‘Hey does this smell right?’ He asked me.

Exodus 30:17-38

17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Make a bronze basin, with its bronze stand, for washing. Place it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons are to wash their hands and feet with water from it. 20 Whenever they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water so that they will not die. Also, when they approach the altar to minister by presenting a food offering to the Lord, 21 they shall wash their hands and feet so that they will not die. This is to be a lasting ordinance for Aaron and his descendants for the generations to come.”

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 “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, 24 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. 25 Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. 26 Then use it to anoint the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law, 27 the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, 28 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand.29 You shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.

30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites, ‘This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 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. 33 Whoever makes perfume like it and puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from their people.’”

34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha and galbanum—and pure frankincense, all in equal amounts,35 and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer. It is to be salted and pure and sacred. 36 Grind some of it to powder and place it in front of the ark of the covenant law in the tent of meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37 Do not make any incense with this formula for yourselves; consider it holy to the Lord.38 Whoever makes incense like it to enjoy its fragrance must be cut off from their people.”

Cross, jesus, God, Holy Spirit, Daily Devotion, Smell

Working in a restaurant you would occasionally come across a hidden surprise, something misplaced that has been left to grow and bloom until what was once lost is now found again by the unsuspecting victim. When the victim opens the container to discover what they had just found they were met by an invading odour that would overpower them, knocking them to the ground. Then to share this discovery/trauma with others the victim would then ask others ‘hey does this smell right?’

We are constantly invaded by various fragrances, some that are pleasing and some that are revolting. From yesterday’s passage and tomorrows there is a theme of a strong smell that is in the air, (hopefully more pleasant than what we found in the kitchen). This event echos back to our passage today about a fragrant oil that was used to anoint the Priesthood of Israel as part of the preparation to serve their God and offer sacrifices on behalf of the people.

Everything we see from Genesis 12 to Exodus 31 is done to restore the broken relationship between God and his creation. The establishment of the priesthood was a way for a mediator to act between a holy God and sinful humanity. However, one of the inadequacies with the priesthood is that before they can offer sacrifices for the people, they first needed to offer sacrifice for their own sins. This inadequacy reveals the need for a greater high priest to come, for someone who is sinless and can truly mediate between God and humanity. It is only in Jesus, his perfect life, his sinless sacrifice that this can happen. As one Hymn put it ‘because the sinless Saviour died my sinful soul is counted free for God the Just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me.’

Because of Christs sacrifice we are now free to live for him, we have become a royal priesthood, carrying with us as Paul puts it ‘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 Cor 2:15-17). Our offering and aroma is a life of grateful obedience to our saviour.

Head: The priests required a great deal of preparation before they could begin their service.

Heart: How have you failed to bring the aroma of life?

Hands: How can you be an aroma that brings life to those around you today?


Father, I ask that you would help me to meditate upon Jesus as my great high priest. Help me to reflect upon his perfect sacrifices on my behalf. Lord, open up my eyes to see, open up my ear to hear, how I can bring the aroma of life to those around me. Help me to live with grateful obedience to you and share the life that you have given me with others.


A song to listen to: What Love My God


Ben Harvey- Adelaide Presbyterian Church