Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!
— Daniel 3:27 NLT
The smell clung to me like a too-tight shirt.
I love a campfire — and evidently many others do too when they camp. I’ve seen people build campfires at campgrounds in the middle of July when the temperatures soared into the 90s and when the humidity approached 100%. Something about camping just isn’t complete without a glowing — and for some, a roaring — campfire.
But one thing I don’t care for is the smell. I’ve cooked on a campfire, roasted marshmallows around one, lounged around one for enjoyment and hovered near one for heat. Regardless of my purpose, the result was the same: the smell of smoke. When camping, I don’t always bathe every night, so that means getting in my tent smelling like smoke — and smelling the smoke smell all night. For some reason, the smell keeps me awake. Bathing, or dousing myself with cologne, is the only way to diminish the odor.
My wife and I have a favorite restaurant in town that leaves us smelling almost the same way as a campfire. No matter how my clothes smell when I enter — and regardless of what I eat — they smell of smoke when I leave. No wearing them a second time. Straight to the dirty clothes they go. Some things just cling.
Not so with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Through an act of trickery by some who didn’t like the three Hebrew men, Nebuchadnezzar the king was forced to throw them into a fiery furnace. But he didn’t watch them disintegrate. Rather, he saw a fourth Man in the fire with them, and he saw them all walking around. When he called for the three to come out, they did — and without the smell of smoke or a singed hair on their bodies.
God wants His children to smell, too. Not a repulsive smell — although it sometimes works out that way — but a pleasant smell. He wants the smell of holiness. This doesn’t mean we must walk around acting emotional or weird. Holiness carries the idea of separation. Separation from all things that displease God, from all things that keep Him from accomplishing His purpose in our life, and from all things that destroy our ability to live life as He planned.
Our smell can repulse or invite. When we smell of love, kindness, joy, peace, patience, forgiveness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness, people will want to know why we don’t smell like what they are accustomed to smelling in the world. They’ll be astounded — like the king was — and they’ll want to worship the same God as we do.
What can you do to smell a little better?