"These offerings are given as a special gift to the Lord, a pleasing aroma to him." (Num 29:6 NLT)
If you were
to simply read this text out of context, your thoughts might go
something like mine did: Wow, that offering must be fresh bread or
cinnamon rolls! Definitely something that smells nice!
you read the text in its entirety, however, you see that this is not the
case. Consider the preceding verses: "It will consist of one young
bull, one ram, and seven one-year-old male lambs, all with no
defects...In addition, you must sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering
to purify yourselves and make yourselves right with the Lord. These
special sacrifices are in addition to your regular monthly and daily
burnt offerings, and they must be given with their prescribed grain
offerings and liquid offerings." (Num 29:2b-6a NLT)
"offering", then, that has such a "pleasing aroma", is nothing more than
Now I don't know about you, but having been
raised vegetarian, the smell of any meat cooking is not "pleasing" to
me. I do understand that the majority of the world would not agree;
however, this passage isn't talking about just cooking meat. It's
talking about burning it! I believe most of you would agree
that the odor of burning flesh does not smell
Taking this a bit farther, I would have to say that
even if the odor of burning meat was a pleasant one for me, what is
there about slaughtering bulls and rams and lambs that is "pleasing"?
Yet this phrase, "pleasing aroma", is used multiple times
throughout the books of Moses, and the context is always that of
slaughtering animals for burnt offerings (See
Num. 29, etc.)...Just what is so
pleasing about burnt offering?
I am currently reading the
Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible. I have been asking myself
this question throughout the books, but it wasn't until I arrived at
Numbers 29 that I began to understand...
Let's remember that the
Bible teaches us that sin separates us from God: "Listen! The LORD's
arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you
call. It's your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your
sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore." (Is. 59:1-2
Let's also remember that: "...without the shedding of
blood, there is no forgiveness." (Heb. 9:22 NLT). Thus the animal
served as a substitute. It died in the place of the sinner.
God said that the animal sacrifices were a "pleasing aroma" to Him,
could it be that He desired for their sins to
be covered? That He desired for there to be
nothing separating Him from His people? That He desired
to walk with them? To talk with them? To have a
relationship with them? Did the odor of burning sacrificial meat simply
signify to God that the sins were covered and the door was open for
relationship? Was this why God called the sacrifices, "a pleasing
aroma to Him"?
The Truth of the matter is, God
wants to be with us!
It is true that the
sacrificial system was not adequate as a long-term solution, for:
"...it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take
away sins." (Heb. 10:4 NLT). Thus these sacrifices could
only "cover up" the sin, so to speak. And since God wanted a permanent
fix to this sin problem that caused Him to be separated from the ones He
loves, He further proved His love and His desire to be with us by making
a better way: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away
the sin of the world!" (John 1:19 NLT). God sent His own
Son to be the sacrifice that permanently removes
our sin. And since, "There is no greater love
than to lay down one's life for one's friends"
(John 15:13 NLT), doesn't this serve to prove His ultimate desire to be
with us? To spend time with us? To lavish His love upon us?
next time you smell burning meat, remember this lesson from the mosaic
laws: The reason God considered the stench of burning meat to be "a
pleasing aroma" is because it signified that their sins were covered and
He could commune with them. Let's all let that stench be a reminder to
you that God wants to have that relationship with each of us, too, and
in order to ensure that it would be even easier, He sent Jesus...
Hum. Maybe my neighbour's burning barbeque doesn't smell so bad
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author --
"Aboard God's Train -- A
Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet
Scriptural Nuggets, a
website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with
Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.