Thus says the Lord:
“By this you shall know that I am the Lord. Behold. I will strike the waters which are in the river
with the rod that is in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood.
“And the fish that are in the river shall die, the river shall stink, and the Egyptians will loathe to
drink the water of the river.”
Humans experience the sensation we identify as smell because we have about 20 million nerve
fibers embedded in the lining of our upper nasal passage. As air enters the nose, it carries
gaseous molecules over these receptors causing us to identify various odors. Some people have
such a keen sense of smell that they can identify other people and even locations by smell
without any need for other clues.
Unfortunately, when it comes to sin most people aren’t nearly as discriminating. We don’t have
the “nose” to sniff out sin as we ought. Yet sin does stink. As the dead fish from the Nile began
to rot in the hot Egyptian sun, the revolting stench was so strong that the whole river was tainted.
The Egyptians couldn’t bear to even draw water from it for drinking. The stink from the bloody
Nile became an odorous reminder of how sin smells to God.
The prophet Joel also reminds us of this truth when he described the atrocities of an enemy army
by saying, “his stench will come up, and his foul odor will rise, because he has done monstrous
things” (2:20). Sin always produces a nauseating scent to those who can discern it.
Just imagine how reluctantly we would respond to sin if it smelled the same way to us as it does
to God. If you want to please God, ask Him to give you a sensitive sense of smell when it comes
to sin. May it not only appear repulsive, may it also smell repugnant.
YOU’LL NEVER REVEL IN SIN IF IT REPULSES YOU.