Why did God choose to save Noah?  When we read the description of him as righteous and blaeless, we might assume that it was because he was a better person than others, that it was down to his morality, his good works.

Read Genesis 8:20-22

Having disembarked from the ark, Noah builds an altar. We now find out why there were additional clean animals on the ark.  Some from each kind of animal and bird are taken and offered as sacrifices on the altar (v20).

The smell from the offerings is described as a “pleasing aroma”. This language will later be used in the Levitical Laws to describe the sacrifices that Israel offer.  The aroma is satisfying to God. Notice that here, the name YHWH (sometimes LORD in English) is used. This name is specifically linked to God as the one who makes and keeps covenants with his people.  Because of the sacrifice, God declares that he will not curse the ground anymore because of human sin and will not wipe out animal life again (v21).

God promises that the for as long as this creation continues that it will follow the expected sequence of seasons. This is a commitment to maintaining and sustaining the order of creation and to keep in place those boundaries that had recently been erased (v22).


The sacrifices offered here remind us of Abel’s offering in Genesis 4. They also give us a crucial clue as to Noah’s righteousness.  It is not that he does good works but that he understands that God is approached through, and only through, sacrifice.  Noah therefore will be listed in Hebrews 11 as one of the great fathers of faith.

God responds to the sacrifice Noah makes with mercy and compassion on humanity.  In that respect, we can see Noah as a mediator, offering a sacrifice on the behalf of his race.  Noah acts as a precursor to the Aaronic priests and this is another reason why it is important for him to be righteous and blameless. This also makes him a type of Christ, the great high priest, blameless and without sin who offered the sacrifice of his own body on our behalf.

It is important for us to remember that our relationship to God is not about our own good deeds and moral character. We are forgiven people who stand in his presence, free from the fear of judgement because of sacrifice. It is through the blood of Jesus that we can be included in the new covenant and boldly approach the throne of God.

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