Proverbs says that perfume and incense bring joy to the heart! After watching Perfume: The story of a murderer, I wondered at the power of smell. (I recommend the movie, but it ends with a group orgy scene, so keep your finger on the fwd or pass altogether if you shouldn’t tempt yourself.)
My favorite smell
The most poignant smell in my life is the smell of mildew. That is because my earliest memories are from the Amazon where you can whiff the dampness getting off the plane. I remember stuffing my nose in my sister’s suitcase when she returned for furlough, wallowing up the wonderful feelings of childhood in Brazil. On hot days, I get a suggestion of that smell off little girl’s sweaty heads. Gross, huh? Nevertheless, I continue to sniff deeply in dank, moist places hoping to be transported to that happy time of life. Smell is my way of time travel.
The smell of worship
In the desert, God instructed the perfumer to mix a special fusion to anoint the tabernacle, the holy utensils and the priests. The special recipe included the essential oils from myrrh, cinnamon, cannabis (the herb that produces marijuana), cassia (a type of cinnamon) mixed with olive oil. Likewise, the perfumers were to create a powder that would continually burn before the Holy Place of the tabernacle. The recipe included the resin from frankincense; a fixative made from the mollusk shell; the resin from a bitter, musky herb; pure frankincense and salt. It was forbidden to use these perfumes for any other purpose than in the tabernacle. God designed the power of scent. He understands its power. This was the special smell of worship.
God’s favorite smell
There are many verses that say a smell pleased the Lord. He smelled the sacrifice of burning flesh after the flood and swore never to destroy the earth with water again. The fragrant incense involved in temple worship is an offering that softens His ear to hear the repentant prayer. God smelled Christ’s death in its pure perfection. In the New Era, repentant Christians are themselves a pleasing odor that makes Him happy.
But of all the smells that fill heaven, the one that is most dear is our prayers. In Revelation, we get a glimpse of heaven, and there before God, angels lift up golden bowls that waft the aroma of spicy prayers into the nose of our God. Imagine that! Maybe when we get our new and improved noses, we’ll enjoy the wonder of smelling words as well. In the meanwhile, I rejoice that I can transport God through my odiferous supplication.