Saturday, April 26, 2014

Triplets of Fragrance: Gateway to Worship

Photo credit: Apr 12, 2012 wikimedia


Do the scents of spring bring joy or other passionate emotions to your heart and soul? When I was growing up in Pennsylvania, I always associated the intoxicating fragrance of lilacs with the impressionist music of Ravel’s La Valse – melodies that lured me to dance even while my heart was aching.

The first time I visited Princeton University, the sweetness of the weeping cherry trees helped to convince me that I wanted to attend college there. For the next four springs, I learned to associate that scent with rites of passage – final exams, the giddiness yet heartbreak of young romance, existential thoughts and discussions while walking by moonlight reflecting from the Fountain of Freedom, and finally the bittersweet accomplishment of graduation.

Now that I am in Florida, orange blossoms, jasmine and honeysuckle waft in on the morning breeze, reminding me of God’s grace in bringing me here, saving me, and giving me the blessings of my family, a new church home, and of opportunities to serve Him in several ministries. The gateway of smell opens the path to memories of long ago, peace and joy in the present, and hopes for the future.

We are wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14) in His own image (Genesis 1:26), designed to worship Him, so it is not surprising that He uses that pathway from nose to brain to remind us of Himself. The Bridegroom in Song of Solomon, a beautiful metaphor for Christ Himself, pours out His Name as a fragrant oil (1:3). He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys (2:1), perfuming our lives with His truth and grace.

In Old Testament times, God commanded sacrifices to Himself that would be a sweet-smelling savour (Genesis 8:21; Exodus 29:18,25, etc.), echoed later in the incense used in some churches during worship services. Then His Son was the perfect, complete sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (John 1:29), forever conquering sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57), exuding a fragrance like that of incense used in a triumphal procession (2 Corinthians 2:14). Now, all those who place their trust in Him are a sweet savour of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

God experiences the prayers of those who love and trust Him as incense, as described in exactly three verses in Scripture (Psalm 141:2; Revelation 8:3, 4).

Psalm 45 describes the royal perfume of Christ the King in triplets of fragrance. He is anointed with the oil of gladness (Hebrews 1:9) composed of myrrh, aloes and cassia (Psalm 45:8). This Psalm prophesies of the coming Messiah, fairer than the children of men, speaking words of grace, and forever blessed by God (v. 4). He is mighty, full of glory and majesty (v. 3), yet He embodies meekness as well as righteousness and truth (v. 4).

Jesus Christ is the High Priest anointed with the oil of the Spirit (v. 7), as well as the Warrior bringing judgment to God’s enemies (v. 5) and the King Who will rule forever in righteousness (v. 6)..How should we respond to Him?

If we forsake all others to be with Him (v. 8), acknowledge Him as Lord of our lives by obeying Him, and worship Him (v. 11), He will see us as honorable (v. 9), beautiful (v. 11). and glorious (v. 8). Then we can enter into the King's palace (v. 15), become His children, and rule with Him as princes in all the earth (v. 16). We shall rejoice (v. 15), remember His name for all generations, and praise Him forever (v. 17).

What an amazing prophesy of Christ the King Who through His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) saved us by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), transforming us from His enemies (Romans 5:10) to His children (Romans 8:16) and joint rulers with Him! (Isaiah 32:1) Truly believers have reason to rejoice! Just as we are clothed in His righteousness (Psalm 132:9; Isaiah 61:10), so will our garments be perfumed with His oil of gladness! 


© 2014 Laurie Collett
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32 comments:

  1. Hi Laurie! I live in a village that calls itself The Lilac Village. We even have a park filled with those plants! And I have read many times that our praise is like a pleasant odor to heaven. Smell is important!

    You point out the Scripture that says our sacrifices are pleasant too. It seems hard to fathom...that hard times can smell sweet. But they do.
    Happy Weekend :)
    Ceil

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  2. The Lilac Village sounds lovely! That was my mom's favorite flower, and I wish they were available in Florida! I've heard the analogy of believers going through trials being like a tea bag in hot water -- only then does it release its sweet fragrance.
    Hope you're having a lovely weekend!
    Laurie

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  3. Our two lemon trees have offered their sweet scent for several weeks, and now the blossoms are falling as the April showers gently kiss their petals. I look forward to the fruit in later weeks and months, as does God when he views our lives! Lovely Post Laurie!

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    1. Amen, Hazel -- blossoms are lovely not only for their fragrance and beauty, but for the promise of fruit! May we abide in Him, and He in us, so that we bear much fruit.
      Thank you for your sweet comment, & many blessings to you & Robert!
      Laurie

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  4. Dear Laurie,
    Unfortunately, here in the UK we don't have such as variety of herbs as you do in Florida. Yet I fully understand how we as believers are a fragrance before God. Also the Gospel itself is a fragrance to all who believe, while a stench to those who reject it.
    As for Ravel, I have just one of his works, Bolero - which was the piece for the two Olympic ice skaters Torvil and Dean.
    God bless.

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    1. So true, Frank -- the Gospel is a savour of life to those who accept it, and a savour of death to those who reject it and are therefore condemned.

      Ravel's Bolero is another of my favorites. Both Bolero and La Valse were beautifully portrayed in dance by the Bolshoi Ballet. And Torvill & Dean's piece made ice dancing history.

      God bless,
      Laurie

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  5. Beautiful photo. I love our weeping cherry. Pink lace in the spring. This spring has been especially welcome and the beauty of creation is gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks, Linda, for your visit and sweet comment! God's handiwork is truly a miracle to behold and can bring such joy to the heart!
      Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  6. Beautiful, beautiful post! I love that you fill your writing with the Word of God.

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth, for your sweet words of encouragement!
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  7. While I as well live in Florida I don't have the pleasure to live in a location where the breeze blows with the lovely smells that you talk about. I have been to some parks and location that are amazing, featuring extraordinary trees and different aromas, but for now we are in an apartment development and not that many different types of trees around here.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, craftyspices. I hope you are able to have a park or garden outing soon -- Florida is blessed with many of these.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  8. May we live in such a way that our lives are always such sweet smell to God.

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    1. Amen, Donald! And may we spread the sweet savour of life to others, so that they may know Him!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  9. An inspiring post. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. Thanks, Hazel, for your comment and for hosting! Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  10. Encouraging sweet fragrance. Thankful.

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    1. Amen, Shandra! We have so much to be thankful for. Thanks for your visit and comment, and God bless,
      Laurie

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  11. Hi Laurie,
    just popped over to see what you have written recently. I have always loved Psalm 45, especially verses 8 - 17. It is the most important thing that we put the Lord first because then we shall learn His ways and have His thoughts and be able to love one another as He has loved us.
    God bless you Laurie.

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    1. So nice of you to drop by, Brenda! I pray that your blogging break is going well and that you are having a special time of refreshing. If we seek Him first, and His righteousness, He will bless us in all ways.
      God bless you too!
      Laurie

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  12. Hi Laurie,

    Haven't visited in a long time! Beautiful scripture to accompany your post of the beauty and fragrance of Spring! I love this time of year where God recreates the beauty and promise of His creation!!

    Have a blessed week!
    Denise
    http://refinemelord.com/

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    1. Welcome back, Denise -- missed you! Thank you for your lovely comment, and may you have a joyful Spring basking in all His blessings!
      Laurie

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  13. How lovely! I remember lilacs when I was growing up in New Hampshire. Thank you for this tribute to the beauty of spring!

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    1. Thanks so much for your visit & sweet comment! I remember New Hampshire as being a lovely state, although I haven't been there in years. Hope you're enjoying the spring!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  14. Spring reminds me so much of the rebirth God does in me daily! Sometimes when I'm running and I see all the wildflowers, I feel as though He has rolled out a carpet just for me. I love how intentional and gracious He is with His gifts.

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    1. Amen, Jen! Signs of His love and new creation are all around us! Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  15. God experiences the prayers of those who love and trust Him as incense..What a wonderful and humbling truth. I enjoyed your descriptions of spring's beauty in various locales and what it brings to your mind and heart. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Though Provoking Thursday.

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    1. Thanks so much, Natalie, for your visit and lovely comment. Praise God that He hears and cherishes the prayers of His children!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  16. The imagery you provide awaken the senses of my heart to anticipate the beauty that spring blossoms bring. I love the way you shared using visual, aromatic, and auditory sensations to trigger our awareness of God in Creation. You are right, it should bring us to a place of complete worship.

    Here in the midwest, the weather has been less that ideal, so spring is starting to unfold. I am eagerly anticipating the blooming of my lilac bushes and the fragrant perfume which brings such joy to my day. Thanks for the reminder to be in a continual place of praise. ( 1 Thes 5:17)
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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    1. Dear Dawn,
      Thank you so much for your lovely, poetic comment! You are a blessing! I visited your blog and am following it, and I tried to leave a comment but after 7 attempts to match word verification I gave up. I don't usually have trouble with that, so it may be a glitch you might want to check. Anyway, I am blessed by your visit here and hope you will be back soon and consider following. May you enjoy the spring and the blessings of worshipping and praising Him!
      Love in Christ,
      Laurie

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