Isaiah 11:3a The Smell of Obedience

Isaiah 11:3a And He will delight in the fear of the LORD…

The Hebrew text reads literally, “and his smelling is in the fear of the Lord.” (NET Bible).

Reyach is Hebrew for smell. The word is translated as “delight” by the NASB version. It can be translated as scent, fragrance, aroma, odor of soothing (technical term for sacrifice to God). Definition provided by Strong’s Concordance.

He, Jesus, will enjoy and desire to respect and revere the LORD as if it had a pleasant smell.

“Reyach” is the word used as God’s response to the sacrificial system in the Old Testament.

Numbers 15:7 and for the drink offering you shall offer one-third of a hin of wine as a soothing aroma to the LORD.

Leviticus 23:13 ‘Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. This is a recipe for bread. God delights in the smell of baked bread. This aspect of the sacrificial system is also looking to the future. Notice the elements, bread and wine. The New Testament equivalent is Communion.

Animal sacrifices were required in the Old Testament to be a reminder of sin. These animal sacrifices upon a burning altar produced a soothing aroma to God. The smell of burning animals with spices, God likes the smell of grilled meat. The blood of these animals could not take away sin. But the blood of Jesus could. See Hebrews 10 for detail.

This same word “reyach” is used for “delight” in Amos 5:21 “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Translation to the religious ones of the day, your religious actions stink. God does not care for performance religion. He wants your heart.

Our response to all of this is to pray. In the throne room of Heaven, prayers are equated with incense. Our prayers are a fragrant aroma to God. Revelation 8:3-4 Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Prayers smell good to God and He likes them.

He, Jesus, will enjoy and desire to respect and revere the LORD as if it had a pleasant smell.

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