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.” (Genesis 8:20-21, ESV)
As I continue to read the Bible and mature in my faith in the Lord, I am always shocked by how often I glance at a passage and miss much contained in it. Today’s section is filled with some great truth, and we see God’s grace and mercy involved early on in Scripture. Amazingly, even through our sin and evil heart, God still finds us to be a pleasing aroma.
Look closely at the phrase in verse 21, where the Lord spoke to Noah. It seems backwards, doesn’t it? The reason that God will never again curse the earth is due to us having an evil heart? According to logic, shouldn’t it read that since we have evil and depraved hearts and minds, the Lord should and will destroy the earth again? But, thankfully, he didn’t say this but instead made a covenant with Noah (the rainbow is actually a sign to God to remember his covenant and never destroy the earth again, as we read in Genesis 9:9-17).
When we are truly real with ourselves, we recognize how sinful, depraved, and wretched we are. We do, however, have a hard time admitting this. We love to think of ourselves as good people who do good things on earth. A lot of time, we believe the lie that if our good outweighs the bad, then God will favor us. We may even think that his love for us is greater than for others.
This is far from the truth! God loves us no matter what, whether we are in the middle of sinning or in the middle of church. Whether we are worshipping God and growing in our faith or if we are in a deep hole of depression, anxiety, fear, or hopelessness, God delivers. He lavishes radical love and undeserved grace on us. This grace (giving us what we do not deserve) and mercy (not giving us what we do deserve) is profound and deep.
We cannot replicate God’s measure of love here on earth as human sinners. However, our response can be this (whether down or up, growing or in a lull): trust him! Surrender yourself to God daily, moment by moment, for even Paul struggled by doing things he didn’t want to do and not doing things he did want to do.
Take heart, brothers and sisters in Christ! Know that even though we have an evil heart, one that likes to do bad and sin against our Savior, we have a God who still looks upon us as a pleasing, beautiful, attractive, enjoyable aroma. Not out of anything we have done, are doing, or will ever do. No, through Christ Jesus our Lord we are found pleasing in the sight of God. Know, trust, and believe that you are a pleasing aroma to our God and Savior!
Written by Rosson Anderson for LinksPlayers (August 4, 2014).
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