Just drive by a good barbecue restaurant, and you can smell that wonderful aroma. The combination of the burning of the hickory wood and the smoked cooking of the meat creates a smell that will start the stomach growling and the taste buds tingling. If you close your eyes, you can almost see and taste those ribs that will be on your plate in just a few minutes. Just a hint of the aroma might take you back to your last barbecue meal, and remind you of the wondeful flavors that you experienced. The smell of the cooking enhances the experience and draws you in to eat.
Each day, sacrifices were to be made at the Tabernacle. Twice a day, the priests were to take a lamb and make a sacrifice, which included flour, oil, wine, and the lamb. The priest would take this offering and place it on the alter of burnt offering at the front of the Tabernacle. The aroma of the fire, along with the sacrifice with the oil, flour, and wine would create an aroma that smelled like home cookin’. You could probably pick up the scent for miles around. But for the Hebrews, the smell was not designed to make them hungry for physical food, but for spiritual food.
God had provided a way for the people to have fellowship with Him and to receive forgiveness for their sins. The smell of the burnt offerings reminded them that God was gracious and merciful. The sacrifices were ever present reminders that they were sinful and broken, and that God is righteous and just. Their sin required punishment and God’s wrath, but rather than pouring his punishment on them, God provided a substitute to pay the penalty for their sin. They could close their eyes, and the smell would tell them that God’s flavor was wonderful, and that they could feast on Him. The smell told the Hebrews that God was their God, and they were His people. It was an ever present reminder that God was giving them mercy when they deserved His justice.
The smell also reminded them of the wonderful things that God had done. The sacrifice of the lamb was a reminder of the Passover. The smell might bring back memories of the night that God commanded His people to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle the blood on their doorpost so the Death Angel would pass over them. The aroma might bring back to memory the flight from Pharoah, and the parting of the Red Sea.
Whenever a Hebrew would come near to the Tabernacle, the smell of the sacrifices would be one of the first things he or she would notice. As Christian, God has given us signs of His work in our lives. Seeing a cross in a worship center, or hearing a favorite hymn might help you recall the great things of God. What are some things in your daily life that reminds you of that your God is gracious and merciful? How does God remind you of the wonderful things He has done? Take a moment to think about ways God gives you the “aroma” of His work in your life.