The Flood Recedes (8:1–22)
21–22 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma.38 Because the Lord is a personal God—a heavenly Father—He is pleased when His children offer to Him their thanks.
God, like a father, responds to our acts of worship and obedience. Because Noah’s first act after leaving the ark was to worship God, God looked down on Noah with favor and promised never again to curse the ground (Genesis 3:17) or to destroy all living creatures—as long as the earth endures39 (verse 22).
God’s promise not to curse the ground was given even though man’s heart continued to be evil from childhood (verse 21). Man’s sinful nature, which had passed from Adam to Noah, would continue to be passed on to Noah’s descendants after the Flood. Notice that the human heart is evil “from childhood.” We often suppose that small children are innocent and sinless, but it is not so. We are born—indeed conceived—with a sinful nature (Psalms 51:5; 58:3). No external terror or judgment (such as a flood) can cleanse the human heart. Our hearts can be cleansed and renewed only by the Holy Spirit working within us. And the gift of the Holy Spirit is available to us by the grace of our loving heavenly Father and through our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ (Luke 11:13; Ephesians 2:8).