Noah hops off of the boat (Gen.8:20) and the first thing he does is build an altar, make a sacrifice, and worship. Why? Well, God brought about the flood in the first place because “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen.6:5) After God wipes everyone out save Noah who found grace in God’s eyes (Gen.6:8) we might be led to think that the bad part of humanity has been dealt with, but that is not the case. Notice verse 21 from today’s chapter, “the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth”. This is almost the same indictment as in chapter 6. It seems that nothing has changed with man’s wickedness. He is still depraved to the core.
I think the lesson is this: the answer to the problem of man’s sinful heart is not a flood, but the blood. The flood is enough to judge but not enough to justify. Man needs blood for that. That is why Noah sacrificed. He knew that he and his boys were still dirty rotten sinners (as the next chapter will show us when he gets sloppy drunk). Only a blood sacrifice can do the heart washing that is needed for reconciliation with God. So, Noah sacrificed and pointed towards the ultimate sacrifice to come. What can wash away my sins, nothing but the blood of Jesus, What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. O, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus!