By: Mike White
I was about 20 feet up in the air in a climbing stand, hanging on the side of a tree. I was watching a small group of does working their way towards me. Two yearlings were playing like kids. I was enjoying watching them play tag. What I assumed was the mother deer, was relaxed (as deer come anyway) and slowly eating and keeping an eye on her young'uns.
As I continued to watch, momma suddenly froze and it was obvious, her whole demeanor had changed. She lowered her head and sniffed the ground in front of her raised her head back up and tore out leading the rest of the deer in a panic to be somewhere else.
I had been busted, but how? I had walked in with the wind in my face and it was still gently blowing the same direction. There was enough of a breeze she shouldn't have smelled me. I try to hunt smart and don't walk into the woods smelling like gasoline and grease from a convenience store like many weekend warriors. I was still trying to figure out what went wrong when it hit me. Miss Freezer Queen had smelled my trail from the day before. She smelled me from my entry and exit from 24 hours before this hunt. Amazing I thought. This got me to thinking...I knew deer had excellent sense of smell but exactly how dadgum good could they smell? Since I was busted for the morning, I sat in my stand and searched Google for the answer. Here's what I found;
Their long nose helps them. It provides the room for additional sensory cells that receive and interpret smells. Scientist estimate that deer have about 300 million of the special cells to aid in their ability to smell while you and I have a mere 5million. That's significantly more than even a blood hound who only has about 220 million. That's a pretty dang good sniffer right there son.
I am not going to get too delve too deeply into biology(mostly because I can't) but deer and other animals that use smell as a defense, have a larger part of their brain than say humans. This allows them to analyze smells much better and suggest that using cover scents is fairly useless. If you use doe urine to cover your scent to walk into your hunting area, when a deer smells it, they smell both the deer urine and you, not just one or the other. I want to be clear here, trying to cover up your scent is pretty much a waste of time, eliminating your scent is not. The ability to reduce human scent with antibacterial soaps, detergents and sprays, anti-microbial scent killer, and carbon is proven science. The science of the deer’s smell would suggest that reducing human odor is worth the trouble, attempting to cover it up is not.
Whitetails (and others in the deer family) have much broader nasal passages. This allows them to not only pickup a scent, they can tell which direction it's being blown. This allows deer to turn and run away from danger when they pick up a concerning smell rather than panicking and running towards the danger.
All this added up makes deer one the most well protected and wary animals in the forest. If it wasn't for few a few flaws like having to eat and procreate, our success rate for taking a buck would be much lower.
When I am in the outdoors, God is never far from my thoughts. It is so amazingly beautiful being surrounded by nature that is is hard not to think about Him. One of my favorite scriptures', Psalms 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God and the sky above proclaims his handiwork" is often in my head. I am sure the same holds true for all that he created!
On this day, Ii was still thinking about how how amazingly well a deer can smell and and one of those "deep thoughts by Bubba" jumped into my head. I thought, " a deer getting a snout full of human scent, or me getting a nose full of skunk was similar to God and sin. God isn't no more going to let sin into heaven than I am going to let a skunk come into my house. Just follow me down this rabbit hole and I will try to explain.
God hates sin, so in essence, sin has to stink to God. So why would God not want us to stink? God hates sin because it corrupts his people. Sin (our stink) separates us from God and He doesn't like it when we are apart from Him. In Jeremiah, God basically tell Israel - they stink. And then tells them this in verse 25, “Your wrong doings have kept these (blessings) away; your sins have deprived you of good.”
He wants to bless us, to reward us, but he is not going to bless us our lives here or let us into His house when we stink from our sins.
As I sat there and continued my pondering, a story an old man told me years ago popped into my head.
A Haitian minister once told of a certain man who wanted to sell his house. Another man wanted badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn’t afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for1/2 the original price with just one stipulation:
He would retain ownership of one small nail that stuck out from the wall just over the door.
After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So the first owner went out, found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the single nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable, and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail. The Haitian preacher concluded his story with this statement: "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ’s to live there."
This ties right in with the thoughts that were running through my head.
I think he is also saying, while the stench of sin may start small, if you give Satan a foothold he will use it to stink up your whole life.
I also thought of cover scents as I sat. You remember me telling you earlier that cover scents were basically useless because a deer can interpret smells so well, he can smell both the cover scent and the human scent? Well, there is a bunch of people out there trying to use cover scents hoping God doesn't smell their sins. Cover scents don't work any better with God than they do with a deer.
Let me explain, a lot of people try to do good deeds to cover the smell of their sins; they put an extra $5 in the offering plate at church, they donate money and maybe their time to good causes, they use "church" language and talk of God, they are kind to the oppressed, but they still stink.
They are like a young boy after a basketball game on a hot afternoon that doesn't shower. He can spray the whole bottle of AXE on him, but you can still small the stink. Being a nice person, a good person or doing good deeds will never get you into heaven.
As the daylight faded, I thought about scent elimination and all the things we do to eliminate the smell from our bodies and our clothes. It's a lot of work if you do it right. Thankfully, God has made it a little easier to get rid of the smells of sin. There is only one way to get into heaven. That's through Jesus Christ. Jesus makes this clear in John 14:6 where He says "...“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. There's no heavenly ozone machine, no Dead-Down Wind spray, no anti-microbial body wash, only Jesus can get you into heaven.
The only way we can get into God's house is to meet Jesus on HIs terms;
1. You must say and believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God,
2. You must confess and believe that you are a sinner, that you repent of your sins ,
3. You must be ask Him to be the Lord and Master of your life…turning over every aspect of your life.
4. You must be willing to make a commitment to practicing righteousness rather than sin in your life.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savor late in life. It's the best decision I have ever made. No, life isn't always downhill and shady. There are still bumps in life. But understand, God never promised us an uneventful journey, only safe passage.
My prayer, as I wrote this post, was that if you realized that you have a sin, a stench, that is keeping you from God and His blessings, is that you will say a quick prayer that includes the 4 steps above.
If you have done this, you have joined God's Army as a warrior. welcome you to the battlefield my brother!