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)
As I was reading this morning this phrase struck me, “when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma…” This is the thing in God’s mind when he made His promise never to flood the earth again. This promise is hugely significant given that man’s heart remains evil, which was the cause of God’s judgment in the first place. Judgment is still due, but a sacrifice is received. In the next chapter God gives Noah a sign of this promise: a rainbow. When we he this word we think of a, well, a rainbow. We don’t compare it to anything. But when Noah saw it, he saw something shaped like a bow, an instrument of war and death. God would see it to and remember his promise not to allow the rains to flood the earth. God would see this bow aimed up instead of down. The aroma of sacrifice that would satisfy God’s judgment would come from heaven and not earth.
Noah would have needed that sign too. Rain had never come before the flood. The ground was watered by a mist or a heavy dew. Rain brought water from heaven upon the earth…judgment. So when rain came afterward, it reminded the people of God’s judgment. But the bow that appeared in the rain reminded them of God’s promise.
When you see a rainbow, what do you think of? How does this change your perspective?
Thank the Lord for his sacrifice to avert judgment from you.
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Ge 8-11, Ps 3