|Photo credit: Apr 12, 2012 wikimedia|
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Triplets of Fragrance: Gateway to Worship
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