That Smells Good!
by Dave Foucar
Published on April 29, 2023
Categories: Inspiration

That Smells Good

by Dave Foucar

“That smells good!” I’m sure you’ve said something like that before. I certainly have. Maybe, after working in the yard, or perhaps, when you come home from work. You walk in the door and the smell of something cooking envelops you. “Hmm, that smells good!” Of course, Holiday meals are notorious for emanating these kinds of fragrances. You have to patiently wait, sometimes hour after hour, as the air is filled with what you’d call “pleasant aromas.”

There is something more than just the smell that is special. While the smell itself is a good thing, it’s what goes with the smell that is even more significant. Few of us would be satisfied with just the aroma, as good as it may be. Of course, without the meal that follows we would be left empty. Not to mention, there is often an accompanying sense of home, family, friends and love associated with the wafting aromas that bring comfort to us.

Interestingly, God seems to enjoy “pleasant aromas” as well. At least that is what the scripture tells us. Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t know whether God actually smells things or not. Does He have a cosmic nose, so to speak, that takes in all the aromas of the universe? I’m not sure. Certainly, if He wants to smell things He can. He is God, after all! He can be described with all the big “O’s”: Omnipotent, omniscient, omnificent, omnipresent, or any “O” word you can think of. More likely though, the description of God enjoying a pleasant aroma, as we see it used, is a personification to help us understand Him better.

In the book of Leviticus, this idea of a “pleasing aroma” is mentioned on several occasions. These all came in conjunction with the giving of sacrifices and offerings. Whether a meat or grain offering, the sacrifice was said to emit a pleasant aroma to the Lord. A little bit like a holiday meal for us, what pleased God was more than the smell of the sacrifice. A sacrifice that is merely to meet a requirement, when it is just going through the motions, means very little. The expression of love for God, and dependence on Him is what makes the sacrifice pleasing. The prophet Hosea says, “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).

This idea of a pleasing aroma doesn’t disappear in the New Testament. Paul describes the “fragrant offering” that Jesus made as an example for us to follow: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). And Paul builds on the idea when he says that God “ . . . uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him (Christ) everywhere” (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Jesus, of course, made the perfect sacrifice. He submitted fully in order to accomplish God’s will. We see the difficulty of that choice in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus’ decision was so difficult that “His sweat was like drops of blood falling on the ground” (Luke 22:44). Picture it! Still, through the difficulty, “Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We too, while not perfect, are called to make a sacrifice. Not of meat or grain but of our lives. Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). Our sacrifice is not one of physical death like those in the Old Testament or of Jesus on the cross. Rather, our sacrifice is one of daily living — a sacrifice of continual submission and service to our God.

So, if we take this idea of sacrifice seriously, each of us should probably ask, “how do I smell?” Does the sacrifice of my life have a “pleasant aroma” to God? Frances Havergal penned beautifully in her 1874 hymn:

“Take my life and let it be

consecrated, Lord, to thee.

Take my moments and my days;

let them flow in endless praise,

let them flow in endless praise.”

Havergal beautifully describes the offering of a life fully dedicated to God in every moment and every day. She continues in the following verses of “Take My Life and Let It Be” describing hands and feet, voice and lips, silver and gold, intellect, will, and heart all fully offered to God. Is that how our lives look? Every aspect of our lives, small and large, submitted before God? While we slip, we stumble, and we certainly are not perfect, is that the tenor and direction of our life? A life fully dedicated to God in every aspect.

A life fully dedicated to God is the living sacrifice we are called to make. It’s the kind of sacrifice that has a “pleasant aroma.” As others look at us, as they see our lives, they’ll see Jesus and they might just say, “That smells good!”

Dave Foucar has a passion for teaching God’s word and has led Sunday School, Bible Studies, and Small Groups of all ages. He has served as a supply preacher and has been a lead speaker and seminar leader at Couples Retreats, Men’s Retreats, and Family and Youth Camps. David’s first book, “What Do I Say When Asked About Jesus?” is a conversational approach to helping people answer questions about Jesus. The book provides a layman’s perspective on personal evangelism and the basics of the Christian faith. “What Do I Say When Asked about Jesus?” gives the average Christian tools to help share about Jesus while increasing confidence in their own faith. Dave has been married for thirty-six years to the love of his life, Debbie. They have three daughters, two sons-in-law, and two granddaughters.

Feature Photo by Wallpaper Access 


  1. C Bull

    Dave’s book has given me Bible based but practical advice & tips how to better share my faith when interacting with other people.

    He help me take that first step out of my comfort zone & I now share my faith more easily & powerfully with other believers AND nonbelievers. Marsh

    • Andy Oldham

      Hey Marsh! Thanks for sharing this. Praise God.
      We all need to step out of our comfort zones! So thankful, Dave’s book has helped you do that!


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