Years ago, Genesis 8:20-21 forever changed my life, because it was the beginning of the transformation in my understanding of the death of Christ on the cross as a sweet savor to God.
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.
21 And THE LORD SMELLED A SWEET SAVOR; 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 everything living, as I have done. ~ Genesis 8:20-21
Noah’s burnt offering was the first act of worship in the new world after the flood. Noah’s offering was so pleasing to God that God SAID IN HIS HEART “I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake…”
Why was this offering of Noah so powerful, that it moved God to make such a vow in his heart? It was because this offering was a foreshadowing of Jesus. Throughout the book of Leviticus the offerings offered on the altar of sacrifice are repeatedly offered as a sweet savor to the Lord, just as Noah’s offering was.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus loved us and gave himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. ~ Ephesians 5:2
If Noah’s burnt offering was so pleasing to God, that he would say in his heart, “I will not again…” Think how much more pleasing the offering of Jesus was when as a sweet savor offering he lovingly sacrificed his life for our sins.