Gen 8:21                   The Lord Smelled a Sweet Savour                    1/28/2018      ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.      A Sweet Savour (Gen 8:21, Isa 53:12, Eph 5:2, 1Cor 2:2, Rom 5:8, 2Cor 2:15-16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      Man’s Heart (Gen 8:21, 1Thes 5:23, Heb 4:12, Mark 12:30, Rev 6:9, Heb 12:23)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      The Curse For Man’s Sake (Gen 8:21, 3:14,17, 5:29, Isa 54:7-10)

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 8:15 (2X). In the past six sermons we have completed the prophecy where the story of Noah was a picture of the end of time, beginning with the Rapture of the remnant chosen by grace and ending with all the saints entering the New Creation where the New Jerusalem is located. This picture started in Gen 6:13 and ended in Gen 8:19. In this picture Noah is a type of Christ, the Ark is a type of the eternal church, and the flood is a type of the judgment on the Last Day. This picture was completed in Gen 8:19. Today we are entering another facet of the story of Noah. Noah is still a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, but no longer is it dealing with events at the end of time. We are now entering the stage where God made a covenant with Noah. But the covenant is primarily made with Christ, and secondarily the covenant is also made with all those who are in Christ. As you know, those who are in Christ are defined by the words of Eph 1:3-7. Those who are in Christ will worship Him. In the OT the evidence of worship is expressed in the desire to build an altar. Let us begin to read from Gen 8:15 to the end of the chapter.

Ge 8:15 ¶  And God spake unto Noah, saying,

Ge 8:16  Go forth of the ark, thou, and thy wife, and thy sons, and thy sons’ wives with thee.

Ge 8:17  Bring forth with thee every living thing that is with thee, of all flesh, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth; that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply upon the earth.

Ge 8:18  And Noah went forth, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him:

Ge 8:19  Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

Ge 8:20 ¶  And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

Ge 8:21  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.

Ge 8:22  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

We see that Noah built an altar into the Lord, and he offered on that altar of every clean beast and of every clean bird that he had brought with him in the Ark. This was Noah’s act of gratitude toward God for saving all of them. And since Noah had brought 7 of every clean animal, there were still six of each clean species left to repopulate the earth. This tendency to build an altar and to offer animal sacrifices to God was inherent to every OT saint.  For example, please turn a few pages to your right, to Gen 12:7 (2X). God appeared to Abraham, and immediately he wanted to build an altar. We read

Ge 12:7  And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there

builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

Ge 12:8  And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD.

This building of altars was a natural inclination of the spirit that God placed in the souls of the OT saints. God did that to remind them of the sacrifice that must be brought for the remission of their sins. We must remember that in the OT every animal sacrifice was a type, or a picture, of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. It is only in this way that an animal sacrifice was pleasing to God. All the animal sacrifices that the heathen brought to their false gods were abominations to God. Please turn again to Gen 8:21 (2X), and there we see that Noah’s offering was pleasing to God.

#1.      A Sweet Savour (Gen 8:21, Isa 53:12, Eph 5:2, 1Cor 2:2, Rom 5:8, 2Cor 2:15-16)

Ge 8:21  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.

The Lord smelled a sweet savour. What does that mean? It means that God recognized that the offering that Noah brought was a sweet foretaste of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus on the cross. Noah, as a type of Christ, brought an offering that was pleasing to God. Please turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 5:2 (2X). The Lord Jesus Christ also brought an offering that was pleasing to God and the offering that He brought was Himself, both body and soul. For example, we read in Isa 53:12,

Isa 53:12  Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul (2X) unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

This verse says plainly that Christ poured out His soul unto death. He suffered not only in His body, but He suffered much more in His soul. And this combined act in the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ was pleasing to God; it was a sweet savour to God. We read in Eph 5:2,

Eph 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

You see, the first and foremost, and greatest, sacrifice to God was the atonement of the Lord Jesus on the cross. This was the most sweet smelling savour in the nose of God. No other act in the history of mankind can even stand in the shadow of this mighty act of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was an act of God on behalf of us, who were still sinners, but who were His people, chosen unto salvation from before the foundation of the world. God considers this act of Christ so great and so magnificent that He has written the entire Bible around the atonement of Christ. Please turn a few pages to your left, to the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 1Cor 2:2 (2X). God speaks here about the excellency of the cross of Christ, and how this event of the cross was not only the pivot on which entire world history hinges, where the OT economy of God changes into the NT economy, but in this event of the cross can be seen all the doctrines of salvation by grace alone, and all the truths of the Bible merge into the events of the three days and three nights that were determined for the completion of the atonement. And so, God dictated to the apostle Paul the words of this remarkable verse, 1Cor 2:2,

1Co 2:2  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

You see, when the apostle Paul taught the church at Corinth the salvation through Jesus Christ, again and again he referenced the cross of Christ as the primary focus of his teachings. All the love of God, and the righteousness of God, and the omniscient wisdom of God, and the omnipotent power of God, and the sovereignty of God are channeled into one mighty act of God: “The Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross”. And God says in Rom 5:8 that “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. How amazing was His love and grace toward those who were still enemies of God at that time. Please turn in your Bibles to the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians, 2Cor 2:15 (2X). We have seen from Eph 5:2 that the sacrifice of Christ was a sweet smelling savour to God. But we who are in Christ are also a sweet smelling savour to God, especially when we witness for what Christ has done for us. Therefore we read in 2Cor 2:15-16,

2Co 2:15-16  For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:            To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?

You see, when we meet people who have never heard the true Gospel, and when we speak to them about Christ, and about Hell and damnation, and about salvation through Christ, and about God’s infinite righteousness and grace and mercy toward sinners, then we observe the response we get. In this passage God says that we are to many “the savour of death unto death”, meaning that our preaching and their rejection of the true Gospel, will only increase their condemnation in Hell. On the other hand, God says that our preaching will be to some “the savour of life unto life”, which means that their belief of the truth indicates that God has done a marvellous work in their souls. And this work of evangelism, regardless whether it leads to salvation or to condemnation, according to verse 15, is unto God a sweet savour of Christ. Regardless the outcome Christ is preached, and this is very pleasing to God. Let me now bring up another point that was mentioned in Gen 8:21. God says there:

Ge 8:21  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.

How did Moses know what to write when he wrote Genesis? You see, this is another proof that the words we find in the Bible did not come out of the tradition of men. These words were not passed on from father to son, so that Moses was instructed by the elders of the children of Israel about the history of the nation, or about the words God spoke to individuals in the past. O No! These words were dictated by God to Moses, and that is why Moses knew what to write. Please turn in your Bibles to the 2nd Epistle of Peter, 2Pet 1:20 (2X). You find 1st and 2nd Peter toward the end of your Bibles, after Hebrews and James. God says here that “We have also a more sure word of prophecy (the Bible); whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place”. This world is like a dark Bottomless Pit, where the Bible is a light that shineth in a dark place. Then God says in:

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

2Pe 1:21  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

You see, the Bible declares that the Bible itself consist of prophecies, or declarations from God, which did not come by the will of man, but by the will of God. In old times holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. The words that came out of their mouths and the words that flowed out of their pens were words that were dictated by God. The entire Bible consist of words that were spoken by God. This is called the inspiration of Scripture. Another verse that speaks of this inspiration of God in the Scriptures is 2Tim 3:16. Let me read that to you.

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God (Lit: God breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

And so, this is why Moses knew what to write and what the Lord said in His heart. Do we believe this with all our heart? If we fear God, then we believe this, without doubting that God has said so. If we fear God, then we believe that the whole Bible is God speaking, and we would not dare to add to the words of God, or to take away from the words of God. If we fear God, then we would not dare to speak of His Word by saying, “What does it mean to me personally?” And that is why 2Pet 1:20 says,

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

No one may have a private interpretation of one verse or another, for it is God who spoke these words, and He did not speak these words just for my benefit. He spoke these words to all and for all who want to hear His spoken word. And the unique meaning or interpretation of these words should be understood by all who are interested in hearing what God has said. And this interpretation should be known from the context or from comparing Scripture with Scripture; but certainly not by deriving it from my personal experiences or my personal feelings. Therefore, no passage of Scripture is of any private interpretation, because God himself gave us this passage for the benefit of all. Let us now look again at Gen 8:21, for there is much more that God wants us to know from this verse. Gen 8:21,

Ge 8:21  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.

What did God mean when He said, “For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth”?

#2.      Man’s Heart (Gen 8:21, 1Thes 5:23, Heb 4:12, Mark 12:30, Rev 6:9, Heb 12:23)

What is man’s heart in this verse? It is almost never meant in the literal sense. Usually the heart of man is considered the innermost being of the man, both in body and in soul. Therefore it will be useful in this context to develop this idea of the body and the soul. A complete human being consists of a body and a soul. This is called “Dichotomy”. There are many who believe that man consist of a body, and a soul, and a spirit, which is called “Trichotomy”. But there are only two verses in the Bible which seem to support this idea of Trichotomy. These are 1Thes 5:23, and Heb 4:12. Please turn to the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, 1Thes 5:23 (2X). Let us look at these two verses, and consider if we must change our views to the views held in Trichotomy. We read in 1Thes 5:23,

1Th 5:23 ¶  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here we read about a body, soul, and spirit. Is there a distinction between these? First of all, the words “spirit” and “soul” are different. The word for spirit has almost always been translated spirit, either the Holy Spirit, or the spirit of man. But the word for “soul” can also be translated “breath”, such as in “the breath of life”. Is that possibly the meaning here in 1Thes 5:23? The next verse to consider is Heb 4:12, which you do not have to look up, for it is quite similar. We read in Heb 4:12,

Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Here again the word for “soul” is the same word that has been used in 1Thes 5:23, which can also mean “the breath of life”. Please turn now to the Gospel according to Mark, Mark 12:30 (2X). We have here the answer of Jesus to one of the Scribes who asked Him questions about the Law. Then the Lord Jesus answered him with an incisive view of the whole nature of man. He said in Mark 12:30

Mr 12:30  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

There you have it. Does the whole inner being of man consist of four parts: the heart, the soul, the mind, and the strength? We realize that this is not the case. Man does not consist of five separate parts: a body, and a heart, and a soul, and a mind, and a strength. Several of these entities are synonyms of one another. Most likely the heart and the soul are speaking about the same entity, the soul, or the spirit of man. Most likely the mind and the strength are speaking about different functions of the body. Let us now look at two other verses. Please turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 12:23 (2X). While you look this up, let me read to you from Rev 6:9, which is a verse that most of you know very well. We have here the Lamb opening the scroll with seven seals. We read in Rev 6:9,

Re 6:9 ¶  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

The souls of the saints that have been slain for the Word of God are gathered under the altar in heaven. Here they are called “souls”. But in Heb 12:23 they are called “spirits”. We read in Heb 12:23,

Heb 12:23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect (which are also in heaven).

These “spirits” of just men made perfect are their disembodied spirits in heaven. And thus we see that the words for “soul” and “spirit” have been used interchangeably. No distinction is observed in the use of the words “soul” and “spirit”. Throughout the Bible they are used as synonyms. And thus, when we interpret 1Thes 5:23 and Heb 4:12 we must interpret the word for soul there as “the breath of life”. And thus, the simpler view of Dichotomy is adopted, for this brings harmony to all the Scriptures that we read. But now we need to ask, “What is the soul of man?” Please turn to Prov 21:1 (2X).

There exists a great deal of confusion about the soul of man. Let me read to you what some conservative theologians have written about the soul of man. And these are conservative theologians who wrote before 1960. These are the best theologians man could find. But this is what they write:

“The soul is one of a number of psychological nouns, all designating the same non-material self, but each in a different functional relationship. Thus the “mind” is the self in its rational functions. Again the “mind” is the self as deeply contemplating. The “heart” is the self as manifesting a complex of attitudes. The “will” is the self as choosing and deciding. The “spirit” is the self when thought of apart from earthly connections”. And so on. Except for the last entry, the spirit, most of the understanding of the soul by these theologians centers on “the mind”. But is the mind really a facet of man’s soul? We know that this cannot be right, for we know that the will and the thoughts of man’s heart all reside in the mind. The mind of a man resides in his brain. In fact, these days the biologists of the brain have been able to locate precisely those portions of the brain that have to do with language, or with math and science, or with feelings and emotions, or with memory, or with music, or any other area  dealing with the character of a man. And so, if the mind is really a facet of the soul, then looking at a brain in an opened skull, we would be able to see the surface of the soul of man. But that is impossible. God made the soul of man invisible, for the soul is a spirit which cannot be seen. Moreover, only God has control over the soul of man. God says in Prov 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will”. And the Lord Jesus said in John 3:3, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. And thus, whatever happens to our soul is all in he hands of our sovereign God. But the mind is just a part of the body. Our emotions are part of the body, for our emotions also reside in our brain. And if the mind would really be an integral part of the soul, then modern day psychiatrists would be able to change our soul with psychotic drugs that modern man has invented. They can change our moods, and our evil thoughts, and our tendency for crimes, and our sexual preferences with drugs, so that evil men appear to be changed into law abiding citizens, and brutes are changed into gentle and loving individuals. But what God has done with our souls before the psychiatrists got hold of us, or even during the time that we were under the influence of their treatments, what God has done with our souls cannot be touched by the psychiatrists. And thus, it is impossible that our minds, or our emotions, or our feelings, would in any way be part of our souls. Our souls are spirits which are objects that are separate from our bodies. But God has ordained that as long as we live on earth our soul and our body are joined together. When the body of a saint dies, his soul goes to live and reign with Christ in heaven. When an unsaved person dies, his soul goes to a place of silence, and awaits the judgment of the Last Day. And so, when John received a vision from God and John “saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God” (Rev 6:9), John saw objects that appeared to be disembodied souls. John did not see the minds or the emotions of those that were slain. John saw spirits. God made him able to see spirits.

Now that we have a good understanding of the soul, we can take on the next subject matter that is listed in Gen 8:21. Perhaps you remember that Gen 8:21 reads as follows:

Ge 8:21  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.

Please turn to the prophecy of Genesis, Gen 6:5 (2X). What are the consequences of the fact that the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth?

Man’s heart refers to the innermost being of man, both in body and in soul; that is man’s heart. What was the condition of man’s heart before the flood? We read in Gen 6:5,

Ge 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

What then was changed after the flood? There was no change. God knew that before He brought on the waters of the flood. God’s purpose was to bring judgment on the kingdom of Satan, and to show to later generations the great similarity between the destruction of the world in the days of Noah and the destruction of the world on the Last Day. If anyone of the later generations denies that there has been a worldwide flood in the days of Noah, then he will also deny that there will be a future destruction of the world by fire, and hereby he demonstrates that he has no fear of God. What God expresses here in Gen 8:21 is the total depravity of man. The Bible teaches that the natural man, the way people are born into the world, is totally depraved. This means that the natural man comes into the world with a soul that is dead to God, and is owned by Satan. Their body is also enslaved to sin, and their desire to do evil continually is present both in body and in soul. They have no desire at all to please God; in fact the Bible says they are incapable of doing anything that pleases God, and the Bible says that they hate God. On the other hand, when God the Holy Spirit causes someone to become “born from above”, his soul is made alive to God, and is in communion with God, and he is body and soul owned by Christ. His soul is so perfectly clean that the spirit of the triune God makes His abode within that soul. Therefore the new soul inspires the body to please God. The body still lusts after sin, but it is gradually changed, because the new spirit makes its presence known. All these things are thoroughly stated in the Bible, but there are few churches that teach about the total depravity of man. Many pastors are afraid to offend people. But God says in Psalm 58:3,

Ps 58:3  The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.      In other words, even little babies come into the world totally depraved, as enemies of God.

Isa 48:8  Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb.                  This too is emphasizing that little babies are transgressors from the womb.

Jer 17:9  The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

The heart of man, his innermost being both in body and in soul, is desperately wicked. This means that we cannot trust our feelings. We cannot feel if we are saved or not, for our feelings come out of a wicked mind, a wicked brain in a wicked body, which is inclined to sin as long as we live.

Mt 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

The Lord Jesus declared that all these evils come out of the heart of man, out of man’s innermost being. And so, it is not profitable to clean up our sins, and to engage in religious ceremonies, before the inward man is also clean by being born from above. The most important thing we can do is to examine ourselves to see if we are clean from the inside. Have we been born from above?

Please turn to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph 2:1 (2X). This letter was written to the saints in the church at Ephesus. God declares that even the saints come into the world as enemies of God. Even the saints were born with souls that were dead to God, for all have Adam as our representative in the flesh. Because of Adam’s sin of eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam became a slave of sin, and thus all his posterity also became slaves of sin. We were born in slavery, and we are not able to free ourselves from this bondage. And thus, if God would not interfere, we all would be headed for Hell, for that is the just reward for our sins. But thanks be to God that He did send the Lord Jesus Christ into the world to save us, His people, from our sins, and loose the attraction to sin that we were bound to. God speaks about our former condition in Eph 2:1-3,

Eph 2:1 ¶  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We were by nature children of the wrath of God, even as others who never become saved. Please turn to Genesis 5:29 (2X). Let us also consider again Gen 8:21 and review what God said in His heart

Ge 8:21  And the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake;  

#3.      The Curse For Man’s Sake (Gen 8:21, 3:14,17, 5:29, Isa 54:7-10)

What was the curse for man’s sake? In Gen 3:17 God said to Adam,

Ge 3:17,  Cursed (arar) is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

And so, the earth was cursed for Adam’s sake. But when Noah was born Lamech said of him:

Ge 5:29  And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed (arar).

And when we arrive at Gen 8:21, it seems as if the curse was lifted.

Ge 8:21 The LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse (qalal) the ground any more for man’s sake  

The question is, Was the curse pronounced on Adam lifted when Noah offered sacrifices on the altar? For this we need to examine the Hebrew words that have been translated “to curse”. In Gen 3:17 the Hebrew word for “cursed” is arar. In Gen 5:29 the Hebrew word for “cursed” is again arar. But in Gen 8:21 the Hebrew word for curse is qalal, and the words arar and qalal are not synonyms. The word arar first occurs in Gen 3:14, where God cursed the serpent. And thus the word arar implies a strong condemnation. But in Gen 8:21 condemnation was not in view. Instead God used the word qalal, which is sometimes used to declare an oath. God used this word qalal in Gen 8:21 to declare that He will not again smite the earth as He has done, with water, even though the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Even though the conditions on earth may become as bad as they were before the flood, God made an oath that He will not again destroy mankind with another flood.

And so, in this we see God’s answer to the sweet savour that He smelled from the burnings on the altar. In this we see God’s mercy and long suffering with people who are as wicked as they were before the flood. Let me read to you what God says to us when He has saved us by Christ.

Isa 54:7  For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.

Isa 54:8-10  In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.   For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.

AMEN.                 Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.