God is long-suffering and patient, nevertheless He will finally punish the ungodly. Peter states (2 Peter 2:5): "If He did not spare the original world." . . . How much less will He spare us when we desecrate His name, when we lead an unworthy life in our vocation or profession, and when we sin daily against our conscience? Let us, therefore, learn to fear the Lord and with humility to receive His Word and to obey it; otherwise punishment will also overtake us, as Peter threatens.