An Aroma Pleasing to the Lord

Bible Reading:
Sacrifices and Offerings Leviticus 1:1-17; 2:1-16; 6:8-23; 17:8-9; Numbers 15:1-21; 28:1-8

In the Old Testament, when an offering was presented in the way that God required, it was "an aroma pleasing to the Lord." Animal offerings were to be "without defect." Grain offerings (Lev. 2:1-13) were to be made without yeast (symbolizing the absence of sin), without honey (to delay spoiling), with oil (symbolizing the presence of God's Spirit), and always seasoned with salt (to preserve from evil and to draw out the best flavor).

It is interesting to note that the grain offering for sin was to be absent of oil (Lev. 5:11), a symbol of God's Spirit, while other grain offerings - for blessing, peace, thanksgiving, ordination, the Sabbath, and the new moon - required the oil to be mixed in. Perhaps it symbolizes that, when we sin, we act in opposition to the Spirit of God, ignoring or resisting his prompting.

The need for sacrifices and offerings was ended when Jesus, "a lamb without blemish or defect" (1 Pet. 1:19), "gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Eph. 5:2). When we accept Jesus' sacrifice as payment for our sin, we are presented to God, "holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" (Col. 1:22). His death on the cross was a demonstration of his great love for us (Rom. 5:8). We, too, are urged to "live a life of love" and to worship God by presenting ourselves to him as "living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God" (Eph. 5:2; Rom. 12:1). In other words: "Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering" (Rom. 12:1 Msg).

How can we present ourselves to God as an acceptable offering? We are challenged to "continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise …to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased" (Heb. 13:15-16). Our lives must be free of the "yeast of malice and wickedness", so that we may present to God "the bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor. 5:8). When we offer our lives to God in this way, "we are to God the aroma of Christ" among those who don't know God (2 Cor. 2:15). The power to live such a life pleasing to God does not come from our own strength, but through the God of peace, who equips us with all we need for doing his will, and produces in us, through the power of Christ, all that is pleasing to him (Heb. 13:20-21 LB).

Lord, thank you for your sacrificial love for me, which covers my sin and makes me clean and holy in your sight. Accept my life, in return, as an offering of praise and worship. May every aspect of my everyday, ordinary life bring honor to you. Help me to do your will and to make right anything that displeases you. Fill me with your Spirit, that I may live a life of love. Make my life a sweet aroma that is pleasing to you and that draws others to your grace.