I have always been disgusted by the idea of God being pleased with the smell of animal flesh burning away. I, for one have never been around burning flesh, but I imagine it is a cross between burnt meat and a dying carcass, neither of which are “pleasing aromas” to me! But if you really begin looking at the passages in Leviticus about sacrifices, there are only three of the five sacrifices that are a “special gift, a pleasing aroma to the Lord.” (Leviticus 1:9; 2:2; 3:5) They are the burnt offering, the grain offering, and the peace offering, each carrying their own significant purpose.
The burnt offering was a sign of devotion to God, worship and general cleansing from sin. It was to be given daily, and it was to always burn. The fire was to never go out! (Leviticus 6:13) Could it be that God wasn’t pleased so much with the smell of a carcass being consumed by flames but rather by the aroma of worship as they daily devoted themselves to God? Could it be that the fire of their devotion was to be carefully tended that it would never die out?
The grain offering was an act of worship for God’s provision. It helped establish communion with God. Could it be that again God wasn’t pleased so much with the smell of burning bread and flour as He was with the aroma of worship?
The peace offering was given as an act of thanksgiving, an act to seal a vow, and an act of worship. It, too, was a pleasing aroma that established communion with God. Could it be that God found it pleasing because God delights in our thanksgiving and worship? Could it be that God was pleased when they sealed their devotion to Him with a serious vow?
As I look at these with a new light, I see that we really are no different. Yes, it is much simpler now that Christ has made the final sin sacrifice by the shedding of blood (Hebrews 10:12), but we still please God by drawing unto Him daily, being totally surrendered and committed, being thankful, and recognizing his provision in our lives. We still need to keep the flame of total devotion to God burning daily. We still need the forgiveness of sin and recognize our desperate need for God’s love and forgiveness. We are still to be a “living and holy sacrifice–the kind [God] will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” (Romans 12:1)
So, is the aroma of my heart and my worship pleasing to the Lord?