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. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. Genesis 8:21
Did anything change from the time before the flood to the time after the flood? Not much in the way of sin. The judgment didn’t take away man’s sinful nature. The family who exited the ark had the same propensity toward sin as the families whom God had destroyed in the flood. So why did God make a beautiful promise to Noah if he and his descendants were going to sin again? Because he offered a sacrifice to atone for his sins.
Oh, the difference one sacrifice makes. Those who perished in the floodwaters were stiff-necked. They refused to acknowledge their sin. Noah recognized his sin and knew to offer a sacrifice. Mercy, and the promise of future blessing, were God’s responses.
When no atonement is made, eternal judgment is the result. When a Savior is embraced, judgment is lifted. The promises of God take full effect.
Atonement was always the aroma that moved God’s heart. It caused a visceral reaction. When Jesus died as the ultimate and final atonement for my sin, God breathed in the powerful fragrance. “And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 As deeply as God felt about the history of His people offering the sacrifices of bulls, goats, and lambs as payment for their sin, how much more did He feel when His own Son spilled His blood!
Can God still smell the aroma of a sacrifice? Yes, but not from the sacrifice of an animal. The sacrifice, and the aroma, come from you and me. “For we are the aroma of Christ to God…” 2 Corinthians 2:15 Sanctified children, the likes of each of us, are God’s pleasure.
I offer You my life. This is my sacrifice and Your joy. Amen