Walking into a theater, it’s the buttery popcorn.
Stepping outside, it’s the wet dirt after it rains or the freshly cut grass.
For me at a younger age, it was the permeation of tortillas cooking or cookies baking; and, believe it or not, of a tire shop and gas. Can anyone relate to the scent of bread once you hit the Durango curve on I-60?
It’s been said that the waft of scent sometimes isn’t exactly what appeals to us; rather, the significance of what the whiff represents. For me, this is true of the examples listed above as going to the movies was, and still is, entertaining enjoyment; being outside as a kid growing up in Flagstaff where rain and cut grass were abundant bring fond memories; then comforts of mom being home, spending time with dad and being on the freeway going to Grandma’s house.
Similarly, on sixteen occasions in the book of Leviticus, an “aroma” is mentioned as pleasing to the Lord, the importance of a sacrifice’s aroma being not the smell but the substitutionary atonement for sin. As early as Genesis with Noah’s burnt offering of clean animals and birds is understood to be a “pleasing” aroma to God because of the commitment to offer worship in His name as He commanded.
Commanded is worth noting. I believe obedience is a prerequisite to being in position to offer a sacrifice – obedience is compliance, obedience is righteousness, obedience has no idols, obedience respects God’s Word and obedience is pleasing God. We, in our human attempts can be tempted to perform “religious duties” instead of being truly obedient. These might invite a displeasing stench in lieu of a pleasing aroma.
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2: 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
The New Testament in Ephesians 5:2 further reveals Christ as the final sacrifice for sin, the ultimate placation: “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God”.
I’ve always relished in the thought of being a pleasing aroma to our Father – Only in Jesus’ love for us, can I picture God lifting his head to meet the scintillating scent, triggering the sensory “feels” of it being pleasing to Him.