What are our first thoughts or actions after we go through something, whether good or bad? Is it to take time to actively worship the Lord our God? It should be.
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. And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” – Genesis 8:20-22, ESV
The very first thing we’re told that Noah did was build an altar and make an offering to God. We aren’t told of any parties for surviving or memorial services for the fallen. Rather we’re told about him crafting a simple altar and then offering sacrifices of the clean animals upon it. His first inklings were to worship the God who had brought him and his family through a cataclysmic event. And God responded. If we go into chapter 9 with God’s response, we see that Noah is blessed by God and receives the promise that God will not destroy the whole earth by water again. He seals the deal with the rainbow, which should serve as a visible reminder to us every time we see one of God’s promise.
I sometimes wonder what would God’s response have been if Noah had waited a while. “Sorry, Lord, I’m too busy. Hopefully I’ll get to it tomorrow.” Ever think that way? I believe we all have, even if we don’t say it. That wasn’t Noah’s response. His response was to build that altar. First things first, right? God is first, so Noah honored God. But what if he waited? Would God have blessed him the same way? Would he have received the rainbow as a visible reminder, even if God didn’t intend to destroy the world again with water? The Bible doesn’t answer these questions, but looking at other cases in the Bible, when men failed to worship properly, God took notice. When they were slow to acknowledge God as if their efforts played some part, they were rebuked. Do you ever wonder if that’s the treatment you’re getting when your actions render God to be an afterthought?
One of the likely reasons Noah found favor with God was that God was foremost in his heart. Yes, Noah was less than perfect. But except for Jesus Christ, everyone else is flawed in their behavior, too. However, that didn’t stop God from calling one “a man after His own heart” and calling a number more to be apostles and martyrs for the faith. It didn’t stop Him from reaching out to Gentile kings like Nebuchadnezzar, did it? So why are these guys cited? Why are they the ones the Bible is written around? It is because God was first. Look back at what we learn about Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel. When he took credit for his accomplishments, when he reveled in them, God set him straight. Then Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged God first.
As you go into this weekend, in every situation, look to worship God first. At the end of every event, look to worship God first. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. And folks will likely frown upon you if you start hacking birds apart in your cube. But simply saying, “Lord, thank you for being with me in that situation. May it all be to your glory,” and it coming from your heart is pretty good. You don’t have to follow Noah’s example of how he worshipped so much as his heart of when and why.