And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done  

Genesis 8:21.

The God who created us in His own image also has a nose for smelling good cooking.  Be sure to offer sacrifice with an aroma, like a good meal that the good nose can tell from distances away.   

Whenever God smells a good table of sacrifice, it provokes a response from him, as here, when He promptly made two unasked promises: 1) never more to curse the ground “for man’s sake,” and 2) not again to smite all living things in the fashion that He had just done.  There was no prayer made, but the fragrant sacrifice was an eloquent prayer language that God understood well, and to which He gave a worldwide and everlasting response.  He has a good heart too, to not take a fragrant sacrifice and ungratefully let the giver go without a blessing.

A good sacrifice may be speechless yet be a loud and voluminous prayer.  Isaac probably learned that from God when, before his departure, he said to his son Esau, prepare me a DELICIOUS meal. Then I will bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die” (Genesis 27:7, NLT).  Isaac was specific on the kind of meal, as not every sacrifice attracted the kind of blessing that he was about to release; not every kind of sacrifice had the bandwidth for downloading what was coming.

Again and again in the Old Testament, it was to be ensured that sacrifices to God were “sweet aroma to the LORD” (Leviticus 1:9, NKJV).   Other translations use such words as “fragrance,” “pleasing odour,” “sweet smell.”  God has a nose for smelling a good sacrifice; a perfumed, aromatic, provoking sweet smell.  The New Testament told one such story, of a woman who had opened and sacrificially poured her fresh bottle of very expensive perfume at the feet of Jesus.  At once, “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3, Weymouth’s New Testament).  Speechlessly, she replaced the traditional smell in the atmosphere with a sweet freshness, to the dubious chagrin of legalistic opposers.  As promptly as she had been opposed, Jesus spoke up in her defence before that hasty court of a merciless hypocritical jury, and announced, “Let her alone” (v.7).  Her sweet sacrifice spoke for her, while she remained speechless.  Jesus certainly loved the sweet perfume.  God loves sweet smells.  Next time you prepare Him a sacrifice, remember that He has a nose too, like you, and a good one at that, for a sweet sweet smell.  Amen.

From The Preacher’s diary,
February 12, 2023. 

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