The Pleasing Aroma

A daily devotion for April 27th

Read the Scripture: Genesis 8:1-22
Genesis 8:1-22

1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.

6 After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. 12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah's six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.

15 Then God said to Noah, 16 "Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it."

18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons' wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on the earth—came out of the ark, one kind after another.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 "As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease."

New International Version
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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.

Life Application: We cannot truly give thanks without recognizing the situation as it really is. Is God's presence in our lives evidenced by our constant thankfulness for His givingness?

We hope you were blessed by this daily devotion.

From your friends at www.RayStedman.org