Gratitude. As the Thanksgiving holiday rolls around more persons are going to start thinking about the things that they have to be thankful for. It’s a good time to count the benefits of God – life, health, wealth, family, laughter … there are oodles of reasons to be thankful.
But I want to pick your brain: what does gratitude look like for you? I mean, if thankfulness had a smell, a sound, a taste, a feel, a look … what would it be?
Let’s work it out together. The Online Dictionary defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
In other words when you are grateful you want to do nice things for the person you’re grateful to or even just random persons. So let me ask a question, how do we show gratitude to God? Are we grateful to him?
Here’s what I think, true gratitude has a smell. Once upon a time, a long time ago shortly after the children of Israel had been delivered from slavery in Egypt they were given the sacrificial system. God told them, through Moses what he expected in terms of offerings that were to be made before him for trespasses committed, sin, fellowship etc. a good place to get an understanding of the various offerings is the book of Leviticus.
One of the phrases used to describe the sacrifices made to the Lord was "a sweet-smelling savor (Numbers 29:2).”
And the question you’re probably asking is, “Why would the smell of blood and burnt animals be pleasing to God?’ It wasn’t. It was all about the heart of the person offering the sacrifice. That’s the smell that God loves – a surrendered heart.
Let’s look at one of the first instances that God mentioned that an offering was a “sweet/soothing smell” to him. In happened in Genesis 8:21: there was a flood. The people had been evil, so wicked and corrupt that God regretted that he had ever created humanity. But there was one man who was considered righteous in God’s sight and for that reason he was earmarked for delivery. Fast-forward a few hundred years, the flood destroyed the earth but this man and his family were saved.
One of the first things that Noah did after leaving the ark was to build an altar and offer a sacrifice to the Almighty God. The God who had kept him through the flood. The God whose hand had kept the ferocious wild animals from destroying him and those he held dear. The God who kept the food and him and his family (not to mention all those animals) fed and watered for over a year.
Noah had a lot to be thankful for and his gratitude had a smell:
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.
Because Noah was so grateful for all that God had done for him, he took the time to offer a sacrifice to God. It was like him saying, “I should have been dead. Had it not been for you Jehovah, I would have been. So accept this innocent, blameless lamb in my place. Thank you for all you’ve done.”
Did the sweet smelling aroma end when we stopped offering animal sacrifices? Did the coming of the Messiah abolish the need to offer a soothing aroma before God? No, it didn’t.
On the contrary, the fulfillment of the Messiah’s role kicked it up a notch. Now we are to offer our bodies, our lives as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1):
And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him (NLT).
Basically what Paul was saying is, “God has done so much for you that you ought to live your life as if you owe him a debt. Be so grateful to him for saving you that you have to let everyone know what he has done for you.” Our lives should be a sweet savor. Our gratitude should be reflected in our attitude.
Lord, I commit my life into your hands. I am but dust but if you take me and mold me into your image I will become a living sacrifice unto you. I want my life to be a pleasing aroma so consecrate me now for I ask it in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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