When I was young, I remember my dad gifting me a perfume during Christmas. I remember it came in a beautiful box along with other makeup products. I felt so grown up. His purchase came straight from Macy's. For me that was a big deal. To this day if I smell that perfume, it'll bring me back to my early teenage years.
Later, as I grew older, I made my own choices and purchased the scents I liked. We can choose what we smell like.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant calamus, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. Then use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy. “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on anyone else’s body and do not make any other oil using the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’” (Exodus 30:22-33)
Exodus reminds us of the Lord’s specific instructions regarding the Tabernacle. There was a recipe involved in the anointing oil. A recipe not to be duplicated for common use. Oil was on the tent, in the ark of the covenant, on the table, and on all the articles. Could you imagine walking by the Tabernacle? The aroma would have been captivating.
Often in reading the Old Testament we wonder why all the specifics. It's a Holy God trying to teach us in our brokenness and need for the Divine.
As I grew older, I got married. My husband also purchased perfume for me. This scent has remained in my collection for daily use. It reminds me then I am loved. My husband also could recognize my entrance in a room by just inhaling. (As long as someone else does not have my perfume on. That would be awkward!)
Unlike perfumes we purchase today, the anointing oil was different. It was sacred. They were consecrated and set apart. The fragrance testified that these men were chosen to serve the Lord.
Today there is a new fragrance upon my life. I have surrendered the stench of death for a new aroma, the aroma of Christ. His life poured out for me and on me.
Everyone has a scent. We are either like Aaron and his sons who are consecrated for the service of the Lord with a distinguished, handpicked perfume from the Lord. Or we just smell like everyone else blending into the futility of this world.
The Tabernacle instructions were specific. Today the Lord Jesus extends an invitation to wear the fragrance of his choosing. A fragrance purchased by his very blood that we would be a distinct people.
Salvation and redemptive life, it has a specific presence. Or at least it should! His death was not in vain. It is a gift that we open, receive, and apply. It's not from Macy's! It comes from the very heart of the Father who has loved his creation and wants us to be his.
“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16a)
Inhale and breathe. What does it smell like to be around you?