The sweet savour of Jesus
‘And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.’ Genesis 8:21
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Genesis 8:13–22
The Lord’s answer of peace to Noah: here is a gracious promise, I will not again curse the ground. The reason is assigned: for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth up. This seems a reason of the same kind as that before assigned for the destruction of the earth—the for may be rendered though.
(i) Sin is so deeply rooted that judgements cannot remove it. If the aboundings of sin were to be always followed with a deluge, there must be a new flood at least in every generation. God, having once shown his displeasure this way, will wait to be gracious. But this we owe to the sweet savour of Jesus. The Lord saw and knew that the new race of mankind would be no better than the old.
(ii) The evil of man cannot frustrate the grace of the Lord. Vile as they are, he will have a people out of them that shall show forth his praise.
(iii) The continuance of the seasons is an earnest and pledge of the Lord’s faithfulness to every part of his Word. We expect harvests and obtain them because he thus was pleased to engage himself to Noah. So all that his people hope for, from his Word, shall be surely fulfilled, and so likewise the weight of all his threatenings shall fall heavy upon the heads of the wicked, for he is not a man that he should lie or the son of man that he should repent [Numbers 23:19].
FOR MEDITATION: The gospel gives a blessed freedom from the power of outward sin, but the root of sin in the heart still remains and will yield bitter fruit: unbelief, self-will, self-righteousness and pride, a wandering heart, a vain, ungoverned imagination, a numbness of spirit amounting to an almost total indisposition to divine things.… But though sorrowful, we may be always rejoicing, for we have a mighty and a merciful Saviour, and in him we have righteousness and strength. In him we are complete and he is full of compassion. He knows our frame and remembers that we are but dust.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 19 [1/1], GENESIS 8:21