Genesis 8:20-21a – 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…”
Following the sinful fall of Adam and Eve that plummeted the entire human race and creation under the curse, their descendants simply sinned and died for 1656 years according to a literal reading of Genesis. The mention of Enoch as the only person who walked with God provides an almost entirely bleak view of human nature and history that would be hopeless if God did not sovereignly choose to start again with Noah as a second Adam through whom God would begin again His work on earth establishing a people for Himself.
After Noah was saved by God’s grace, built the Ark according to God’s instructions, and loaded his family on board with the animals as God commanded him, it is noted that the people and the animals obeyed God, which is rare until this point in history since the Fall (6:22, 7:5, 7:9, 7:10, 7:16). Just as the animals were brought to Adam, they are now brought to Noah as God sent what was likely the first rain in the history of the world. The rain continued for 40 days until it covered the land, drowning all the sinners under God’s righteous judgment. The only people spared in the flood were Noah and his family because, as Genesis 6:8 stated, God gave them grace.
After the flood subsided and God dried the ground, Noah and his family exited the Ark. Then, Noah did a remarkable thing that we must be careful to note and appreciate. In Genesis 8:20, we read, “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.”
After recognizing the devastation that God wrought upon the earth, Noah was convicted of his own sin, knowing that he too should have been killed like everyone else. This was not a command from God, but rather an act of worship out of Noah’s own heart. So, he offered a burnt offering for the atonement of his sin (e.g. Leviticus 1:4; Job 1:5). God was so pleased with Noah’s offering of atonement that He responded by promising to never flood the earth again as the answer to sin would henceforth be atonement, which foreshadowed the death of Jesus for sin.
When we read that Noah spent his final days before the judgment by water in 2 Peter 2:5, what should we learn about the importance of sharing our faith and supporting those who are “a preacher of righteousness” until the last days before the final judgment by fire?
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