My husband and I are renovating the house he grew up in. This house is out in the country with a little piece of land and our plan is to turn it into a small farm. We’ve been sort of “camping out” while we’re under construction. Because we are out away from civilization as we know it, there are a variety of wild neighbors that visit quite often.
The first I noticed were some deer grazing under the apple tree just outside the kitchen window. Then there are the squirrels, herds of them, very loudly gathering nuts from the various walnut, hickory, and chestnut trees around.
About a week ago, we had been working all day cutting boards to frame in a closet and complete a floor repair. We had the saw set up on the back deck and because we were cutting boards and going in and out, we just left the doors open. As it was just getting dark, my husband decided to run into town and get one more piece of lumber to finish the floor. I busied myself with cleaning up, never thinking about shutting the doors until I heard the coyotes begin to howl on the ridge behind the house. My husband was confused when he returned to find all the windows and doors shut and locked tight.
Then there were the holes. Random holes began showing up all over the yard. First we thought maybe it was a stray dog until one night as my husband was pulling in the driveway after work he caught a glimpse of white to the left of the driveway. Convinced that it was a cat, he turned the flashlight on his phone and went in for a closer look. The “cat” hunkered down, trying to flatten itself and became very still like it was trying not to be seen. As he drew close, very close, he realized his “cat” was a skunk that then rose and turned it’s backside towards him. Needless to say, until that moment, he didn’t realize how fast he could actually move! When morning came we went out to investigate and sure enough, there was another large hole where the skunk had been. We had found our culprit.
The days had been very warm and because there is currently no air conditioning in the house, we were sleeping with the windows open and fans going. (Except for the night I heard the coyotes…) One night, about a week after my husband’s “cat” sighting, I awoke choking and coughing violently, struggling to catch my breath. Being woke from a deep sleep that way is certainly not pleasant and it took me a moment to realize what was going on. Our neighborly skunk had camped himself right outside the bedroom window which was positioned at the head of our bed. I did not go back to sleep that night and the entire house reeked of skunk for the next two days.
Oh that sweet smelling aroma…NOT!
This really got me thinking about all the times in the Scriptures where God spoke of our sacrifices being a “sweet smelling aroma” to Him. I began to wonder if God ever experienced a bad smell. Weird thought process, I know but bare with me. As I began to research the Scriptures, I found some interesting things I would like to share with you.
First of all, this study went WAY deeper than I ever imagined it would. I plan on continuing to dig into God’s Word on this subject. (Maybe with a follow up post in the future.)
The first ever mention of this phrase “sweet smelling (soothing, pleasing) aroma” is in Genesis 8:21.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
22 “While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.”
The “aroma” is something pleasing to God. God was satisfied or pleased with Noah’s sacrifice and then gave a promise to never again destroy every living creature with a flood.
This sacrifice was God’s righteous requirement.
Throughout Leviticus, a pleasing or sweet aroma is mentioned in connection with the various offerings of the Jewish appointed days.
When you have time check these out and read them in context.
Leviticus 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2; 3:5; 23:18
There are also times when the offerings were a “stench” to God. These were times when the people were rebelling, had strayed from God, and were making offerings out of ritual or for show instead of a heart that wanted to worship and honor God.
I would encourage you to dig deeper into all these Scriptures as you have time.
Today let’s focus on the verses in Leviticus 1 and how it applies to us.
Leviticus 1:1-3 Now the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock. ‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the LORD.
Leviticus chapter 1 talks of the ‘whole burnt offering’. First, notice that this sacrifice should be ‘without blemish’. They were required to bring God the best of the best. Second, it should be offered ‘of his own free will’. This offering was to be offered to God willingly, freely, and completely to God. Lastly, God was to get the whole thing in it’s entirety. The entire unblemished sacrifice was to be given whole and freely to God.
This was a type of propitiation. Propitiation is a fancy word that simply means appeasing an offended person, in this case, God, and being reconciled to Him. The Old Testament Jews had to offer these sacrifices over and over, year after year because they were not enough to save them or remove their sins completely. They were continuous reminders that God is set apart, holy, deserving of complete devotion as well as a foreshadowing of the ultimate Sacrifice to come.
Check out these verses Hebrews 2:17, Romans 3:24-25, 1 John 2:1-2.
So how does this apply to us?
I want to end with Romans 12:1-2.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
We know that Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins, sacrificing Himself on the cross, taking the punishment we deserve and raising Himself from the grave making a way for us to reach a holy, righteous, set apart God and are now able spend eternity with Him, our relationship being restored.
But God still requires a sacrifice from us. Because of what He has done for us, we are to offer our whole lives over to his service. He wants us to freely, willingly give our whole selves over to Him as a ‘living sacrifice’. He says this is our reasonable act of worship. He doesn’t stop there. We are to be set apart, not conforming ourselves to the world around us but we are to transform ourselves by ‘the renewing of your mind’. Saturating ourselves with the Word of God so that we can know Him more intimately.
I encourage you to take ‘inventory’ and allow God to reveal to you areas of your life that you still need to offer or haven’t completely offered to Him.
So that your life is truly a “sweet smelling aroma”.
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