Scripture Reference: Genesis 7:11-9:17
Suggested Emphasis or Theme: God keeps His promises.
When Noah, his family, and the animals entered the ark, the rains began and continued for forty days. The whole earth was covered in water and even after the rains stopped, the ark continued to float for a total of 150 days until it was grounded on top of Mt. Ararat. While the water receded, Noah sent a raven and then doves out from the ark to see if they could find dry land. When the water had receded enough, God told Noah and his family to come out of the ark. The first thing that Noah did was to build an altar and offer some of the animals and birds as a sacrifice to God in thanks for keeping all of them safe. It was at that time that God caused a rainbow to appear in the sky. God said that this was a symbol of His promise to never destroy the world again by water (9:12-17).
Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives were completely dependent upon God during the Flood. No means of power was used to direct or guide the ark. Noah and his family were not in charge. God was the only navigator. Read more about Noah in the story Noah Builds the Ark and Loads the Animals.
After 150 days the ark landed on one of the highest peaks of mountain ranges in Armenia, Mount Ararat (8:4, NIV). It was months later before the earth was dry enough for Noah and his family to come out. In the second month and twenty-seventh day of Noah’s 601st year, Noah, his family, and all the animals left the ark (8:13-17). This was one year and ten days after the Flood started (7:11).
Noah’s first act on dry land showed that obeying God was still his first priority. He built an altar and took one of every “clean” animal and bird to sacrifice as a burnt offering to the Lord (8:20). “Clean” animals referred to those animals acceptable for sacrifice.
Noah offered this sacrifice because of his great thankfulness. It was an act of sincere worship of god, who had sustained Noah, his family, and the earth. God responded to Noah’s sacrifice by promising never to destroy humanity with such a great flood again. He further decreed that as long as the earth remained, He would allow planting and harvesting, seasons of the year, and day and night (8:22).
As a sign of the new covenant with Noah and with all people, God placed a rainbow in the sky (9:13). Now, thousands of years later, we can still point to the rainbow as a beautiful reminder of God’s love and protection.
- What happened before this story?
- What happens after this story?
- List of all Bible stories and themes on this website.
Way to Introduce the Story:
Talk about times when it has rained. Ask the children how they felt when they had to stay in the house day after day without being able to go out to play. Ask each one how long they could stand it. “In today’s story we are going to find out how Noah and his family spent a very long time inside the Ark, waiting for the rain to stop. Can you imagine watching it rain for over a month? That’s what Noah did. Even when it stopped raining, did you know that Noah was still not allowed to go outside for a long time? Let’s learn what the bible says.”
It rained for many weeks. The Ark floated on water high above all the land, many feet higher than the highest mountain peak! Then after forty days and nights, the rain stopped. Little by little the water began to subside. Noah and his family and all the animals had floated safely in the ark for one hundred and fifty days.
God sent a great wind over the earth and the waters gradually began to evaporate and dry up. Soon the Ark came to rest on top of Mount Ararat.
After another forty days Noah opened the window and sent out a raven. The big, strong bird flew quickly across the water. However, it did not find a place to rest. Since there was only water, the raven returned to the Ark.
Seven days later Noah took a dove and let her fly out the window. The dove flew about for a short time, but she, like the raven, could not find anywhere to rest. She too, flew back to the Ark.
Noah waited another week and then sent a dove out of the window again. Noah and his family waited anxiously. At last the dove came to the window of the Ark. In her beak was an olive leaf which she had picked from a tree. Seven days later, Noah sent out the dove again. This time she did not come back. She had found good food and a place to live.
Noah and his family no doubt wondered when they could leave the Ark. God had shut the door, and only God could open it again.
Then one day, when the sun was shining very brightly, Noah heard a creaking sound. The door was slowly opening and swinging back wide. God had opened the door. Eight happy people left the Ark and began walking on dry ground again. Then all the animals left the Ark too.
What a sight that must have been! Elephants and hippos came lumbering out. Lions, tigers, sheep, dogs and cats came bounding down the ramp, bumping into each other in their eagerness to leave. There was a whirring of wings as eagles and other great birds flew off into the sky. And there must have been a lot of noise. Horses neighing, lions roaring, dogs barking, happy to be free at last!
All the animals came out of the Ark and hurried away to make new homes for themselves. Noah and his family built an altar, and Noah made a special offering to God, thanking Him for saving their lives.
God gave Noah and his family a promise. “Never again will I send a great flood to destroy all living things.” Suddenly the sky was lit by a beautifully coloured rainbow. The colours were brilliant red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. “This is a sign to remind you always of My promise,” God said. “Whenever you look up and see a rainbow in the sky think of My promise to you.”
Each time we see a rainbow, we can remember God’s many promises to us. What a loving God He is! Words From: Betty Lukens’ Flannel graph Teacher Manual
Ways to Tell the Story:
This story can be told using a variety of methods. Always remain true to the facts found in the Bible but help children connect to its meaning by using drama, visual aids, voice inflection, student interaction and/or emotion.
Click here for visual aids and story-telling methods.
Click here to download these illustrations and slideshow. Be selective. Each teacher is unique so only use the illustrations that best relate to the way YOU are telling the story in THIS lesson. Too many illustrations can be confusing so eliminate any that cover other stories or details you do not wish to emphasise in this lesson.
- How long did the rain last during the time of the flood? 40 days and nights
- What mountain did the Ark come to rest on? Mount Ararat
- What two birds did Noah send out to see if the land was drying up? A raven and a dove
- What was the total amount of time (flood and waiting for the land to dry out) that Noah and his family and the animals were on the ark? One year and ten days.
- What was the first thing that Noah did when he got off of the ark? He offered a sacrifice to God
- What was the rainbow a sign of? God’s promise that He would never destroy the world by flood again.
- God Told Noah
- Rise and Shine
- My God is So Big
- Refer to the Song Page on this website for more options.
Learning Activities and Crafts:
- Discuss promises that people make (appointments, bank loans, to return borrowed items, marriage vows, etc). Compare the way people keep their promises with the way God keeps His.
- Find the location of where the ark landed on a world map (Armenia)
- Look at a rainbow of colours through a prism.
- Blow soap bubbles and look at the colours in the bubbles.
- Before class dye uncooked macaroni by placing it in a shallow mixture of water and food colouring. When it is dyed, take it out and let it dry. Provide an outline of a rainbow for each child in your class. Let them glue dyed macaroni to each strip of the rainbow.
- Draw a large rainbow on a footpath.
For more about Noah see the lesson: The Flood and God’s Promise
Check the Teaching Ideas page on this website for ideas that are adaptable to any lesson.
Other Online Resources:
- Colouring sheet & activities of God’s Covenant (Calvary Curriculum)
- Colouring page & activities of Noah Builds the Ark (Calvary Curriculum)
- Colouring page & activities of God Sends a Great Flood (Calvary Curriculum)
- The Rainbow-God’s Promise coloring page (Christian Answers)
- Noah’s Ark coloring page (Christian Answers)
- Colouring page of rainbow (Christian Answers)
- Article: “What causes a rainbow” (Christian Answers)
- “Did Noah take dinosaurs on the Ark?” article (Christian Answers)
- Audio files for sound effects (Christian Answers)
- “Could Noah’s Ark really hold all the animals..?” article (Christian Answers)
- Various activities and crafts about Noah’s Ark (Church House Collection)
- Worksheets and Puzzles (Sunday School Resources)
- Old Testament worksheets (HubPages)
- Wordsearch puzzle (Christian Answers)