Sunday, March 3, 2013


Read Exodus 30, II Cor 3

You shall make an alter on which to burn incense. And you shall put it in front of the veil that is above the ark of the testimony, in front of the mercy seat where I shall meet with you. And Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it every morning. From Exodus 30:1-7
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance of life to life. II Cor 2:15&16

I sniff everything. It drives my wife nuts. Whenever I pull anything out of the refrigerator, the first thing I do is bring it up to my nose. “I just put that in there yesterday,” she tells me. When she comes near me, especially if she is all dressed up and looking her best, I sniff. “Are you sniffing me?” she asks. I am. I like the smell of my wife.

I especially love to ride my bicycle in the Spring. I love the waves of smells from the trees and the flowering bushes. From the sweet smell of lilacs and flowering crab apple trees, to the earthy smell of the fast growing aspen, to the “heavenly” smell of balsam—“life is good,” I think to myself.

We had an enthusiastic lady who, the first time she came to Story Book said, “When I came down the driveway I knew this place is a holy place. It smells like heaven.” She could be right, for though we are not told that heaven smells like balsam trees, it may. But she came at the start of the summer season when our balsam are at their most fragrant and our compost pile has not yet ripened to its all pervading rancidness. 

The incense that was burnt before the Mercy Seat was made up of a specific recipe of spices. God prohibited (with the threat of death) using that recipe for anything except to be burnt at that place.

A good smell is a very good thing. John and Dan wrote in Friday’s devotion about the pleasure of a filet mignon.  What a good smell emanates from a fine piece of meat. God tells Moses the burnt offerings He required were a “sweet smelling savor unto the Lord.” A good smell draws us near.

But a bad smell keeps us away. The main reason I smell what is in our refrigerator is because I do not want to eat anything that is rancid and will make me sick.

If approached in the prescribed way, the smell from the incense beckons us to come near. There is only one way, through our Lord Jesus. If approached casually, that same smell of incense was a warning to keep back, for it boded death.

As Paul writes, let each of us who are Believers be aware of our smell. We should smell of Christ. To those who trust in Him, we “smell” of their Savior, the one who loves them. For those who disregard Him, be forewarned, we “smell” of their Judge, the one who has condemned them. John 3:18

Question: What specific recipe of ingredients make the Believer’s incense smell like “the Christ of God?” 


  1. It is interesting to consider that a smell existed that God did not allow to be sullied by the nostrils of ordinary men. It is possible that God did not make the aroma of sacrifice merely as a lesson to teach men, but rather because there are smells that He enjoys.

    The word used to describe how God tested Abraham in Gen. 22 is the word “nasah.” This word connotes the idea of “trying by sniff.” The word is also translated elsewhere as “prove.” As with most smelling, God was not expecting to smell something nasty but rather “smelled” Abraham with intention of filling His nostrils with a pleasant aroma. Is it possible that God is regularly testing/sniffing His people with the anticipation of a beautiful fragrance?

  2. Does the fact that God enjoys the aroma of Christ's death on the cross (Eph 5) mean that He enjoys smelling us, since we are covered with Christ's blood?