“Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).
A Great Offering
As I am reading through the passage on Noah, I am struck at how God provides for Noah's worship. He calls Noah to take seven of all the clean animals (Genesis 7:3). Then in Genesis 8:20, Noah builds an altar and offers up a sacrifice.
As far as resources go at this point, they are scarce. In Genesis 7:3, God tells Noah to take two of every kind of animal and seven of every clean animal. Every animal is a highly endangered species. Imagine there were only seven of some animal left on the earth, and some of them were offered up as a burnt offering! I wonder what Noah was thinking at this point. Did the thought cross his mind that maybe he should wait until those seven multiplied into 49? It can be so easy to put off costly worship of God because of scarcity. But God is a God who provides. He provided the animals before they were scarce. The number Noah would have at his disposal was God's plan. Scarcity was in the plan of God. Worship was meant to be costly. But God provided the animals to sacrifice from the start.
However, I do not think Noah was reluctant to offer up this sacrifice of worship to the God who had just delivered Noah and his family from the judgment they deserved. God had shown grace to Noah (Genesis 6:8). The only resource Noah had that he could offer to God already belonged to God! Noah only gives back to God what was God’s.
A Greater Offering
As sacrificial as offering up some of seven may be, imagine the sacrifice of offering up one of one! Although God prepared for Noah’s sacrifice beforehand by giving him seven of each clean animal, God prepared for a far more significant sacrifice.
The only begotten Son (not after judgment in Noah's case but before the judgment), came down as an offering. The Son who is unique. The one and only Son, the Father offered up on behalf of our sin. Ever since Genesis 3:15, where the prophecy of the serpent crusher is given, we see God had been providing and preparing the greatest sacrifice ever offered.
God shows us that He will take care of all our needs by giving 100%, His own dear Son. When you feel the pinch of sacrifice, remember that a greater and total sacrifice was made for you. “If God did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how will he not with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). What sacrifice can you make to God that He did not prepare beforehand? Even a scarce resource (like some of seven, which is greater than 10%).
Time: Time is a scarce commodity in our lives. We find that we live under the sway of demands, but all our time is given by God. Can we offer up our time to worship Him?
Talent: Wherever there are abilities, there are opportunities. It can be easy to feel others have more to offer in regards to talent (gifting). Even if the talent is scarce, where can you offer up that ability in worship to God?
Treasure: Most people do not consider themselves to have an abundance of money. In fact, most of us would tend to view it as scarce (or at least, less than we would want to spend). But how can you use the scarce money God has given you as you worship?
Father, thank you that though sacrifice is costly, You have provided for it. You offered up Your own Son for our redemption, and so often I can be slow to offer up costly worship to You because I feel that I am losing something in the offering. Help me see that I am actually gaining. When Jesus was offered up, I gained eternal life. I have no lack because of Your sacrifice. I can sacrifice freely, liberally, joyfully because my Father will always provide. Amen.