Monday, May 22, 2006


I was outside last night, planting some pots. It was late- after I had put the boys to sleep. As I was working in the mud, I was overwhelmed with the fragrance of the evening. The air was thick with the perfume of the trees in spring. My Hawthorne tree is full of blossoms, plus there is a cherry on the other side of our deck that is loaded with blooms right now. Together, these trees afforded me a taste of heaven.

"I wonder what God smells like," was a thought that jumped into my mind.

"What do you mean?" the conversation continued.

"Well, God made the sense of smell... the Bible talks about God enjoying fragrances... surely, He must have a smell too. "

Then it was as if God answered, "I'll smell a little like this tree, but a lot better.. in fact, the best smell you've ever smelled."

And I could almost imagine Him saying this to me... and without any sense of arrogance in His voice.

The conversation ended at that point, cause I kind of thought it was bordering on the ridiculous. But this morning I went to my Bible program and was interested to find verses about smelling. Some are about the smells we give off (foul and pleasant), others about the smells that God has made. It was an interesting search, so I thought I'd share some.

Solomon 1:13 The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!

Hosea 14:6 His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree, And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.

2 Corinthians 2:15,16 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things?

Exodus 37:27 And he made the holy anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense of spices, the work of a perfumer.

2 Chronicles 13:11 And every morning and evening they burn to the LORD burnt offerings and fragrant incense, and the showbread is set on the clean table,

Ephesians 5:1,2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Genesis 27:27 So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, "See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed;

1 Corinthians 12:17,18 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled the soothing aroma; and the LORD said to Himself, "I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man's heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done."

Leviticus 3:5 Then Aaron's sons shall offer it up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.

I was surprised to see how often the Bible talks about smells and smelling. God smells. Leviticus and Numbers are filled with references to "aromas pleasing to the Lord"... and there are also some which are a "stench". We smell and have a smell. I guess this leaves me with 2 thoughts and challenges for myself:
1) Do I stop enough to smell what God has placed around me to enjoy? Do I relish the nose I've been granted and consider the physical sense of smelling?
2) What about the fragrance I give off spiritually? What kind of smell am I... to God, to others... I enjoyed the verses that followed Ephesians 5:1,2. The verses following explain the making of our spiritual fragrance:

verse 3,4 But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.

verse 6,7 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them;

verse 15-22 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.

chapter 6 verse 1 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;

verse 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.

Oh, ladies, we are careful to put deoderant on, before we leave the house. May we also be careful to walk in a cloud of spiritual fragrance that pleases God.


Stephanie said...

Marlene, you are an inspiration to me! Not only spiritually, but the fact that you were up early after a late night...I sometimes have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Do you have any secrets?

ReneeM said...

Oh, I just loved this post!!! Have you heard of the little girl, born extremely prematurely, who once asked her mom "do you smell that?" her mom says "rain?" and she says, "No, the smell of God when your in his arms" - yes, true true story!! - that wasa vague rendition of it, mind you!

I have heard of some smelling an aroma in a room filled with worship. The Spirit of God... I am at a stage in my walk where I would believe anything God could do!!

opora said...

Great one Marlene! Reminds me of my old book of scratch 'n' sniff stickers that I cherished in grade 3. I think God will be like a huge book that I can flip through, enjoy and be surprised by the fragrances on each page! I am also reminded of the putrid odours in which God uses to care for, protect and guide us as well. I love that God runs the full spectrum...just like a rainbow of the life cycle of a flower....what a glorious God we have hey!!?! I can smell your garden now...ahh...

Marlene S. said...

Stephanie, I wish I had advice for you. Unfortunately, I have been struggling over the past 6 months or so with getting out of bed early. Part of that has to do with the hour that I get to sleep at night... maybe that's the place to start. The ladies over at Girltalk had a good post about getting up early, back in January (?) I'll see if I can find it for you. It was inspiring... although, I still struggle with the whole thing. Praying helps (of course), and having a purpose to get up also helps. All the best. BTW, we were at you're mom and dad's today. Had a great time. Met Tasha too. Happy Victoria Day.

Marlene S. said...

Renee, thanks for your story. Can't say I've ever smelled a worship "service", but I'd be curious what they smelled... fire, life, a bridegroom? Curious.

Opora, I just opened my sticker book last week with my boys and rubbed an old Smurf sticker - scratch n sniff peanut. It still smelled after all these years kept in a (non-acid-free) photo album. Can you believe it:)

opora said...

advice for getting up before the crack of dawn...have a friend waiting on the corner for you! Sometimes she'll be there, sometimes not, but you just can't roll over picturing her there waiting for you.

(oh yah, and going to bed early helps, but that's often impossible considering most of us are 'super women' these days! ha ha ha)

Homemanager said...

Great post! I've never thought about "smells" in the scripture.
Isn't the Lord just so awesome! :o)

If I can add my "two-cents" to the other comments, I once had a time of prayer where I smelled spices. It only happened that one time and it was when I was new babe. It has always been a special memory for me.

Also, the "getting up early"...your thoughts about the night before makes a big difference for me. If I want to get up earlier, I make the decision the night before. I do set the alarm as well, but because I already decided it beforehand, there is a resolve that isn't there usually.

The other thing that has made it all worthwhile, is my quiet time. I get up and have my big mug of coffee and my bible, reading plan, and journal.

My last bible memory chapter is Psalm 127
"...It is vain for you rise up early, to sit up late and eat the bread of sorrows, for so the Lord gives His beloved sleep..." :o)