Living in an agricultural city like Clarksville means there are often odors and aromas wherever you travel. Just a few hundreds yards from our house in one direction, you’ll smell the pleasing aroma of Chris’ Pizza Village. If you travel a few hundred yards the other way, you may encounter the not-so-pleasing odor of a herd of cows. #SouthernLiving

Just as we prefer a pleasing aroma, so does God. In fact, the first few books of the Bible speak regularly about animal sacrifices and their accompanying “pleasing aroma.” The key to remember is that the “pleasing aroma” is for the Lord, not for the one doing the sacrificing.

In Numbers 28, God reminds His people of the specific timing and regulations of the sacrifices, then gets personal by calling it “my pleasing aroma” (Numbers 28:2). As I read that recently, the contrast struck me. If you’ve ever been around a slaughterhouse, you know there is nothing “pleasing” about the scenery or the odor. It’s brutal. Biblical sacrifices were intended to be brutal—brutal reminders of the wages of sin. For the people doing the sacrificing, it was an odor; but to God, receiving the sacrifice, it was a “pleasing aroma.”

Our obedience to the Lord, sacrifice, and the lifelong struggle of “carrying our cross” are brutal. But be reminded today that as you struggle through the challenges of obedience, what may at times seem like an odor to us is a sweet-smelling aroma to God. He is honored and glorified by your obedience and grit.