Summary: God not only wants my heart, but He wants my prayers. If Noah was here today, he would say “If you want to know where to go from here, then intercede (ask on somebody's behalf) for God’s blessings.”
Genesis 8 - Part 3 – REMOVAL VAN PRAYER.
Well, Julie and I have got a house full of boxes and a quietness amidst the echoes, as we see the final things accomplished before our move to Sydney - a trailerload of Church related archives in a cupboard, and a list of people we need to see before we go – especially Dot Hamilton who is old and unable to come to Church now. And the question that people have asked through the ages still finds its way from my stomach to my lips “Where do we go to from here”.
The removal van people said they would be here a day later than they originally said. You wouldn’t believe what repercussions that has for us. So many phonecalls to rearrange things. Julie is amazing. She just does it all despite the frustration. That’s what made me call this “Removal Van Prayer.”
This morning I am looking at how Noah handled the move. I know his move was a little different (he had cats on board), but essentially when he got off the removal van and unloaded the furniture and pets, he was faced with that same question as he looked toward a whole new beginning. He did what we all do with a new beginning – prayed to God. Worship is so important when your heart is heavy about leaving but excited about what is ahead – it’s the only way to handle such Schizophrenic emotions.
As he gets off the Ark (Great name for a removal van), Noah did something that I almost missed – he prayed for us! Just as well really, but I didn’t expect that.
On Tuesday night, we went around to Jeremy’s place with a group of young leaders to share with them some insights – you know, from the vast accumulated wisdom of our years (Just joking – more like from the mistakes we have made). They did something so precious to us – they gathered around at the end of the night and they prayed and even washed our feet. We were so humbled by the honour they gave us so freely. God wants me to be like that – to pray into peoples lives and give voice to deep things that need expression in the very throneroom of our God.
God not only wants my heart, but He wants my prayers. If Noah was here today, he would say “If you want to know where to go from here, then intercede (ask on somebody's behalf) for God’s blessings.” Noah prayed for the generations to come as only a man who understands what it means to be saved can pray. You won’t find the prayer there in Genesis 8 but you do find God’s response.
Why did Noah build an altar and offer these animal sacrifices? Was it a sin offering? I’m sure every sacrifice is. But there’s something more. The bible says Noah was a righteous man. Sure, he, like everyone who believes in Christ today, was sinner saved by grace, but it wasn’t only a sacrifice for sins. There’s more to it than that.
I believe there was something else that also inspired Noah to sacrifice those animals? Verse 21 gives us a clue. Don’t drive by too fast or you’ll miss it.
To find the clue you need to look at God’s response - “and the lord was pleased with the aroma of the sacrifice”. Now this is more than just God being pleased with the smell of a good barbecue. In this case the aroma drew God’s favour. That’s not always the case in the Bible. Sometimes, like in Leviticus 26:31, and Amos 5:22, God refuses to smell the sacrifice. And that means divine disapproval and rejection. When the sacrifice rises, if God is pleased with the smell, that means He's pleased with the heart and prayers of the worshiper. If it displeases Him, then He's not pleased with the heart or prayers of the worshiper.
What about my worship? I want so much for it to be a sweet smelling aroma to God. A sweet smelling aroma was a way of saying God heard Noah’s prayer. He was pleased with Noah’s heart. You get an idea of what Noah prayed for as God hears and says to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground because of the human race, even though everything they think or imagine is bent toward evil from childhood. I will never again destroy all living things.” That makes me think that Noah probably prayed “Lord, protect my family. Have mercy on future generations Lord. Have mercy upon the human race” He looked around at a devastated world and his heart cried out for us!
God waited to hear that prayer. The only reason you and I are here, is because the Bible says in 2 peter 3:9 (NLT) “the Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”