Smelling Good

by | Jul 2, 2024 | Actions, Attitude, New Life

“So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son.” (Genesis 27:27 NLT)

The smell took me back.

Until my wife came along, I had used bar soap. She was a liquid soap user, so I also adopted the liquid soap craze. But for many years, bar soap was the norm. Liquid soaps were not mass-produced for domestic use until the 1980s when Minnetonka Corporation of Minnesota released its Softsoap. That sounded about right when I researched it. I sure don’t remember using liquid soap when I was growing up.

Not long ago, while visiting the local grocery store for some items, I walked to the pharmacy department. Sure enough, they sat on the shelf as I remembered—three bars of Ivory soap, packaged together. I picked them up and ran them beneath my nose.

The smell took me back. Back to a time when I was a young boy taking baths instead of showers. Back to the time when I stayed with my grandparents in Orangeburg and in Vance, South Carolina. I would run the bath water, jump in, wet the washrag, and look for the bar of soap. Ivory soap, of course. This was the cleanest smelling and very useful because it floated.

No matter how clean I was, the water soon turned dingy when I sat in it. Finding a bar of soap proved difficult. I remember running my hand beneath my body and around the bottom of the tub, trying to find the soap. But not if it was Ivory. Since it floated, I could quickly locate it. When I finished my bath—no matter how dirty or clean I had been when I started—I smelled clean.

As I ran those three bars of soap beneath my nose that day in the grocery store, I remembered those days. I bought the soap and began using it again. I also put bars in soap dishes and placed one in our bathrooms and kitchen. When I washed my hands, I could inhale the smell again.

Amazing what smells can do. For Isaac, it identified his son—or so he thought. Prior to his death, when the time came for him to give his final blessing to his firstborn, he told Esau to kill some wild game, prepare it, and bring it to him. He would eat it and bless him.

But Jacob, the younger brother and a trickster, dressed as his brother, prepared game, and took it to his father. Blindness initially confused Isaac, but the smell of the outdoors convinced him it was Esau—although we know better from reading this story of deception.

With spiritual living, smell is also important. Whether I smell clean because I just bathed with Ivory soap or whether I smell raunchy because I just helped give shots to hogs in a muddy, smelly pen isn’t the issue. I can smell foul physically but good spiritually.

Actions, words, and attitudes determine our spiritual smell. And when they align with God’s Word, people smell a wonderful aroma from us. We might not be in style with clothes or have the latest and greatest play toys, but others will get a good smell from being around us. Not with their noses, mind you, but with their eyes and ears. They will smell Jesus. And after all, that’s what Jesus said his followers were supposed to do: smell good.

What are some ways you can smell better to others?

Father, may my aroma draw others to you.

By Martin Wiles


Smelling Good