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Why did God covenant with Noah?

Having been hanging around churches for almost 27 years, the story of Noah is one that I'd sort of assimilated. I'd picked up the basic outline - people do evil; God judges; Noah is shown grace; 100 years of ark building and preaching; 40 days and nights of rain; 1 year and 10 days after rains start they leave ark; sacrifice is made; God makes covenant with Noah to never do it again.

And the spin, or the implication, that was put on the covenant was that it was God's reaction against the horrors of the flood. As if God almost felt like he'd overreacted and decided to voluntarily forgo any future right to catastrophic global flooding.

But reading it this morning I noticed that that's not the bible's interpretation: Genesis 8:20-22 describes the covenant as God's response to the aroma of the sacrifice. It's not the death of animals he delights in - because he's just destroyed thousands upon thousands more animals than Noah offers - it's the act of God honouring sacrifice. The way the bible tells it, the sacrifice that Noah makes - of every type of clean animal - reminds him of the sacrifice of Jesus (Ephesians 5:1-2). The ultimate act of obedient love. And it's this presentation (albeit unknowingly by Noah) of the death of Christ that results in the covenant with Noah.

As my old crusaderurban saints leader used to say: "The answer is always Jesus."