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What is that awful smell?!

Tuesday, October 3, 2006 (10:13 am)

2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

From Rosh haShana leading up to Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement, the holiest of all the feasts), we are now in the Days of Awe. This is the season that the shofar (rams horn) is blown to heed the call of warning to repent from our sins and be clean. The shofar's unique sounding blast is a wake up call to all who will hear.

Those of you who know what a shofar looks like, know it's quite intriguing. As a matter of fact, I have a shofar displayed on a shelf in my living room as a centerpiece (and a reminder) and most who enter comment on its beauty. My wife makes sure our shofar is dusted and shined it to keep it looking its best.

However, I don't know how many of you have ever smelled the odor of a rams horn before it's properly cleaned, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is by far one of the most putrid, revolting and rancid smelling things I've smelled in my lifetime. And it is a common dilemma among shofar owners as how best to rid it of that awful smell. Some say washing it out with vinegar does the trick, others say soaking your shofar in alcohol guarantees a clean smell, and still others firmly stand by some strange hodgepodge of ingredients they've concocted.

Interestingly enough, the Hebrew root of the word shofar is the word "shifra", which means to beautify, which is directly related to the Hebrew word "shapair" which means to improve!

Now, I think most of us remember to wash our outward bodies in order to look and smell nice as we go out into the world around us. But how many of us are walking around just gorgeous on the outside but the stench of sin reeking within us?!! As the shofar blasts this season, let us heed the call to improve and beautify ourselves, not only outwardly but from our ignorance of and rebellion against God's perfect will for our lives.

There is much work to be done for the Kingdom and we can't accomplish any of it with our outward beauty! Let's ask the Lord to do some revealing and cleansing in our hearts and lives today.

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