Genesis 8:20

The sweet savor of man's burnt offerings -

(1) not the offerings of caprice, but the fulfillment of Divine commands,

(2) the reciprocation of Heaven's communications -

(3) ascends from the earth-built altar and fills the Lord with satisfaction. In return for that obedience and devotion the curse is removed, the earth is sealed with the saving strength of God in a covenant of peace.


(1) grateful acknowledgment of his mercy;

(2) humble obedience to his own revealed will;

(3) consecration of place, time, life, possessions to him.

II. UNION and COMMUNION between God and man is the foundation on which all earthly happiness and security rest.

III. The FORBEARANCE AND MERCY OF GOD in his relation to those whose hearts are yet full of evil is at once probation and grace. The ground is not cursed any more for man's sake, but, the more evidently, that which falls upon the ground may fall upon man himself. The higher revelations of God in the post-Noachic period were-certainly larger bestowments of grace, but at the same time they involved a larger responsibility. So the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews reasons as to the punishment of those who trample underfoot the covenant of the gospel. The progressive covenants which make up the history of God's grace recorded in the Scriptures are progressive separations of the evil and the good, therefore they point to that complete and final separation in which God's righteousness shall be eternally glorified. - R.

And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord.
I. THERE IS AN EVIDENT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SACRIFICE OF NOAH AND THOSE OF CAIN AND ABEL. Here, under God's guidance, the mound of turf gives place to the altar which is built. An idea is discovered in the dignity of the inferior creatures; the worthiest are selected for an oblation to God; the fire which consumes, the flame which ascends, are used to express the intention of him who presents the victim.

II. WE MUST FEEL THAT THERE WAS AN INWARD PROGRESS IN THE HEART OF MAN corresponding to this progress in his method of uttering his submission and his aspirations. Noah must have felt that he was representing all human beings; that he was not speaking what was in himself so much as offering the homage of the restored universe.

III. THE FOUNDATION OF SACRIFICE IS LAID IN THE FIXED WILL OF GOD; in His fixed purpose to assert righteousness; in the wisdom which adapts its means to the condition of the creature for whose sake they are used. The sacrifice assumes eternal right to be in the Ruler of the universe, all the caprice to have come from man, from his struggle to be an independent being, from his habit of distrust. When trust is restored by the discovery that God means all for his good, then he brings the sacrifice as a token of his surrender.

(F. D. Maurice, M. A.)

The text teaches —

I. That worship should succeed every act of Divine deliverance.

II. That sacrifice is the only medium through which acceptable service can be rendered. Noah's sacrifice expressed —

1. A feeling of supreme thankfulness.

2. A feeling of personal guilt.

III. That no act of worship escapes Divine notice.

IV. That human intercession vitally affects the interests of the race.

(J. Parker, D. D.)



1. This sacrifice was the natural outcome of Noah's gratitude.

2. This sacrifice was not precluded by any excuse consequent upon the circumstances of Noah.


1. It was fragrant.

2. It was preventive of calamity.

3. It was preservative of the natural agencies of the universe.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Sketches of Sermons.

1. How impressively would Noah and his family be reminded of the Divine forbearance which had been displayed to the whole world.

2. With what solemn awe would Noah and his family now view the earth bearing on every part of its surface the marks of recent vengeance.

3. With what adoring and grateful feeling would Noah and his family view their own preservation on this occasion.


1. An expression of gratitude.

2. An acknowledgment of dependence.

3. A lively exhibition of his faith in the future atonement, as well as an appropriate testimony that his recent preservation was owing to the efficacy of that atonement.


1. The offering was accepted.

2. The promise which was given.

3. The covenant which was made.

(Sketches of Sermons.)

1. A believing priest.

2. A sanctified altar.

3. A clean sacrifice.

4. A type of Christ.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The Congregational Pulpit.


(1)Burnt offerings.

(2)Clean beasts.

2. See how he offered.






1. The Lord accepts a limited offering, if it be our best.

2. It is the sacrifice of faith which pleases God.

3. The Lord loves gratitude in return for mercies received.

4. The Lord visits the remnant of His people where there is family devotion.

5. In seeking to please God, the Christian secures richest blessings.

(The Congregational Pulpit.)


1. Look at the acceptance of Noah's sacrifice.

2. Noah's sacrifice was typical of Christ's, and like His brought a blessing on the world.


1. The wisdom and benevolence of God are visible in the variety of the seasons, and in the profusion of earthly blessings.

2. The wisdom of God is visible for faith in all His providential arrangements for the good of the world.


1. Reflect that it is because of Christ's sacrifice the whole world is blessed.

2. Reflect how God deals with sinful men in great long suffering mercy.

3. Reflect and remember that the Lord Jesus shall stand like Noah, when a deluge of fire rolls over this world.

(J. G. Angley, M. A.)

1. It was an altar of obedience. With Noah the will of God was paramount. What is religion but obedience? — "the obedience of faith" — of which the entire simplicity constitutes its true perfection. Noah's career in the new world began in the spirit of essential obedience. At the command, "Go forth," the Ark is deserted; and, doubtless, in the spirit of faith the altar was erected.

2. It was an altar of gratitude and dedication. Noah was grateful to his Almighty Friend; and, as gratitude is a quality which loses its fragrance by delay, so he postponed every business and consideration to the thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.

3. It was an altar of propitiation. This is its most important feature. Worship and sacrifice are incorporated and identified from the beginning of the world. Man was always a sinner. He could never approach his Maker in any other character.

4. The altar of Noah was a family altar. He was the priest of his family. He required their presence before the throne of grace. He persuaded them to assist in praising God, and in making a covenant by sacrifice. A family altar is, transcendently and incalculably, a family blessing. With Noah, the worship of God was the first business he attended to. He lacked neither calls of necessity nor momentous cares; but he postponed all ether considerations to the service of God. Not like the majority amongst us, who fancy that they have too much to do to devote any time to religion. In the patriarch's worship there was no trace of selfishness. Many think there is no worship like free worship, and are most willing to pray where they have little to pay. What a reproof may they find in Noah! The seventh part of his whole stock and substance he dedicated to God. He reasoned not about future wants, but made an instant and "a whole burnt offering" to his Maker. He did it because it was God's appointment.

(C. Burton, LL. D.)

Mount Ararat
Altar, Animal, Animals, Ascend, Beast, Bird, Birds, Builded, Buildeth, Built, Burned, Burnt, Burnt-offerings, Causeth, Clean, Fowl, Noah, Offered, Offerings, Sacrificed, Taketh, Taking
1. God remembers Noah and calms the waters.
4. The ark rests on Ararat.
6. Noah sends forth a raven and then a dove.
13. Noah, being commanded, goes forth from the ark.
20. He builds an altar, and offers sacrifices,
21. which God accepts, and promises to curse the earth no more.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 8:20

     4017   life, animal and plant
     4019   life, believers' experience
     4605   animals, religious role
     5240   building
     7302   altar
     7322   burnt offering
     7340   clean and unclean
     7424   ritual law
     7435   sacrifice, in OT
     8624   worship, reasons
     8626   worship, places

Genesis 8:15-22

     5106   Noah

Genesis 8:17-20

     4612   birds

December 27. "He Sent Forth the Dove which Returned not Again unto Him" (Gen. viii. 12).
"He sent forth the dove which returned not again unto him" (Gen. viii. 12). First, we have the dove going forth from the ark, and finding no rest upon the wild and drifting waste of sin and judgment. This represents the Old Testament period, perhaps, when the Holy Ghost visited this sinful world, but could find no resting-place, and went back to the bosom of God. Next, we have the dove going forth and returning with the olive leaf in her mouth, the symbol and the pledge of peace and reconciliation,
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

'Clear Shining after Rain'
'And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sermon of the Seasons
"Oh, the long and dreary Winter! Oh, the cold and cruel Winter!" We say to ourselves, Will spring-time never come? In addition to this, trade and commerce continue in a state of stagnation; crowds are out of employment, and where business is carried on, it yields little profit. Our watchmen are asked if they discern any signs of returning day, and they answer, "No." Thus we bow our heads in a common affliction, and ask each man comfort of his fellow; for as yet we see not our signs, neither does
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

The Best of the Best
"I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys."--Song of Solomon 2:1. THE time of flowers has come, and as they are in some faint degree emblems of our Lord, it is well, when God thus calls, that we should seek to learn what he desires to teach us by them. If nature now spreads out her roses and her lilies, or prepares to do so, let us try, not only to see them, but to see Christ as he is shadowed forth in them. "I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys." If these are the words
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 42: 1896

The Unchangeable One
Psalm cxix. 89-96. For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven. Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth. They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants. Unless thy law had been my delight, I should then have perished in mine affliction. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts. The wicked have waited for me to destroy me:
Charles Kingsley—Town and Country Sermons

On Gen. viii. I
On Gen. viii. I Hippolytus, the expositor of the Targum, and my master, Jacobus Rohaviensis, have said: On the twenty-seventh day of the month Jiar, which is the second Hebrew month, the ark rose from the base of the holy mount; and already the waters bore it, and it was carried upon them round about towards the four cardinal points of the world. The ark accordingly held off from the holy mount towards the east, then returned towards the west, then turned to the south, and finally, bearing off eastwards,
Hippolytus—The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus

The Song of the Three Children
DANIEL iii. 16, 17, 18. O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. We read this morning, instead of the Te Deum, the Song of the Three Children, beginning, 'Oh all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

Nature of Covenanting.
A covenant is a mutual voluntary compact between two parties on given terms or conditions. It may be made between superiors and inferiors, or between equals. The sentiment that a covenant can be made only between parties respectively independent of one another is inconsistent with the testimony of Scripture. Parties to covenants in a great variety of relative circumstances, are there introduced. There, covenant relations among men are represented as obtaining not merely between nation and nation,
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

That it is Profitable to Communicate Often
The Voice of the Disciple Behold I come unto Thee, O Lord, that I may be blessed through Thy gift, and be made joyful in Thy holy feast which Thou, O God, of Thy goodness hast prepared for the poor.(1) Behold in Thee is all that I can and ought to desire, Thou art my salvation and redemption, my hope and strength, my honour and glory. Therefore rejoice the soul of Thy servant this day, for unto Thee, O Lord Jesus, do I lift up my soul.(2) I long now to receive Thee devoutly and reverently, I desire
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Covenanting Enforced by the Grant of Covenant Signs and Seals.
To declare emphatically that the people of God are a covenant people, various signs were in sovereignty vouchsafed. The lights in the firmament of heaven were appointed to be for signs, affording direction to the mariner, the husbandman, and others. Miracles wrought on memorable occasions, were constituted signs or tokens of God's universal government. The gracious grant of covenant signs was made in order to proclaim the truth of the existence of God's covenant with his people, to urge the performance
John Cunningham—The Ordinance of Covenanting

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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