I really like the smell of incense. Some people don’t. Most people don’t realize the significance of what it is.
Your sense of smell is filtered by the emotional center in your brain BEFORE it is processed by the neo-cortex telling us what the smell is. The emotional center is also where memory is stored. You will remember and feel a smell before you perceive what the smell is.
In its infancy incense was used as worship in the temple…I think it was also used to help combat the smell that would have been unbearable. I mean have you ever been to a cattle branding…? Multiply that by 1000.
Every single person who went into the temple would never have forgotten that smell…then there would have been the sweet smell of incense mixed in. Every time after that incense would have reminded people of the purpose behind worship and that even in the stench and darkness of the sacrifice a sweet aroma of worship could be found.
The emotion of bearing your faults combined with being forgiven, and loved by someone is so powerful that Christ made it the central point of his journey on earth. It is also the central motivation behind most temple worship in every religion…redemption, salvation and acceptance. God designed incense (check out Exodus 30) to remind us of Him and knew that our brains would attach the emotion of being loved by Him. Amazing.