Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)
I think Noah demonstrates for us one of the most important keys there is to walking closely with Jesus Christ. The very first thing Noah did after he stepped off the ark was to sacrifice some of the clean animals and birds to God. I can’t imagine doing that. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”
But in the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a grasp of this truth.
And Noah had a grasp of the power of thanksgiving. Imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate with a party? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? Play some frisbee football? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah built an alter and sacrificed to his Lord.
Noah gave thanks.
This is such a key in our walk with Jesus Christ, recognizing that everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. When Paul wrote that in 1 Timothy 4 he was talking about those on whom God’s wrath falls. He was also addressing this group who turned their backs on God when he said, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him… (Romans 1:21, emphasis mine)
I don’t know about you but I never want to be that guy who neither glorifies God as God nor gives thanks to him.
Father help me, help us, to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Your will for us in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Thanksgiving is a pleasing aroma to our God. The flood didn’t eradicate the problem of sin but it was Noah’s sacrifice of thanksgiving that prompted God to say, “…never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” (Genesis 8:21) Our Lord’s sacrifice, Jesus’ sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice is what prompts God to show us mercy in spite of our sin today. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7, emphasis mine)
So give thanks this thanksgiving season. And give thanks in every season. Start your prayers with thanksgiving. End your day with thanksgiving. Then watch how God responds. He responded to Noah’s thanksgiving, He’ll respond to yours.
[You might also like: Abram]
[Image via mswine – Creative Commons]