Whenever I see the words A Pleasing Aroma, I have two thoughts. One is of aromatherapy....the use of essential oils to impart health and healing to emotions, physical ailments, etc. But the more important thing I think about is based on Scriptures, like.....
That is why I am sacrificing burnt offerings to you—the best of my rams as a pleasing aroma,and a sacrifice of bulls and male goats.
You must present a burnt offering as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord...... all with no defects.
Give these instructions to the people of Israel: The offerings you present as special gifts are a pleasing aroma to me; they are my food. See to it that they are brought at the appointed times and offered according to my instructions.
Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
These verses make me think of a few things, especially about how I live before my Lord. I obviously am not required to make a burnt offering of a ram or bull or male lamb. For Jesus is the Lamb that was slain once and for all, that paid the price for my sin and that of the whole world.
But I think there are a few significant things to notice from these scriptures that can still pertain to me today. For we still are to sacrifice something to God.
The sacrifices required were to be 'all with no defects'. In other words, perfect. Just as Jesus had to be 'with no defects', so should our sacrifice be with no defects. Give our very best to the Lord. We can never fool God. He knows our hearts and can see if we are withholding our best from Him.
Our offerings ought to be something special. Something unique. Something set apart from the usual. That's what actually makes something holy.It isn't that it is 'perfect' or 'without sin'....it's that it is set apart from the rest; set aside only for God's use and pleasure.
Romans 12:1 says (NIV) 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. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We are to present OURSELVES, our whole being, very much alive, holy and pleasing to God. This is worship. The physical body being presented to God is a spiritual act of worship. What you do with your physical body is either worshipful to God, or its not. Don't be fooled to think that you can treat your body however you jolly-well-please, and then lift your hands during sing-a-song 'worship' time at church and call that worship. (For me personally, this verse was a major one in being convicted about surgical birth-control/mutilation. See Our Journey to Quiverful and My Frustration)
That sacrifice also includes letting go of all the worldly things we hold dear. We are to be transformed in our minds, in the way that we perceive the world, and how we see other people. Our thoughts need to come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. (see 2 Cor 10:5 & Col 2:8)
God said that the offerings ought to be given at the appointed times, and done as He instructed. Remember the story of King Saul (1 Samuel 15)
1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy [a] everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "
So Saul calls his men to battle to annhilate the Amalekites....only.....
8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves [b] and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
This wasn't according to God's instructions.
13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD's instructions."
14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?"
15 Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest."
Saul is making excuses for his behavior, passing blame onto his soldiers, and then trying to point out that they did follow 'some' of God's instructions.
16 "Stop!" Samuel said to Saul. "Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."
"Tell me," Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why did you not obey the LORD ? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD ?"
20 "But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal."
Again, Saul tries to cover up the fact that he didn't fully obey God, as if obeying Him partially is considered full obedience. It isn't. We might pride ourselves that we are obedient to God in certain areas of our lives, but when we know we are being disobedient in other areas, we are fooling ourselves to think that God is still pleased with us. He's wanting a heart that is fully His, (2 Chron 16:9) "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
22 But Samuel replied:
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king."
These aren't light words. I mean, we go from a softer word like 'disobedience' to suddenly its being called 'rebellion' and being likened to divination. And because of it Saul is being rejected by God as the king. Wow! All because .....
24"I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them."
(Interestingly, the descendents of King Agag are still enemies to be reckoned with later in scripture. King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha, the Agagite (Esther 3:1)....that's the descendent of the King Agag that King Saul didn't put to death with all the other Amalekites. If Saul had fully obeyed, then Esther wouldn't have been fighting with that same enemy years later. Is it that way in our own lives? If we don't follow God's instructions fully, maybe we are re-battling the enemies that were already supposed to have been annihilated? )
A pleasing aroma is also from a life poured out in love. Just as Christ poured out His love for us in that He gave up His very life so that we could be restored to right relationship with the Father, so we ought to be pouring out our lives with love for all those around us, that they too can be reconciled with the Father.
I fall so short. But the mercies of God that are new every morning, gives me another day in which to allow Holy Spirit to produce more and more fruit in me, of which love is the greatest.
Question for You: Are you battling enemies today that God specifically instructed you to annihilate a long time ago?