Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pleasing Aroma - Devotion on Genesis 8

Scripture: Genesis 8:18-21
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 land—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…

When Noah finally gets off the ark, what is the first thing he does? He sacrifices some of the animals he just saved!

Are we missing something here? Doesn't he need those animals? Isn't God going to be a little upset with him for killing the creatures that He specifically told him to preserve?

Or maybe God told Noah to bring seven pairs of each kind of animal planning for some of them to survive and replenish the earth and some of them to be sacrificed. Maybe God provided the sacrificial animals ahead of time to give Noah enough to be able to sacrifice and to have what he needs for growing the population again.

In fact, Noah didn't gather any of the animals himself. God brought them to Him. God provided the animals for Noah to keep and the animals to give back to Him, just like God provides our opportunities for making an income, the time that we have to live each day, and the talent for the activities that we are able to do.

So, God provides, but the idea of the sacrifice is still bothersome. Why would God give Noah those animals just to sacrifice them? Why would He give me an income if He's just going to ask for some of the money back? Why give me 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week, and 8,736 hours in a year if  He's just going to ask me to spend some of that time with Him and for Him? Why give me a talent if He's just going to ask me to use it to His glory?

If God wanted my money, He could have kept it and never given it to me. If He wanted my time, He could have taken my life and transported me to Heaven early. If He wanted my talent, He could have done the deeds Himself. He can do everything better than I can anyway.

If He wanted the animals dead, He could have left them to drown in the waters of the Flood rather than saving them on the ark and having Noah sacrifice them as soon as they got off.

But it's all about the pleasing aroma of the sacrifice. Scripture isn't talking here about God salivating over the scent of barbecue or slow-roasting meat. What makes the aroma of the sacrifice pleasing is that it was a freely given act of worship and thanksgiving.

God didn't need the animals from Noah, and He doesn't need our money or our time or our talents, but He is pleased when we freely and thankfully give them to Him.

How can you please God this week by giving more freely to Him in the finances, the time, or the talents that He's provided for you?

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