GOD smelled the sweet fragrance and thought to himself, "I'll never again curse the ground because of people. I know they have this bent toward evil from an early age, but I'll never again kill off everything living as I've just done. (Genesis href="http://www.studylight.org/desk/index.cgi?q1=Gen+8:21&t1=_msg">Genesis 8:21 MSG)

Noah was offering the sacrifices that God had told him to bring with him into the ark. Not only were there two of every kind of unclean animal and creepy crawlies in the ark, but there were also seven pairs of clean animals and creepers (Genesis 7:2-4). Why is it the world remembers the unclean very well, but not so much the clean? Probably because they were in male and female pairs, and Scripture says they went into the ark “two by two.”

The sacrifice of Noah after the flood waters receded rose up into God’s nostrils as a sweet aroma, a savoring fragrance to Him.

I love perfume... the kind that smells nice. Why are there so many different kinds of perfume that stink? On me?

Chemistry.

Body chemistry reacts with the chemicals in the perfume and causes either a pleasing smell, an odor most foul, or a non-smell. There are some fragrances that are enhanced by certain oils, and certain fragrances combined make perfumes that can peak the senses. Spikenard is one that is enhanced by olive oil. I have some spikenard and it has a sharp odor that softens to something very pleasing when combined with olive oil. If you recall spikenard was the essence that Mary anointed Jesus with before He was crucified.

God savored that sweet fragrance that rose up from Noah’s sacrifice, and because of the fragrance He promised never again to destroy all living things in the same manner... by flood. Was it really the smoking meat of the burnt offering that was sweet smelling to God?

Admittedly, if you are outside on the 4th of July in Anytown, America there is something extremely pleasant about that fragrance of grilled meat. It’s actually mouth-watering good.

But that is not why God savored the aroma. It was Noah's obedience that was the sweet fragrance. God loves obedience. Just like a parent who simply cannot resist the child who is obedient. Leviticus 26 explains all about how important obedience is to God. That chapter is an outline of the Israelites relationship with the LORD God Almighty. He reminded them of all the rewards He would shower upon them for their obedience. He warned them about the progression of consequences to their disobedience down to the disgust He would have over their sacrifices when they laid the last straw on the camel’s back.

Lest we over step here, God does not love us because of our obedience, in truth He loves us in spite of our sinfulness and ugliness. He loved us first, and then He sent His Son. That was the greatest gift of all.

Of course there isn't anywhere in Scripture that says, Jesus was a Gift, but there are numerous passages that refer to offerings, and what is an offering but a gift, not a tithe, but a gift? What was Jesus, but a wondrous sacrifice, an offering from God, and the sweetness of the Messiah's obedience rose up as the sweetest perfume from anywhere on earth or in heaven. The cost of it was beyond price, the benefit of it has no price.

So in that house of Lazarus who was vibrant testimony to God’s power over death and decay, Martha served our Lord with her own hands. She exhibits sweet service. Lazarus sits at table with Jesus and dines with Him exhibiting communion with Him. And Mary? She gave Him His due. So many others came to Jesus begging for something from Him. Mary poured over Him the most costly thing she owned. The perfumed oil was only a token that depicted her testimony that she valued Him far above any prized possession that could be poured out. All we have is His. All we do is for Him. While we are serving and giving, we are in sweet communion with Him.