There seems to be a direct cause and effect. The actions of one man on earth having an impact on the heart of the one and only God of heaven. And it makes me think how valued is worship by the Lord. As if God says that, despite man’s fickleness and failure . . . although it might just be easier to wind the whole creation thing down, . . . that there is something so precious in sincere worship offered by faith, that God’s says, in essence, everything else I have to put up with is worth it.
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.” (Genesis 8:20-21 ESV)
It’s the “then” and “when” of these verses that’s got me thinking . . .
“Then” . . . after Noah had found favor in they eyes of the Lord (8:8) . . . after, in faith, he had obeyed God in building the ark and gathering its passengers . . . after God, in His saving power, shut the door of the boat, securing Noah and his family against the coming flood . . . after the land had dried out and Noah walked again on terra firma . . . then, Noah built an altar to the Lord and offered up sacrifices of thanksgiving and praise.
A man responds by faith, is saved by God, and so he worships. Seems like the appropriate response to me. And what never ceases to amaze me about the meager offerings of men is that they are a “pleasing aroma” to our God. The NKJV says it was a “soothing aroma” . . . the idea being of the sacrifice’s quieting effect upon God . . . its sweet smell bringing a pleasure to the God of Creation that, in a sense, I think, moves Him to pause and relish the response of faith. Sweet, sweet, worship!
And that brings me to the “when.” When God sees Noah, an object of grace, build the altar . . . as He watches Noah take of that which is a very rare commodity, some of the clean animals, and offer them as burnt offerings . . . as God observes Noah, I imagine, lower his head, bow his heart, maybe even go facedown . . . as God breathes in deeply the scent of worship arising from the face of a newly rescued earth . . . when that happens, then God determines in Himself, “Never again.”
There seems to be a cause and effect here. Though the nature of man’s heart has not changed . . . though Adam’s legacy still remains . . . though Noah is just a few glasses of wine from knowing again the depths of sin’s infection . . . there is at that moment, when Noah builds an altar and God smells a sweet aroma, something which moves God to say, “It’s worth it.”
The failure is worth it to see the faith. The refining is worth it in order to see the response. The war with the flesh is worth it to see the worship in spirit.
How much does our God delight in our worship? I’m thinking a lot!
Don’t fully understand it . . . but something within me says that God’s delight in receiving our offerings of thanksgiving, praise, and worship are such that they move Him to continued patience and grace so that He might, from time to time, inhale deeply of our sweet smelling sacrifices.
To Him be all glory . . .