Genesis 8:20-22 (NKJV) 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done. 22 "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, Cold and heat, Winter and summer, And day and night Shall not cease."
Noah built an altar. Noah’s first act was to honor God. There is an interesting thought in this and that’s God’s reaction to Noah’s praises. The Bible says, “The Lord smelled a soothing aroma.” That word soothing means to calm down or comfort. God was comforted by Noah’s praise.
It’s interesting to look at other translations for the meaning of the phrase, "a soothing aroma:"
Genesis 8:21 (AMP) 8:21 When the Lord smelled the pleasing odor [a scent of satisfaction to His heart], the Lord said to Himself, I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination (the strong desire) of man’s heart is evil and wicked from his youth; neither will I ever again smite and destroy every living thing, as I have done.
Genesis 8:21 (NLT) 8:21 And the Lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice and said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things.
The Strong’s Hebrew and Greek lexicon defines the Hebrew word like this:
Strong's Number: H5207
From H5117; properly restful, that is, pleasant; abstractly delight: - sweet (odour).
It comes from the root word:
Strong's Number: H5117
A primitive root; to rest, that is, settle down; used in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, intransitively, transitively and causatively (to dwell, stay, let fall, place, let alone, withdraw, give comfort, etc.): - cease, be confederate, lay, let down, (be) quiet, remain, (cause to, be at, give, have, make to) rest, set down. Compare H3241.
So it seems to mean that God was calmed down by Noah’s sacrifice. This is why soothed is a good word for what was happening in God’s emotions. Remember, that Genesis 6:6 says that God, “grieved in his heart” over our wickedness and sin. Noah’s offerings soothed God’s grieving. At last, all of the people on earth were once again praising and worshipping God. There was no worship of false gods. There was no wickedness in the earth in these days. God was comforted by Noah’s actions; His grief was assuaged.
After that God from the bottom of His heart said, "I will never again curse the ground for man's sake, although the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.”
God removes the curse of Adam, “I will never again curse the ground for man's sake.” This is the curse placed on Adam at the time of his sin in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:17 (NKJV) 3:17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
So God begins the process of reconciliation with us. Justice must still be done for the sin. There must be a payment for the sin, but in a small way God is showing an openness to reconciliation. He has removed the curse of Adam.
By the time of Abraham’s life, God is well into the process of reconciliation. That process looked like this, this is “God’s Ten Step Program:”
- The Curse of Adam is removed.
- Noah’s sons begin to repopulate the earth.
- God calls Abraham out of the Ur of the Chaldees.
- God makes a covenant with him to give a land to his descendents.
- He renews that covenant with Jacob.
- He delivers Abraham’s descendents from Egypt.
- He leads them into Canaan, but along the way gives Moses the law.
The law is the first stage of reconciliation. We need the law in order to know that we sin. If we could live perfectly under the law, then we could be justified and restored to God. But what really happens is that the law points out our inability to be justified on our own. We can now recognize our need of a savior.
- Moses is a model of the coming deliverer.
- The prophets begin to speak of the coming Christ.
- Jesus lives, dies on the cross and rises from the dead.
This is the culmination of reconciliation. His death purchases our innocence. That’s what justified means, to be made innocent. His death and our repentance justify us in the eyes of God. By Jesus righteousness we are made righteous.
Romans 5:18-21 (NKJV) 5:18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God, in the first moments after Adam’s sin made a promise that came to fulfillment after many, many years, through the death of Jesus. But, it seems that the fulfillment of that promise started after the flood, through Noah’s praise and worship of God.
Stream of Thought:
- Noah began to worship immediately after he left the ark.
- God was soothed by his worship.
- The entire population of the earth worshipped God.
- God removes the curse he placed on Adam.
- God begins to fulfill the promise of reconciliation.
- 10 significant steps lead to Jesus’ payment for our sin
- Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to us reconciling us with God.