You know how sometimes you get a whiff of something, and it takes you to another time and another place? A friend of mine wrote to many celebrities, asking them if they had a memory that had been triggered by a smell. Quite a lot wrote back, and she compiled a fascinating, beautifully illustrated book of these memories, and sold it in aid of Parkinson’s UK, as her husband has this horrible disease. It’s called Smellebrities and it’s available on Kindle. Do buy a copy if you don’t already have one, and support this great charity.
Smells do evoke memories, and I wonder if that was part of the purpose of the aromatic anointing oil that God instructed the perfumers to make for the tabernacle, Exodus 30:22-33. What did he want them to remember? That God is in this place. His presence. His love. His provision of a way that their sins could be forgiven, and their relationship restored with their God.
Another possible reason God commanded for this oil to be smeared on everything, was it’s antiseptic properties. With so much blood being poured out and sprinkled, it would have acted as an antibacterial to keep everyone healthy.
It was to be made to a strict formula, which could be used in no other context: unique to this place. And it caused things to be holy, special, set apart. Whatever that oil anointed, was purified and made holy.
Jesus was ‘the Christ’ or ‘Messiah’ which means the anointed one. What was he anointed with? Acts 10:38 “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power…” And we who follow him, are likewise anointed – “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor 1:21-22) We are meant to be holy, cleansed, set apart for his service.
Anointing carries a perfume. Are people around me, or you, caused to remember that God is in this place? Do I carry a sense of his presence and his love? Can I demonstrate to them the way of forgiveness and restoration of relationship with my God? Is my anointing fresh today, so that the perfume of the presence of God lingers and reminds me of his love? Can others smell God on me? Do I make the atmosphere around me a better, healthier place?