In Spring, I often notice fragrances that are carried on the breeze as I walk my pathway. The wild roses that drape themselves over bushes and trees offer a soft rose scent. The honeysuckle provides an even more captivating fragrance that appears out of nowhere. I stop to breathe it in. This week the wild privet is blooming. Its spent blossoms look like stars that fell to the ground during the night. On Nantucket, hedges of Rosa rugosa in the hot sun carry a sweetness on the breeze.
Over the past month, I embarked on a journey reading through the chronological Bible. In the first few books, there is much detail about sacrifices and rules for living. What I have found in God’s specificity is a deep love for His people. He is very clear about how He expects us to live. We are to be a pleasing aroma flowing up to Him.
While we don’t sacrifice animals or grain today, we can offer Him a sacrifice of praise. Like the early offering, it is to be a sweet savor. The adjective for sweet, in the original Hebrew, also means restful, pleasant, and delightful. These words modify the word savor, which means scent or smell as if blown like our breath.
The natural surroundings every day give their sweet fragrance to the Lord as part of their being. Imagine how diminished our world would be without the sense of smell — a roast cooking in the oven, the briny salt air at the beach, or the old-world fragrance of English roses. Each brings delight and a pleasant, restful peace upon me, even when recalled as a memory.
As a child, I would settle down in the tall field grass surrounding our house where the deer had flattened large nests from the night before. I can still close my eyes and recall the smell of the sun on the grass around me. Our apple orchard had a distinct scent when the fruit was ripe, particularly if the apples had fallen into the grass and the hungry yellow jackets were feasting on them. The barn where we kept the horses smelled of manure. And the forest where I would crawl under the branches and listen to the whispers of the pine trees also had a lovely fragrance. Even the lake where we vacationed had scents that I can remember if I close my eyes. It came from the hemlocks surrounding our cabin and the rhododendrons growing in the sand along the lake’s edge.
Fragrance has no time boundaries. Once we store it in our memory, we can recall it at any time. I still remember walking into a room filled with the presence of Holy Spirit. There was an unearthly fragrance from His presence. I’ve never forgotten it. Each summer, when I gaze at the white moonflower and put my face close to its petals, I am reminded of God’s purity and the gentle evening scent reminds me of His throne room.
Why am I mentioning all this? Because our expressions of love, our praise, and honor for Him are a pleasing aroma we can send up to the heavenly realm. We see all of His creation, praising Him and offering the very best of itself, its blossoms, scent, and fruit. We can offer that up to Him. The next time you are amongst the flowers, are in a field or woodland, close your eyes and concentrate on the scents around you. Then store them away for your memory to bring it to mind another day. It is an offering to Him to take such delight in what He created for you. He gave our flowers, fields, and woodlands fragrance just as our praise gives Him a fragrance offered up to heaven.
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”
Hebrews 13:15 NIV