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Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's Your Life Smell Like to God?

Photo by: BrandonSigma

Years ago, a woman told my mother that she always remembered how our house smelled. My mother got a little bit worried as the lady continued, “It always smelled like fruit.” (Whew! Mother was pleased.)

I try to put a little bit of perfume on both wrists before going to meetings, just in case someone near me is less than sweet smelling. I’ve found it to be a lifesaver more than once. Just put my hand up to my face and breathe deeply. It helps me show Christian love.

The perfume industry rakes in some $12 billion annually in Europe and the United States.

Every supermarket has an aisle dedicated to air fresheners, sprays, and diffusers.

We use scented candles in our homes—especially after cooking broccoli and cauliflower!

Many department stores and boutiques use scent to create a mood and make people feel good—and buy their products.

In the Bible, we learn that God loves a good smell.

In the Old Testament Tabernacle and Temple, the priests burned special incense. It was to be unique, never used for anything except incense for God. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy (Exodus 30:34-36). The incense was made of pungent resins, dried and pulverized very fine.
  • And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary (Exodus 37:29).
  • And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not (Leviticus 16:12-13).
  • For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts (Malachi 1:11).

Can you imagine the scenes? The offering before the Lord, with clouds of wonderful perfume in the air, pleased God. It was a complete sensory experience for the high priest. The gold, silver, brass, beautifully embroidered curtains, colors, and blood and fire filled his vision. In his ears tinkled the little bells—the bells that let those outside know he was still alive and moving around in the Holy of Holies. Wonderful perfume billowed over the Mercy Seat as he made the sprinkled blood offering to cover the sins of the people for another year.

Everything in the Old Testament ceremony pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God who would permanently pay the price for the sins of the world. (Hebrews 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18)

Maybe the psalmist David got a whiff of the incense from the altar of incense.  I don’t know. But he says in prayer, Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2).

In the New Testament, the prayers of God’s people actually become a perfume in heaven. What a concept! Our prayers smell good to God. They are sweet to Him. 
  • And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints (Revelation 5:8).
  • And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand (Revelation 8:3-4).

The application?

Pray. Our prayers are as sweet to God as any incense offered in the Old Testament. God wants to smell that wonderful perfume of His children crying out to Him. He wants to meet our needs. He loves hearing from us.

Let’s make sure God enjoys the scent from our lives!



  1. What a "fragrant" message, Lou Ann! I love it! You are so right - God loves sweet fragrances as much or more than we do ourselves, but the sweetest fragrance of all comes from the love and trust His children show to Him. Here's hoping our "smell" becomes sweeter every day (: Love to you, dear sister! Sandra

    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Sandra. God bless you!

  2. Que bueno es saber que nuestras oraciones serán de olor fragante para Dios.

    1. Sí que es verdad. Es bonito pensar en ello. Gracias, Tere, por tu comentario.


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