The Lord smelled the pleasing scent, and the Lord thought to himself, I will not curse the fertile land anymore (Genesis 8:21)
The scent of freshly baking cookies assaulted my senses as I walked into the kitchen; warm butter mixed with sugar filled the air, as well as the sharp scent of a melted cocoa confection. Mmmmm….immense pleasure ripped through my body as the smell permeated my very being.
Can you smell them? The chocolate chip cookies? I’ll bet you want to run to the kitchen right now and bake up a batch simply to experience that familiar sensation. It’s funny how certain smells elicit memories: memories of pleasure, of comfort, or even of a childhood home. For instance, I love the smell of rain, it brings to mind cozy afternoons cuddled up on the couch with a blanket and a good book; carefree days when time was a plentiful luxury.
Have you ever noticed that when you have a stuffy nose or sinus issues, food doesn’t taste so great? Even bacon! What we smell is directly linked to our taste buds and can change what we perceive as good. This is because only the taste of the food is being detected, not the food odors. The interaction between taste and smell enhances our perception of the food we eat. Without our noses and its sense of smell, life would be considerably less fragrant.
One of the things that I have noticed while reading the bible is that God values highly the scent of things. Consider the offerings that the Israelites made to Him in the Old Testament:
- Grain (flour and oil, ie;Bread)
- Animals (particularly the fat)
When Noah finally found dry ground after nearly a year on the ark, he built an altar and sacrificed animals upon it – and “the Lord smelled the pleasing scent”. Now, I have a personal opinion that the offerings and sacrifices of the Old Testament were the original barbecues.
Biblical-ly sound - I know!
Think about the barbecues of summer and how wonderful the meat cooking on the grill smells, how it makes your mouth water in anticipation of the tastes to come, and how God finds this scent pleasing to Him.
Smells are important.
Scientifically, good smells raise dopamine levels in our brain which causes happiness and generally improves cellular functions throughout the body, giving health and well being. Bad smells warn us to the dangers of consuming something that is spoiled, or maybe something that carries disease. It causes us to shrink away and so avoid potential hazard. I believe that this is one of the ways that God takes care of us: by placing inside our nature, mechanisms to promote health and happiness.
What a wonderful sense given to us by a loving God!
His desire is for us to know what is good from what is bad, to have pleasure in the good things of life and so experience His goodness. To enjoy that grilled steak with the fat burned off, leaving behind a tasty plate of His bounty! (Okay, enough of the food – it’s making me hungry!)
So as you travel through your day, think about the different scents that you encounter.
- Consider what God would have to say about them. Share your experience of what you smell with Him.
- What does it remind you of? Is it linked to a memory – good or bad?
- Can you see God’s hand in its creation, simply for your pleasure, and His?
- Perceive those scents as God would. Why would God make something smell like that?
As we experience things the way God experiences them, I think we come one step closer to His side, sharing in the goodness of His creation, the way He always wanted! Our relationship with God is enhanced by knowing Him; by knowing what He likes and by knowing and appreciating His nature. Our sense of smell is a great opportunity to relate with the Creator.
- Have a barbecue.
- Bake up a batch of cookies.
- Walk around outside after a rain storm.
- Meander through a flower garden.
- Visit a bakery
Do yourself a favor by raising your dopamine levels today! Your body will thank you!
Soli Deo Gloria!