Sweet Smelling Sacrifices

Sweet-Smelling Sacrifices

“Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma.”

—Genesis 8:20-21

On most nights when I wheel out my office door and into the courtyard of our building, if the wind is blowing just right, I experience the most pleasurable sensation. I catch a whiff of the mouthwatering aroma of charcoal-broiled Tri-Tip steak sizzling on the grill over at the Woodranch Barbeque Pit across the freeway. Invariably I stop, draw in a deep breath, and say with a groan, “Wow, does that ever smell great!” As I drive away from the office, I can sometimes spot a billow of smoke rising from the chimney of the restaurant. Little wonder the place is always packed—the smell of burnt fat and meat on the grill attracts more diners than any billboard or newspaper advertisement.

Not long ago as the scent of grilled steak wafted across the courtyard, it struck me that this is exactly what Old Testament sacrifices must have smelled like. The temple in Jerusalem on the Day of Atonement was filled with the aroma of meat cooked on an open fire, what with so many lambs being sacrificed. In fact, considering that thousands of animals were sacrificed on that one day, the entire city must have smelled fragrant. The sacrifices were pleasing to God—not so much for the smell as for the sins confessed.

Inhaling the aroma of meat on the grill (and smiling as a result) gives me a tiny insight into the enormous pleasure God must experience when his people confess their sins. “For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life” (2 Cor. 2:15-16). Oh, to please God with the aroma of Christ in our lives!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Rom. 12:1).

Lord, I desire that you inhale my obedience today and be pleased. I want you to breathe in my spiritual worship and enjoy the aroma of Christ living in me and working through me.

About Joni and Friends is answering the call in the Gospel of Luke 14, "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will...

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