The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: Never again will I curse the ground because of man… (Genesis 8:21a).
What is striking is that the first thing Noah does when he leaves the ark is give thanks to God. Wouldn’t you think he would at least have stopped to build a fire and cook a meal? No, this man knows how to put first things first. The first thing he does is to give thanks to God. What a scene, as Noah’s family knelt down in the mud and gave thanks!
It is the constant call of God to people: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It is because, of course, giving thanks means we recognize reality. When you give thanks, you are recognizing the undergirding of God, the presence of God, in the midst of life and His control over the affairs of life. Thus, you cannot give thanks without recognizing the situation as it really is.
In Romans 1, God’s charge against a false and godless world is that although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him (Romans 1:21a). They did not recognize the basis upon which their life depended. Though they would not hesitate to thank someone who so much as picked up a handkerchief for them, they could find no time to stop and give thanks to the God upon whom their life depended. But Noah built an altar, and he gave thanks to God for his deliverance.
God said, Never again will I send a flood upon the earth, because the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. There’s nothing that a flood can do to change the heart. Destruction does not change it, so God does not send a flood again. Another means must be found to change people. Thus, God lays the groundwork for a fresh proclamation of the message of redemption to a new world. We read that Noah’s thanksgiving was a sweet savor in the nostrils of God. God delights in a person’s thanksgiving and praise.
God saw, in this act of Noah, the total givingness of Jesus, the fact that here was one who, like these sacrifices, yielded up His life for the sake of what would be accomplished thereby, without reluctance, but gladly, willingly. As God saw that reflected in sacrifice, it was to Him the fragrance of Christ. That is what God is after in our lives. How do you glorify God? How do you live for His honor? By giving yourself. That’s the way. That is what true love is.
The world is constantly talking to us today about rights. Demand your rights! That is exactly the opposite of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. If you lose your life, you will save it, he said (cf. Mark 8:35). If in selfishness and greed you demand your life and try to hang on to it, you will lose it. God has written that across the pages of history, and He writes that across the page of every individual life. To lose your life is a sweet savor of Jesus Christ.
Thank You for the offering of Your Son, which is a pleasing aroma to You, Father. May my own life be an offering that is pleasing to You.