Making Scents … A Devotional from Jim Stephenson

God reveals Himself to us through two books – the Book of Nature and the Holy Scriptures. One of the beautiful things about the mandate to stay at home is the opportunity to appreciate more keenly the Book of Nature in a Carolina Spring. Along with the flourishing flora and fascinating fauna, heavenly fragrances fill up my senses when the doors swing open to greet the day.

The wild Honey Suckle drapes the fence, perfuming the air with so pleasing a scent that honeybees can’t resist its sugary nectar.

The lush Ligustrum is now in full bloom, waiting eagerly to ride the wings of the wind to spread its intoxicating aroma to grateful noses everywhere.

The climbing Star Jasmine that smothers the trellis on the outer garage wall boasts a cologne so enticing that one can’t resist breathing in deeply to capture its luscious charm.

My highly trained olfactory receptors are on high alert for the party they know awaits each sunshiny day of a Southern Spring. And when the delicate smell from these savory succulents begins to wane, God cranks up another cycle of odorous magic with the blooming of my beloved gardenias.

So how do the Book of Nature’s sweet scents reveal to me our Lord Jesus Christ?

I’ll have to let the other book, the Holy Scriptures, inform me about that. Old-style Christian commentators spiritualize the Old Testament book Song of Songs. Instead of reading it as a manual praising marital love, they see it as a poetic description of the loving relationship between Christ and His church. Thus, they interpret the male lover as Jesus rather than the author himself (Solomon).

In Song of Songs 2:1 the male calls himself the “rose of Sharon” and the “lily of the valley.” Suffice it to say that both plants are beautiful and fragrant.

Regardless of how one interprets the Song of Songs, we all agree that the ancient Jewish tabernacle is a graphic portrayal of the person and work of Jesus. Since God told Moses to create an incense to fill the tabernacle (Exodus 30:34-38), we understand that the intense fragrance in the house of worship represented the coming Redeemer.
Fifteen hundred years later the Apostle Paul wrote that Jesus “loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” ~ Ephesians 5:2

As committed followers of Jesus Christ, we’re called to spread the Word about Him. And when we start giving the reason for the hope that lies within us, by His grace, we start smelling like Him.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.  ~ 2 Cor. 2:14-16

Are you my friend, making scents to others? May God help us!