As I was thinking about this series, the smell seemed like it would be the most complicated sense to write about, particularly to attach a kingdom purpose to it. As I concentrated on this article, I was impressed by the connection between smell and memory. Some of my favorite scents in the world are Confederate Jasmine in the spring, the smell of my wife’s cooking, the fresh and floral bouquets from wax warmers, etc. You may have a specific scent that triggers a memory of past experiences, places, and occasions. Not all smells are pleasant; for example, we have the smell of waste and decay. Also, some memory triggers may invoke memories we would like to forget. For the first time in my life, my smell was absent for a day during a bout with COVID.
Psalm 141:2 says, “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice” (KJV, Tyndale 1987). Several sources site that incense relates to the morning sacrifice, and the lifting of hands refers to the evening sacrifice. This idea may be accurate, but the point that should apply to our lives is that these sacrifices were observed daily! Why would this be necessary? The Psalmist continues, “Do not incline my heart to [consent to or tolerate] any evil thing, Or to practice deeds of wickedness With men who plan and do evil; And let me not eat of their delicacies (be tempted by their gain)” (Psalm 141:4, AMP, The Lockman Foundation 2015).
When we offer a daily sacrifice before the Lord, in this case, more than once a day, it is a pleasing aroma to God. Perhaps, when we have a need or celebrate a victory, these aromas fill the heavenly throne room, leaving an eternal memory in the Creator’s mind! Revelation 5:8 tells us the twenty-four elders hold “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” The elders are holding your prayers in the presence of God! “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). The more you pray, the closer to God you become, and the more incense offered to please God.
As an example of pleasing smells before God, I offer the story of the three Hebrew boys cast into the fiery furnace. They passed a law that everyone would worship an idol. Everyone conformed to this practice, and no one dared to speak up against it. These three fellows refused to worship anything besides the God of their fathers. Despite the tremendous heat from the furnace, the Hebrews were not destroyed and were even the recipient of a divine visitation. When pulled from this furnace, Daniel 3:27 reads, “And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” Not only were they delivered that day, but their clothes did not smell like fire. If you have ever grilled or had a burn-pile, you know the slightest bit of smoke instantly clings to every fiber of your attire; amazing!
We must consider the enemy’s devices to apply this principle to our lives. Prayer and Bible reading must be a daily staple in our lives to be overcomers! No matter what the world tries to throw at you (or throw you into), the Lord will remember your offering and protect you from the smell and appearance of worldliness. Smell is associated with delight (Amos 5:21) and should invoke good Spiritual memories and be pleasing to God. Maybe a lack of daily devotion in the lives of those Christians that thought they had it all together is why Jesus professed that “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). They didn’t have enough incense come before the Lord to trigger a memory of the good they had done for the Kingdom. God forbid.