[11] How to please God – a sweet smelling life

Incense rising up creating a sweet fragrance. How to please God - a sweet smelling life.
Incense rising up creating a sweet fragrance.

Have you noticed the difference in how God is described before the Flood and then after the Flood?
Before the Flood:

He was grieved in His heart that He had made man.”

Genesis 6:6

After the Flood:

He smelt the sweet fragrance.”

Genesis 8:21

(This article based on Genesis 8:18-22 which is included at the foot of the page)

How to please God
Before mankind aggravated and grieved God – there was a rotten stench of sin rising upwards.
Now, God was pleased at the sweet fragrance.
What had happened?

A lady smelling the putrid smelling Corpse flower. How to please God - a sweet smelling life.
Putrid smelling Corpse flower, Amorphophallus titanum [i]

Noah had obeyed and trusted the Lord, and this pleased Him.

I don’t mean, that Noah had followed God’s Laws and commands to earn his salvation. Because Paul wrote:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8

Noah had received Grace.
He believed God.
He had faith in Him and he trusted in the Lord.

The outcome of believing in God, is obeying God.

It is no good saying, that you believe in God, and yet choose to do your own thing.
James wrote:

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder!
You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did, when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”

James 2:17 and v19

I’ll say it again: The outcome of believing in God, is obeying God.

Down on the plain with Mount Ararat in the distance. How to please God - a sweet smelling life.
Down on the plain with Mount Ararat in the distance.

Noah took some of the valuable animals and birds, which he had got seven of each of, and sacrificed them to the Lord.
Just think of the few possessions Noah had at that time, and all his food supplies would have been virtually used up, and now he was sacrificing these valuable animals and birds to the Lord.
What a sweet fragrance that was to the Lord!
It wasn’t just this one act, but it was on top of how Noah had obeyed God in building the Ark, in the giving of his money, and time, and his whole life.

Our act of worship

When we go to church to pray and worship, God doesn’t see just that act of worship, but He sees what has led up to that point as well.
The non church bit of our life, is just as important to God as the church bit.
Jesus said:

If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.
First go, and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

Matthew 5:23

We mustn’t fall into the trap that worship is only for Sunday services and mid week meetings.

Let’s look at the place where Job worshipped, and take note of the circumstances of this worship.
Some messengers came to Job to tell him that;

  • The Sabeans attacked and carried off his ploughing oxen, and his donkeys.
  • The fire of God fell and burned up his sheep, and servants.
  • The Chaldeans attacked and carried off his camels.
  • A mighty wind devastated the house where his sons and daughters were feasting and they all died.

At this, Job got up, and tore his robe, and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in..”

Job 1:20

In what? In despair? In anger? No:

in worship”

Job 1:20

And he said:

Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked I shall depart.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; may the Name of the Lord be praised.
In all this, Job did not sin, by charging God with wrongdoing.”

Job 1:21

What a sweet fragrance that would have been for the Lord!

We can’t do this with our natural strength.

Our old fleshly life would rather shout, or behave badly, or grumble when we hit problems.

We need the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit to overcome in our troubles.
We need to see our difficulties as opportunities to worship the Lord, like Job.
It is encouraging to see, that when we obey God it is like a sweet fragrance rising up to Him.

So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his son’s wives.
All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds – everything that moves on the earth – came out of the ark, one kind after another.
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.
The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in His heart:
‘Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.
And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.
As long as the earth endures, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.’ “

Genesis 8:18-22

[i] Photo Credit opens in a new window: Grant Baldwin Photography at Flickr via Compfight cc
Images: thanks to The Pictorial Dictionary published by The Educational Book Company, London

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