The history of Noah, the flood, and ark have taken several chapters in Genesis, and it’s exciting to dig into this story and learn from the details we’re given. Today, I’m focusing on a gem just as Noah, his family, and all the animals have made their exit onto dry land.
Then Noah built an altar to the Lord. He took some of every kind of clean animal and every kind of clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. When the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, he said to himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of human beings, even though the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth onward. And I will never again strike down every living thing as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease.”Genesis 8:20-22 CSB
We remember Noah for the ark, but do we also remember him for the altar?
Noah’s first act upon leaving what had become his floating home was to worship God. He builds an altar and sacrifices one of those animals he’d cared so diligently for all this time, because he knew who was in control. He knew who was able to bring life and end life.
Noah’s sacrificial worship caused God to make a heartfelt decision: I will withhold my wrath, even though “the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth onward.” Noah’s worship reveals that there will be men and women who choose God—who choose God’s way over evil. Because God is holy, there will continue to be moments when his wrath is shown, but it is limited. This sets the stage for God’s action at Babel, the choosing of Abram, and the ultimate redemptive act of Christ Jesus.
The Lord revealed in the flood what man deserved because of sin, but has chosen mercy and grace for a season, until Christ returns. There are several passages which remind of us of this truth. Meditate on these and listen for how the Spirit wants to teach you through them.
The exile and destruction of Jerusalem were a taste of God’s wrath on his chosen people, because of their sin:
But the Lord, the God of their ancestors sent word against them by the hand of his messengers, sending them time and time again, for he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place. But they kept ridiculing God’s messengers, despising his words, and scoffing at his prophets, until the Lord’s wrath was so stirred up against his people that there was no remedy.2 Chronicles 36:15-16
Paul shows us how his wrath is poured out on those who choose evil over good:
And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.Romans 1:28-32
No one is innocent, but God has shown great restraint, but ultimately provides a solution in Christ:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented him as the mercy seat by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be just and justify the one who has faith in Jesus.Romans 3:23-26
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.Romans 5:6-11
Still, God’s justice must be satisfied and evil destroyed for good:
Then I saw him open the sixth seal. A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come! And who is able to stand?”Revelation 6:12-17
The day of God’s wrath is near. Only through faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ can we escape his judgment. Noah saw the result of God’s justice, and he chose to worship God. What will you choose?
Grace and Peace