I. The Jew, for the substance of his meat-offering, WAS DIRECTED TO BRING FINE FLOUR, or cakes or wafers of fine flour, or fine flour baked on a plate, or fine flour fried in oil, or the firstfruits in advance of the harvest beaten out of full ears dried by the fire. Either wheat or barley would answer; but the requirement reached the very best grain, either whole, as in the case of the firstfruits, or in its very finest and best preparations. Thus are we to offer our very best to the Lord — our bodies and souls, our faculties and attainments — and in the highest perfection to which we can bring them. Holiness is not the mere saying of a few prayers, or the paying of a few weekly visits to the sanctuary, or the giving of a few pennies now and then for the Church or the poor. It is the rendering of fresh grain and fine flour to the Lord, our God and Benefactor. It is the presentation of our entire selves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.
II. OIL WAS TO BE POURED UPON, OR MINGLED WITH, THE FLOUR OF THE MEAT-OFFERING. This was not common oil, but the oil of unction, or holy oil. It was a material used in consecrating, or setting apart. It refers to the Holy Spirit, and the operations of that Spirit in setting apart whom He pleases. It typifies that "unction of the Holy One," of which John speaks so largely. No offering of ourselves to God, no true sanctification can occur, without the oil of Divine grace, the principle of holiness and sacred power which is poured upon the believer by the Holy Ghost.
III. There was FRANKINCENSE to be put on it. This circumstance identifies it at once with the burnt-offering, or holocaust. That burnt-offering represented Christ as the Sacrifice for our sins. The frankincense therefore plays the part here of representing the mediation and intercession of the Saviour — the grateful fragrance which comes up before God from the altar of burnt sacrifice. Our consecration to God, even with the gracious operations of the Spirit, could not be acceptable, except through Christ, and the sweet intercessorial perfume which arises from His offering in our behalf.
IV. IT WAS TO BE KEPT CLEAR OF HEAVEN AND HONEY. Leaven indicates corruption. Its principle is a species of putrefaction. It tends to spoil and decay. We must be honest in these sacred things, and in real earnest, and not deal deceitfully with others or with ourselves. But wily keep away honey? Simply because it is a fermenter, a corrupter, and carries in it the principle of putrefaction. And as leaven represents the ugly, offensive, sour elements of depravity, so honey is the emblem of such as are sweet and attractive to the taste — "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." Sensual indulgences and worldly pleasures, as well as hypocrisy and malice, will corrupt and destroy our best oblations.
V. SALT WAS TO BE USED IN IT. What did this mean? Salt is just the opposite of leaven. The one corrupts, the other preserves. The one taints and hastens putrefaction, the other purifies and keeps wholesome. It was the custom in ancient times to ratify and confirm nearly every important bargain or contract by the eating together of the parties. This, of course, required the use of salt as an article invariably present on all such occasions. It thus, or in some other way, came to be regarded as a symbol of agreement and pure abiding friendship. If we are true in presenting ourselves to God, we come into harmony with God. We become His friends, and He our Friend. As we move to Him, He moves to us. As we come to terms with Him, He comes to terms with us. We agree to be His obedient and loving children, and He agrees to be our protecting and loving Father. We give ourselves up to be His people, and He brings Himself down to be our God. But this same salt tells also of a pure, healthful, pervading savour of virtue and grace. It was the principle of savoury purification to the sacrifice; and so the Saviour requires of us to "have salt in ourselves." As every Christian is to be a living sacrifice — an accepted oblation unto God, he must comply with the law of sacrifice, and "be salted with salt"; that is, made savoury and incorruptible by being pervaded with unfaltering principles of righteousness.
VI. ITS EUCHARISTIC NATURE. It was not so much a sacrifice as an oblation of praise. Many are the obligations by which we are bound to present ourselves as living sacrifices unto God. Viewed in whatever light, it is our "reasonable service." But of all the great arguments which bind and move us to this surrender to our Maker, none stand out with a prominence so full and commanding as that drawn from "the mercies of God." We were wrapped up with them in our Creator's thought before our life began. They were present, breathing their blessings with our very substance, when we were fashioned into men. Before our appearance in the world, they had been at work preparing many fond affections for our reception, and arranging many a soft cushion to come between this hard earth and our youthful tenderness. They have tempered the seasons for our good, and filled the horn of plenty to make us blessed. Every day is a handful of sunbeams, kindled and cast down by the mercies of God, to gladden the place of our abode, and to light us to the paths of peace. Every night is a pavilion of the same making, set around us to give us rest, whilst God touches His fingers to our eyelids, saying, "Sleep, My children, sleep."
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
I. MEAT-OFFERING (or meal-offering, R.V.), the chief feature is Jesus honouring the Father in His life, each alike a "sweet savour unto the Lord." The Blessed One must live as man before He could die for men; and here we have the perfect character of the sinless, holy "Man Christ Jesus" (Acts 10:38; John 9:4). See, then, how the holy life and sacrificial death are inseparably connected; how former must culminate in latter. Hence meat-offering is found constantly in conjunction with "burnt" and "peace" offerings (Numbers 15:3, 4, 9, 11, 24; Numbers 28:4, 5, 12, 13, 27, 28; Numbers 29:6; Leviticus 7:12), but never with sin or trespass-offerings, each of which shadows forth some aspect of the death, and both are "sweet savour" offerings. Observe, too, that while life, not death, is the prominent feature in meat-offering, there is a thought of latter in "memorial" burned upon brazen altar (ver. 2, 9, 16), upon and around which blood had been sprinkled, and on which burnt and peace-offerings were consumed. Hebrew word. Mincha, translated meat-offering, signifies gift or "present" could any offer to the holy God that would be acceptable save His own "unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15), Jesus? Component parts of meat-offering were most significant.
1. Fine flour (vers. 1, 4, 5, 7), well sifted, free from every unevenness, coarseness, or speck; or could not have typified Jesus, who was (1 Peter 1:19); every grace alike perfect; perfect evenness of character and temperament; every quality perfectly adjusted and evenly balanced; and this from birth, for He was "the Holy One of God."
2. Oil, both mingled with and poured upon (vers. 4-6). Jesus filled with Spirit from birth (Luke 1:35; Matthew 1:20). Spirit filled the human body that veiled Divinity, imbuing the whole nature with His graces; yet was Jesus "anointed" for service on earth (Acts 10:38; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18) at His baptism, when Spirit descended and abode upon Him (Luke 3:22; John 1:33, 34). Given not "by measure," but in sevenfold power (John 3:34; Isaiah 11:2).
3. Frankincense further illustrates this. It was white and fragrant. White betokens purity, innocence; striking characteristics of the Blessed One (John 8:46; 1 Peter 2:22, 23). His judge could find "no cause of death in Him," and the centurion "glorified God," and pronounced the Crucified One a "righteous man" (Acts 13:28; Luke 23:1. 4, 47). Fragrance was what Jesus truly ever shed around, as He spake the words (Song of Solomon 5:13) and did the works of Him that sent Him (Luke 4:40-44: John 17:8; John 8:28; John 12:49, 50; John 14:10). The name of Jesus "is as ointment poured forth" (Song of Solomon 1:3), and when He dwells within, the heart is filled with sweet fragrance — as was the house at Bethany (John 12:3) — and He is to that soul, as to the Father, "a savour of rest" (Genesis 8:21, mar.); and truly the Father could "rest" in the love and devotion of His beloved Son.
II. "MEMORIAL," BURNED UPON THE ALTAR, shows this still more. Fire brings forth more fully the sweetness, and tells of the Father's delight in Jesus, and acceptance of that holy, consecrated life of devotion to His service, laid on His altar. Observe, too, that all the frankincense was to be burnt (ver. 2, 16, 6:15), telling of the special fragrance, intended only for the Father, in whose service He was consumed by zeal (John 2:17), and whom He "glorified on the earth" (John 17:4; John 13:31). The burning, as before said, seems likewise to point to death, in which the holy life culminated; but no question of judgment because no question of sin, as shown by word used for burning. Still, though judgment is not portrayed in meat-offering, yet is Jesus there seen as "a Man of sorrows..." (Isaiah 53:3), and such expressions as "Baken in the oven," "in the frying-pan," "the firstfruits, green ears of corn dried by the fire," "corn beaten out" (vers. 4, 7, 14), surely tell of the grief and sufferings of the Holy One. But the more He was tried, the sweeter the fragrance that ascended, as in all things He showed Himself submissive to His Father's will. Observe further —
III. "THE SALT OF THE COVENANT" must not be lacking from the meat-offering (ver. 13). Salt typified both the incorruption and incorruptibility of our Blessed Lord (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27). Salt thus betokens perpetuity. Hence the "covenant of salt" (Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:5) tells of the enduring character of Jehovah's "everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure" (2 Samuel 23. 5-7; Isaiah 55:3). Assured in Jesus — given "for a covenant..." (Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:8), and Himself "the Amen" of God's covenant promises (Luke 1:72; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Revelation 3:14). Again, see "speech,... with grace seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6), exemplified in Him of whom it is written, "Grace is poured..." (Psalm 45:2). Truly gracious words proceeded out of His mouth (Luke 4:22), but ever seasoned with salt, its pungency, its enduring and incorrupting influence. See how He gave right answers to each, so that no man could "entangle Him..." (Matthew 2:15-46). The like is enjoined to His people (Colossians 3:16; Mark 9:50), whom He calls "the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13; see Proverbs 12:18); and while He would have them follow His example in this, as in all else, He Himself — the Unchangeable — preserves them from corrupting influences; He would have them pure (1 Peter 1:14-16), "filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18), testifying of Jesus, and thus made "unto God a sweet savour of Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:15).
IV. Two THINGS FORBIDDEN in meat-offering.
1. Leaven. Used in Scripture as type of evil, of false doctrine (Matthew 16:6, 12; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8); hence strictly forbidden in every Levitical type of our Lord. It also indicates sourness of temper and puffing up, not uncommon in man; but impossible in the perfect, spotless "Man Christ Jesus," "the second Man, the Lord from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:47).
2. Honey. Sweet to taste, but producing sourness afterwards, as sometimes is the case with the words and ways of man; and likewise with Satan's tempting baits, by which he seeks to lure men to their destruction; but as impossible as the characteristics of leaven in the God-man of whom the meat-offering is type. Lastly, an important question arises: Who are —
V. PARTAKERS OF THE MEAT-OFFERING? Aaron and sons (vers 3, 10, 6:16-18). They represent the Church; and the "Church of God" is to feast on Jesus, "the Bread of Life"; to feed on His words (John 6:35, 47-54, 63; Jeremiah 15:16); to meditate on details of holy life of Him who was the Father's delight. The "remnant" of the acceptable "memorial" burnt upon the altar of the Lord was given to the priests; that is, all that is not specially appropriated to the Father, who joys in the Son, is bestowed for the-sustenance of His people. Further mark, the priests were to feed on the meat-offering "in the holy place"(Leviticus 6:16), consecrated to the service of God. How can any feed on Jesus in places devoted to the world?
(Lady Beaujolois Dent).
I. THE MATERIALS.
1. Bread, corn, wheat, or barley (1 Chronicles 21:23; Ezekiel 45:13, 15).(1) Fine flour, purged from the bran. The pure estate of Christ, and of all Christians, with their services in Him, being purged, as it were, from the bran of natural corruption.(2) Firstfruits (see 1 Corinthians 15:20).(3) Ground, sifted, baked, fried, beaten, &c. (see Isaiah 53:5; Colossians 1:24). Ignatius, when about to suffer martyrdom by being devoured of wild beasts, speaks of his body as the Lord's corn, which must be ground by their teeth, to be prepared for Him.
2. Oil. This signified in general the Spirit of God in His graces and comforts (Isaiah 61:1), which Spirit Jesus Christ did receive above measure, and from Him all believers do partake of His anointing. There is, and must be, this sacred oil in all our offerings, the influence of the Spirit of God.
3. Frankincense. Signifying the acceptableness unto God of the persons and services of His people, through the mediation and intercession of Jesus Christ.
4. Salt. The perpetuity of the covenant of grace, and the wholesome and savoury carriage and walking of God's people.
II. THE ACTIONS TO BE PERFORMED ABOUT IT.
1. It must be brought to the priest. Imports a voluntary act of the offerer, and a making use of Christ for acceptance in all our services and approaches unto God.
III. THE MEANING.
1. It prefigured and shadowed forth the atonement or expiation of sin by the righteousness of Jesus Christ — both by His sufferings and actings, His active and passive obedience.
3. It signified those fruits of grace and good works that believers perform, whether towards God or towards man.
(1) (2) (3) (4) IV. THE ADDITIONS FORBIDDEN. 1. Leaven argues corruption. (1) (2) (3) (4) 2. Honey cloys and loads the stomach, and turns to choler and bitterness.(1) God will be worshipped according to His own institution and command. His will is the rule, though we cannot well see the reason of it. We must not follow any invention of our own, though to our carnal thoughts it seem as sweet as honey, though it seem never so decent, never so orderly.(2) Learn that holy temper and equability of spirit, which becometh saints in all the conditions and vicissitudes they pass through. We must take heed of extremes. There must be neither leaven nor honey; neither too much sour nor too much sweet; neither inordinate sorrow nor inordinate pleasures in the meat-offering of the saints.(3) Some apply it to Christ Himself: that there is in Him, our Meat-offering, no such sweetness which turns to loathing, no such pleasure whereof a man can take too much, no such delight as proves bitter in the latter end. V. THE APPURTENANCE OF DRINK-OFFERINGS. 1. Wine, in typical and allegorical Scriptures, sometimes signifies the joys and consolations of the Holy Ghost. 2. We find the saints pouring out their blood in the cause of Christ, compared to a drink-offering (Philippians 2:27; 2 Timothy 4:6). And so, in a much higher sense, the blood of Christ is represented by wine in the Holy Communion. 3. It shadowed forth the Lord's acceptance of His people. (S. Mather.)
(2) (3) (4) IV. THE ADDITIONS FORBIDDEN. 1. Leaven argues corruption. (1) (2) (3) (4) 2. Honey cloys and loads the stomach, and turns to choler and bitterness.(1) God will be worshipped according to His own institution and command. His will is the rule, though we cannot well see the reason of it. We must not follow any invention of our own, though to our carnal thoughts it seem as sweet as honey, though it seem never so decent, never so orderly.(2) Learn that holy temper and equability of spirit, which becometh saints in all the conditions and vicissitudes they pass through. We must take heed of extremes. There must be neither leaven nor honey; neither too much sour nor too much sweet; neither inordinate sorrow nor inordinate pleasures in the meat-offering of the saints.(3) Some apply it to Christ Himself: that there is in Him, our Meat-offering, no such sweetness which turns to loathing, no such pleasure whereof a man can take too much, no such delight as proves bitter in the latter end. V. THE APPURTENANCE OF DRINK-OFFERINGS. 1. Wine, in typical and allegorical Scriptures, sometimes signifies the joys and consolations of the Holy Ghost. 2. We find the saints pouring out their blood in the cause of Christ, compared to a drink-offering (Philippians 2:27; 2 Timothy 4:6). And so, in a much higher sense, the blood of Christ is represented by wine in the Holy Communion. 3. It shadowed forth the Lord's acceptance of His people. (S. Mather.)
(3) (4) IV. THE ADDITIONS FORBIDDEN. 1. Leaven argues corruption. (1) (2) (3) (4) 2. Honey cloys and loads the stomach, and turns to choler and bitterness.(1) God will be worshipped according to His own institution and command. His will is the rule, though we cannot well see the reason of it. We must not follow any invention of our own, though to our carnal thoughts it seem as sweet as honey, though it seem never so decent, never so orderly.(2) Learn that holy temper and equability of spirit, which becometh saints in all the conditions and vicissitudes they pass through. We must take heed of extremes. There must be neither leaven nor honey; neither too much sour nor too much sweet; neither inordinate sorrow nor inordinate pleasures in the meat-offering of the saints.(3) Some apply it to Christ Himself: that there is in Him, our Meat-offering, no such sweetness which turns to loathing, no such pleasure whereof a man can take too much, no such delight as proves bitter in the latter end. V. THE APPURTENANCE OF DRINK-OFFERINGS. 1. Wine, in typical and allegorical Scriptures, sometimes signifies the joys and consolations of the Holy Ghost. 2. We find the saints pouring out their blood in the cause of Christ, compared to a drink-offering (Philippians 2:27; 2 Timothy 4:6). And so, in a much higher sense, the blood of Christ is represented by wine in the Holy Communion. 3. It shadowed forth the Lord's acceptance of His people. (S. Mather.)
IV. THE ADDITIONS FORBIDDEN. 1. Leaven argues corruption. V. THE APPURTENANCE OF DRINK-OFFERINGS. 3. It shadowed forth the Lord's acceptance of His people. (S. Mather.)
IV. THE ADDITIONS FORBIDDEN.
1. Leaven argues corruption.
V. THE APPURTENANCE OF DRINK-OFFERINGS.
3. It shadowed forth the Lord's acceptance of His people.
I. EVERY ELEMENT OF WORTH AND ATTRACTIVENESS SHOULD CONCENTRATE IN OUR WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF GOD. "Fine flour" — "oil" — "frankincense." By all these combined ingredients a total result would be produced which constituted the offering one "of a sweet savour unto the Lord."
1. Solitary graces are not despised by Him we worship.
2. Yet worship should he the outflow of all noble affections and aspirations of the soul.
3. Preparation for such a blending of graces in worship is our evident duty.
II. ADORABLE PRESENTATIONS TO GOD SECURE HIS GRACIOUS APPRECIATION AND LAVISH PRAISE. "Sweet savour." "A thing most holy."
1. No poverty of approval ever repels a fervent worshipper.
2. Offering such excellency of homage, we shall assuredly realise that God is well pleased.
III. EXCELLENCIES IN TYPICAL OFFERINGS FORESHADOWED THE BEAUTIES and worthiness of Jesus.
1. The quality of the flour bespeaks the intrinsic excellence of Christ.
2. The pouring oil thereon denotes the anointing of the Spirit.
3. The added frankincense tells of the delightfulness of Christ.
(W. H. Jellie.)
I. CONSIDER THE PRINCIPAL INGREDIENT OF IT. There were two things of which it consisted, one of which was fine flour. This fine flour was of wheat, as is clear from various accounts we have of this offering.
1. This may denote the excellency of Christ: the superior excellency of Him to all others, not only as a Divine person, but as God-man and Mediator; He is preferable to angels and to men.
2. But this meat-offering, being of fine flour, of wheat the choicest of grain, may also denote the purity of Christ: fine flour of wheat being the purest and cleanest of all others. As He is a Divine person, He is a rock and His work is perfect: a God of truth, and without iniquity, just and true is He. As man, His human nature was entirely free from all contagion and corruption of sin: from original taint, as the fine flour of which this meat-offering was, free from all bran, so He was free from the bran of original corruption. Pure and free was He from any iniquity in life: He did none, neither was guile found in His mouth.
3. Moreover, as fine flour of wheat is the principal part of human sustenance, and what strengthens the heart of man, and nourishes him, and is the means of maintaining and supporting life, it may fitly shadow and figure out our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the bread of God, which came down from heaven. The bread of God's preparing, the bread of God's giving, and the bread which God blesses for the nourishment of His people. Thus this meat-offering, as to the substance of it, being of fine flour of wheat, is a very special and particular representation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
4. It may also, with great propriety be applied unto His people, who are represented in Scripture frequently as wheat. These may be signified hereby, because of their peculiar choiceness; being the excellent in the earth, in whom is the delight of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as of His Divine Father, whom He has chosen from all others, to be His peculiar people. And they being compared to wheat, may denote also their purity. Not as considered in themselves, but in Christ.
II. CONSIDER THE THINGS WHICH WERE TO BE MADE USE OF ALONG WITH THIS MEAT-OFFERING; AND THE THINGS WHICH WERE FORBIDDEN TO BE USED IN IT. There were some things to be made use of in it, such as oil, frankincense, and salt. Oil was to be poured upon it, frankincense put thereon, and every oblation was to be seasoned with salt. The oil that was poured upon the meat-offering, or to be mingled with it, may denote, either the grace of God in Christ, or the grace of God communicated to, and bestowed upon His people. Frankincense put upon the meat-offering, may denote either the acceptableness of the Lord Jesus Christ to God and His people, or the acceptableness of His people unto God and to Christ. Salt was another thing that was used in it, which makes food savoury, and preserves from putrefaction, and may denote the savouriness of the Lord Jesus Christ to believers. "Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt?" says Job (Job 6:6). Now Christ, as a meat-offering, is to His people savoury food, such as their souls love: .pleasing, delightful, comfortable, refreshing, nourishing, and strengthening. Salt is an emblem of perpetuity. Now this may denote the perpetuity of Christ's sacrifice, which always remains; and the perpetuity of Him, as the meat-offering. For He is that meat which endures to everlasting life; and Him has God the Father sealed. And this, as it respects the people of God, may be an emblem of the savour of their life and conversation. There were two things which the Jews were forbidden to use in the meat-offering; the one was leaven, and the other was honey. There was to be no leaven in it. This, as it may respect our Lord Jesus Christ, the Antitype of the meat-offering, may denote His freedom from hypocrisy, and all false doctrines, which were the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees. He is truth itself — the Way, the Truth, and the Life: and the doctrines preached by Him were grace and truth. To apply this to the people of God, as no meat-offering was to be made with leaven, it may denote that they should take heed of communing with profane and scandalous persons. And it may denote that they should be clear of malice and wickedness; they ought to lay aside, as new-born babes, all superfluity and naughtiness. Another thing forbidden in the meat-offering is honey. The reason of this is because it was made use of among the heathens in their offerings, and the people of God were not to walk in their ordinances, but in the ordinances appointed of the Lord. Besides, honey, like leaven, is of a fermenting nature,, and which, when burned, gives an ill smell; and no ill smell was to be in the offering. It was to be, as our text says, "of a sweet savour unto the Lord"; which it could not have been if the honey had been in it. Besides, it is of a cloying nature, it causes a loathing when persons eat too freely of it. Now there, is nothing of this to be found in the antitypical Meat-offering, our Lord Jesus Christ. No, the true believer that feeds by faith upon Him, the language of his soul is, "Lord, evermore give us this bread"; let me always feed upon this provision. Moreover, honey may be considered as an emblem of sin, and sinful pleasures; which are as a sweet morsel rolled under the tongue of a wicked man, though it proves the poison of asps within him at last: and so denotes unto us, that such who would feed by faith on Christ ought to relinquish sinful lusts and pleasures. As well it may also further denote that the people of God must not expect their sweets without their bitters. They that will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution of one kind or another. So the passover was to be eaten with bitter herbs as the representation of the same thing.
III. AS TO THE COMPOSITION THEREOF, AND THE DIFFERENT MANNER OF DRESSING THIS MEAT-OFFERING. It was to be made of fine flour, made of wheat, beaten out of the husk, and ground; it was to be mingled with oil, kneaded, baked in an oven, fried in pans; or parched by the fire. Now all this may be an emblem of the dolorous sorrows and sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. And as it may be applied to the people of God, it may denote not only their separation from others, but the trials and exercises they meet with, which are sometimes called fiery trials.
IV. THE USE THAT WAS MADE OF THIS OFFERING. Part of it was burnt as a memorial unto the Lord, either to put the Lord in mind of His loving-kindness to His people, and of His covenant with them, and promises unto them, to which the allusion is (Psalm 20:3), or to put the offerer in mind of the great sacrifice of Christ, who was to be offered for his sins, and to be a meat-offering to him. And the other part of it was to be eaten by the priests, which shows the care taken by the Lord for the maintenance of the priests, and from whence the apostle argues for the support of the ministers of. the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:13, 14). And this may denote that such who are made priests unto God by Christ have a right to feed upon Christ, the meat-offering by faith; who is the altar and meat-offering, which none but such have a right to eat of.
V. THE ACCEPTABLENESS OF IT. It is said to be "of a sweet savour unto the Lord," as Christ's sacrifice is said to be (Ephesians 5:2). And so His people also, their persons are an offering of a sweet-smelling savour to God, in Christ; being accepted in Him the Beloved. and as are their sacrifices both of prayer and praise.
(John Gill, D. D.)
John 4:34). But while in its fullest sense the bread-offering may be understood as symbolising the entire new life which is the result of our dedicating of ourselves to God, its most obvious application is to the dedication of our substance to Him, to whom we have dedicated ourselves. The oil to be poured upon the offering has here its invariable significance of heavenly grace, and the frankincense the devotional spirit in which the offering should be presented. The salt is spoken of as "the salt of the covenant of thy God" (ver. 13); and the caution never to allow it to be lacking seems to guard against the danger of supposing that our gifts to the Lord can find acceptance in any other way than through the provisions of the covenant which He has made with us by sacrifice (Psalm 50:5). The things prohibited are equally suggestive with the things enjoined. They are leaven and honey: leaven, the symbol of corruption, and honey, of a sweetness which was in the Hebrew mind especially associated with fermentation. The disposal of the offering was also significant. Part of it was to be burnt upon the altar "as a memorial" (vers. 2, 6): the rest was set apart for use by the priests (ver. 3). Inasmuch as the priests in these transactions represented the people, while the altar represented God, the idea of fellowship or sharing is here conveyed, as if to suggest the thought that while all our energies and all our substance should be consecrated to God in the first place, the sum is nevertheless in the issue divided between the more sacred and the more personal uses. In the matter of property, for instance, the true idea is not to give a portion to the Lord and to keep the rest for ourselves, but to give all to God; and then, with His approval, to expend so much on personal use, and set aside so much for consumption on the altar. But while The offering is to be thus divided, the frankincense is to be all burnt upon the altar (ver. 2). The devotional element is for God alone. You have heard, perhaps, of the newspaper writer who, referring to the devotional part of the service in one of the churches in Boston, spoke of his having had the privilege of listening to "the most eloquent prayer that was ever addressed to a Boston audience." We are too apt to forget that our prayers are not for Boston audiences or London audiences, but for the audience of Heaven, for the ear of God. The frankincense was all to be burnt upon the altar.
(J. M. Gibson, D. D.)
(1) (2) (C. S. Taylor, M. A.)
(2) (C. S. Taylor, M. A.)
(C. S. Taylor, M. A.)
I. IN ITS CONTRAST TO THE OTHER OFFERINGS. Five points here at once present themselves, which bring out what is distinctive in this offering. The apprehension of these will enable us to see the particular relation which Jesus filled for man as Meat-offering.
1. The first point is that the meat-offering was "a sweet savour." In this particular it stands in contrast to the sin-offering, but in exact accordance with the burnt-offering.
2. The second point in which the meat-offering differed from the others is seen in the materials of which it was composed. These were "flour, oil, and frankincense"; there is no giving up of life here. It is in this particular, especially, that the meat-offering differs from the burnt-offering. Life is that which from the beginning God claimed as His part in creation: as an emblem, therefore, it represents what the creature owes to God. Corn, the fruit of the earth, on the other hand, is man's part in creation; as such, it stands the emblem of man's claim, or of what we owe to man. What we owe to God or to man is respectively our duty to either. Thus in the burnt-offering the surrender of life to God represents the fulfilment of man's duty to God; man yielding to God His portion to satisfy all His claim. In the meat-offering the gift of corn and oil represents the fulfilment of man's duty to his neighbour: man in his offering surrendering himself to God, but doing so that he may give to man his portion. Thus the burnt-offering is the perfect fulfilment of the laws of the first table; the meat-offering the perfect fulfilment of the second. Of course, in both cases the offering is but one — that offering is "the body" of Jesus; but that body is seen offered in different aspects: here in the meat-offering as fulfilling man's duty to man. The one case is man satisfying God, giving Him His portion, and receiving testimony that it is acceptable. The other is man satisfying his neighbour, giving man his portion as an offering to the Lord.
3. The meat-offering was "not wholly burnt." In this it differed from the burnt-offering. Christ as performing man's duty to God — that is, the burnt-offering — was wholly the food of God, wholly put upon His altar, wholly consumed by Him. But Christ as performing His duty to man — that is, the meat-offering — is also man's meat, the food of the priests: "The remnant of the meat-offering shall be Aaron's and h s sons'; it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire." Yet even here He satisfies God. "A handful, the memorial of the offering," is put upon the altar to teach us, that even in fulfilling man's duty to his neighbour, Christ fulfilled it as "an offering unto the Lord." But though God had thus a portion in the meat-offering, it is nevertheless specially the food of man; primarily to be viewed as offered for us to God, but also as given to us, as priests, to feed on. For us, as meat-offering, Jesus fulfilled what was due to man. He did this as our representative, as the substitute of those who trust Him — in this aspect of the offering our souls find peace; here is our acceptance — but this, though securing peace, is but a part of our blessed portion. If Jesus did all this for us, will He not do it to us? As righteous in Him, we still have wants, we need daily food and anointing; and for these as much as for righteousness, we are debtors to His abounding grace. The law is that the priests should be fed at the altar; they may not work for their bread as others. The faithful Israelite is the appointed channel of their subsistence; on his faithfulness, under God, do they depend for their food. Jesus, as the faithful Israelite, will not fail the priests who wait at the altar. Let His priests ("ye are a royal priesthood") be but found where they should be, and His offering will be there to feed them. "He will abundantly bless the provision, He will satisfy His poor with bread."
4. The fourth point I notice in the meat-offering is, that, though intended for, and for the most part consumed by, man, it was, nevertheless, "offered unto the Lord." In the meat-offering the offerer gives himself as man's meat; yet this is yielded as "an offering unto Jehovah." The offering indeed fed the priests; but it was offered, not to them, but to the Lord. The first Adam took for man not only what was given him, but what God had reserved for Himself. The second Adam gave to God not only God's portion, but even of man's part God had the first memorial. Jesus, as man, in satisfying man's claim on Him, did it as "an offering unto the Lord." With us how much even of our graces is offered to man rather than to God. Even in our most devoted service, what a seeking there is, perhaps unconsciously, to be something in the estimation of others: some secret desire, some undetected wish, even by our very service to be greater here. The very gifts of God and the power of His Spirit are sought the better to give us a place in this world. Surely this is one of the reasons why God can trust us with so little, for with His gifts we build up our own name, instead of His name. But how unlike all this to our Master.
5. In the last place, the contrast between the meat-offering and "the offering of firstfruits at Pentecost." The distinction is stated in the twelfth verse — "As for the oblation of the firstfruits, ye shall offer them unto the Lord, but they shall not be burnt on the altar for a sweet savour." The contrast is this — the meat-offering was a sweet savour: the oblation of firstfruits, though very like the meat-offering, was not so. For the key to this we must turn to chap. Leviticus 23., where the law respecting "the oblation of firstfruits" is given to us. In that chapter we have a list of the feasts. First in order comes the Passover, on the fourteenth day at even; then the wave-sheaf of firstfruits, on the morrow after the Sabbath; and then, fifty days after, the oblation of the firstfruits on the day of Pentecost. The "sheaf of firstfruits," on the morrow after the Sabbath, might be burnt to the Lord as a sweet savour; but "the oblation of the firstfruits" at Pent cost might not be burnt on the altar. The reason for this distinction is found in the fact that "the sheaf of firstfruits" was unleavened, while "the oblation of firstfruits" at Pentecost was mixed and made with leaven. The typical application of all this is too obvious to need any comment. Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us, and sacrificed on the predetermined day. Then "on the morrow after the Sabbath," the next ensuing Sabbath, that is, on the appointed "first day of the week," Christ "rose from the dead, and became the firstfruits of them that slept." In Him there was no sin, no leaven; He was in Himself a sweet savour to Jehovah. With this offering, therefore, no sin-offering was coupled; it was offered only with a burnt-offering and meat-offering. But fifty days after this, "when the day of Pentecost was fully come," the Church, typified by the leavened oblation of firstfruits, is offered unto the Lord: for we, as well as Jesus, are firstfruits; "we are," says James, "a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." But this offering, having sin in it, being "mixed with leaven," could neither stand the test of the fire of the altar, nor be an offering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the Lord. Yet it was to be both offered and accepted — "Ye shall offer it, but it shall not be burnt." And why, and how, was this leavened cake accepted? Something was offered "with it," for the sake of which the leavened firstfruits were accepted. They offered with the leavened bread a burnt-offering, a meat-offering, a peace-offering, and a sin-offering; for leaven being found in the oblation of firstfruits, a sin-offering was needed with it. And the priest waved all together: "the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave-offering before the Lord." The Church comes with Christ before God; it is offered with all the value of His work attached to it.
II. IN ITS DIFFERENT GRADES OR VARIETIES. These are three in number, and represent the different measures of apprehension with which a saint may see Jesus in any of His relations.
1. The first contrast is, that while in the first grade each article of the materials is enumerated, the second describes the offering more generally as "unleavened wafers anointed." The import of this distinction is at once and easily discoverable. How many saints are there, who, in thinking or speaking about Jesus, can fully assert that He is "unleavened," who know anti believe He is sinless, while yet they cannot see all His perfectness. But absence of evil, the being without leaven, is a lower thought than the possession of perfect goodness. We can say, "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth," long before we can tell what was in Him, and the way in which He spent it all for others.
2. A second point of contrast between the different grades of the meat-offering is too remarkable to be omitted. In the first class it is observed that the offerer himself takes the memorial for God out of the offering; in the second, the priest is said to take it; while in the last class — "in the dried ears" — no mention is made who takes it. The difference is obvious and instructive. The one view shows Christ in His person as offerer, the other in His appointed office as the priest. The first, Christ as offerer personally giving to God, is a higher view than Christ offering as priest officially. The latter view loses, at least, one precious object in the precious offering of Jesus; the office is indeed seen, but the person of the Lord quite lost sight of.
3. But there is a third contrast, and one which may be more generally apprehended, between the first class of the meat-offering and the others. In the first class Christ's offering is seen as flour: He is "the fine flour" bruised. In the other classes this particular is almost merged: He is rather bread, either "loaves" or "wafers." The distinction here is very manifest. We may see Jesus as our "bread," or even as God's bread, without entering into the thoughts which are suggested by the emblems of "fine flour" and "frankincense." The perfect absence of all unevenness, and the deep bruisings which He endured that He might satisfy us; the precious savour also of the offering, only more fragrant when tried by fire; these are not our first views of Jesus; for as they are the most perfect apprehensions, so are they generally the last.
4. The difference between the first class of the meat-offering and the third is even more striking and manifest; this latter offering giving us a thought of Christ as "firstfruits," the first sheaf of the ripening harvest, rather than the bread already prepared for food, or the fine flour as seen in the first grade.
Leviticus 5:11); in most cases far more (see Numbers 7:13). It was taken from the best of their fields, and cleansed from the bran by passing through the sieve. The rich seem to have offered it in the shape of pure fine flour, white as snow, heaping it up probably, as in Numbers 7:13, on a silver charger, or in a silver bowl, in princely manner. It thus formed a type, beautiful and pleasant to the eye, of the man's self and substance dedicated to God, when now made pure by the blood of sacrifice that had removed his sin. For if forgiven, then a blessing rested upon his basket and his store, on the fruit of his body, and the fruit of his ground, the fruit of his cattle, and the increase of his kine (see Deuteronomy 28:3-6). Even as Jesus, when raised from the tomb, was henceforth no more under the curse of sin; but was blessed in body, for His body was no longer weary or feeble; and blessed in company, for no longer was He numbered among transgressors; and blessed in all His inheritance, for "all power was given Him in heaven and in earth." The oil poured on the fine flour denoted setting apart. It was oil that was used by Jacob at Bethel in setting apart his stone pillow to commemorate his vision; and every priest and king was thus set apart for his office. Oil, used on these occasions, is elsewhere appropriated to mean the Spirit's operation — the Spirit setting apart whom He pleases for any office. The frankincense, fragrant in its smell, denoted the acceptableness of the offering. As a flower or plant — the rose of Sharon or the balm of Gilead — would induce any passing traveller to stoop down over them, and regale himself with their fragrance, so the testimony borne by Christ's work to the character of Godhead brings the Father to bend over any to whom it is imparted, and to rest over him in His love. The Lord Jesus says to His Church, in Song of Solomon 4:6, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense." This spot must be the Father's right hand. In like manner, then, it ought to be the holy purpose of believing souls who are looking for Christ, to dwell so entirely amid the Redeemer's merits, that, like the maidens of King Ahasuerus (Esther 2:12), they shall be fragrant with the sweet odours, and with these alone, when the bridegroom comes. When Christ presented His human person and all He had, He was, indeed, fragrant to the Father, and the oil of the Spirit was on Him above His fellows (see Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 9:14). And equally complete in Him is every believer also. Like Jesus, each believer is God's wheat — His fine flour.
(A. A. Bonar.)
oil, was ever, and without measure, upon Him. Every incident in His precious life was redolent with the fragrant frankincense; whilst the healthful savour of the salt impregnated everything He did and said. No corrupting leaven! no mere superficial honey-like sweetness (which in us is often called, or mis-called, "our good nature") characterised the conduct and conversation of the "Anointed Man." View Him under what circumstances you will, whether in the society of those by whom He was loved, or surrounded with men who went about to kill Him, He is ever the pure, perpetual Meat-offering. True, while we are in the flesh, neither our conduct nor our gifts can fully answer to the pure, unleavened Meat-offering. God has, however, provided a perfect offering in Jesus to supply our lack, to ascend as a sweet-smelling savour for us. Yet, as we are exhorted to be like Jesus in being "whole burnt-offerings," presenting "our bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable unto God," so must we seek to imitate Him in the purity and perfectness of His walk as our Meat-offering.
(F. H. White.)
1. Its main material is flour. Earth yields the grain; repeated blows thresh it from the husks; the grinding mill reduces it to powder. This thought glides easily to Christ. He stoops to be poor offspring of poor earth. And then what batterings assail Him!
2. The quality of the flour is distinctly marked. It must be fine. All coarseness must be sifted out. No impure speck may stain it. See the lovely beauties of the Lord. His charms bring comfort to the anxious soul.
3. Oil is added (ver. 3). Emblem of the Spirit's grace.
4. Frankincense is sprinkled on the mass. And is not Christ the incense of delight, in heaven, in earth? The precious merits of His work regal each attribute of God. He brings full honour to their every claim. He, too, is perfume to His people's hearts. Say, ye who know Christ Jesus, is not His name "as ointment poured forth"?
5. No leaven and no honey may be brought. The first is quick to change and taint the meal. It rapidly pervades. It casts a savour into every part. Hence it is evil's emblem. For sin admitted will run wildly through the heart. Its course pollutes. The latter is must luscious to the palate. But is it harmless? Nay, it soon proves a sickening and fermenting pest. Its sweetness tempts. But bitterness ensues. Here is a symbol of sin's flattering bait.
6. But salt must be infused. Its properties repel corruption and defy decay. Where it is sprinkled freshness lives. At its approach time drops its spoiling hand. Again behold the Lord. His essence and His work are purity's bright blaze.
7. The use of the meat-offering. A part is cast upon the altar's hearth. The fire enwraps it in devouring folds. It is the prey of the consuming blaze. The burning meal exhibits Jesus in the furnace of keen anguish. What awe, what peace live in this wondrous sight! The meat-offering had further use. The remnant "shall be Aaron's and his sons': it is a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire." Here is another view of Christ. It shows most tender and providing love. The gospel truth is bread of life to hungry souls. They, who serve Christ, sit down at a rich board. A feast is spread to nourish and regale. Christ gives Himself — heaven's richest produce — as substantial food.
(J. H. Kurtz, D. D.)
1 Corinthians 10:31). And the offering was not to consist of any food which one might choose to bring, but of corn and oil, variously prepared. That was chosen for the offering which all, the richest and the poorest alike, would be sure to have; with the evident intent that no one might be able to plead poverty as an excuse for bringing no meal-offering to the Lord. From the statesman who administers the affairs of an empire to the day-labourer in the shop, or mill, or field, all alike are hereby reminded that the Lord requires that the work of every one shall be brought and offered to Him in holy consecration. And there was a further prescription, although not mentioned here in so many words. In some offerings barley-meal was ordered, but for this offering the grain presented, whether parched, in the ear, or ground into meal, must be only wheat. The reason for this, and the lesson it teaches, are plain. For wheat in Israel, as still in most lands, was the best and most valued of the grains. Israel must not only offer unto God of the fruit of their labour, but the best result of their laborers. Not only so, but when the offering was in the form of meal, cooked or uncooked, the best and finest must be presented. That, in other words, must be offered which represented the most of care and labour in its preparation, or the equivalent of this in purchase price But, in the selection of the materials, we are pointed toward a deeper symbolism, by the injunction that, in certain cases at least, frankincense should be added to the offering. But this was not of man's food, neither was it, like the meal and cakes and oil, a product of man's labour. Its effect, naturally, was to give a grateful perfume to the sacrifice, that it might be, even in a physical sense, "an odour of a sweet smell" The symbolical meaning of incense, in which the frankincense was a chief ingredient, is very clearly intimated in Scripture (see Psalm 141:2; Luke 1:10; Revelation 5:8). The frankincense signified that this offering of the fruit of our labours to the Lord must ever be accompanied by prayer; and further, that our prayers, thus offered in this daily consecration, are most pleasing to the Lord, even as the fragrance of sweet incense unto man. But if the frankincense, in itself, had thus a symbolical meaning, it is not unnatural to infer the same also with regard to other elements of the sacrifice. Nor is it, in view of the nature of the symbols, hard to discover what that should be. For inasmuch as that product of labour is selected for the offering, which is the food by which men live, we are reminded that this is to be the final aspect under which all the fruit of our labours is to be regarded; namely, as furnishing and supplying for the need of the many that which shall be bread to the soul. In the highest sense, indeed, this can only be said of Him who by His work became the Bread of Life for the world, who was at once "the Sower" and "the Corn of Wheat" cast into the ground; and yet, in a lower sense, it is true that the work of feeding the multitudes with the bread of life is the work for us all; and that in all our labours and engagements we are to keep this in mind as our supreme earthly object. And the oil, too, which entered into every form of the meal-offering, has in Scripture a constant and invariable symbolical meaning. It is the uniform symbol of the Holy Spirit of God. Hence, the injunction that the meal of the offering be kneaded with oil, and that, of whatever form the offering be, oil should be poured upon it, is intended to teach us that in all work which shall be offered so as to be acceptable to God, must enter, as an inworking and abiding agent, the life-giving Spirit of God. It is another direction, that into these offerings should never enter leaven. In this prohibition is brought before us the lesson that we take heed to keep out of those works which we present to God for consumption on His altar the leaven of wickedness in every form. In ver. 13 we have a last requisition as to the material of the meal-offering: "season with salt." As leaven is a principle of impermanence and decay, so salt, on the contrary, has the power of conservation from corruption. Accordingly, to this day, among the most diverse peoples, salt is the recognised symbol of incorruption and unchanging perpetuity. Among the Arabs, when a compact or covenant is made between different parties, it is the custom that each eat of salt, which is passed around on the blade of a sword; by which act they regard themselves as bound to be true, each to the other, even at the peril of life. In like manner, in India and other Eastern countries, the usual word for perfidy and breach of faith is, literally, "unfaithfulness to the salt"; and a man will say, "Can you distrust me? Have I not eaten of your salt?" Herein we are taught, then, that by the consecration of our labours to God we recognise the relation between the believer and his Lord, as not occasional and temporary, but eternal and incorruptible. In all our consecration of our works to God, we are to keep this thought in mind: "I am a man with whom God has entered into an everlasting covenant, 'a covenant of salt'"
(S. H. Kellogg, D. D.)
(B. W. Newton.)
I. As to THE MATERIALS, the "fine flour" may be regarded as the basis of the offering; and in it we have a type of Christ's humanity, wherein every perfection met. Every virtue was there, and ready for effectual action, in due season. The "oil," in the meat-offering, is a type of the Holy Ghost. But inasmuch as the oil is applied in a twofold way, so we have the Holy Ghost presented in a double aspect, in connection with the incarnation of the Son. The fine flour was "mingled" with off; and there was oil "poured" upon it. Such was the type; and in the Antitype we see the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, first, "conceived," and then "anointed," by the Holy Ghost. When we contemplate the Person and ministry of the Lord Jesus, we see how that, in every scene and circumstance, He acted by the direct power of the Holy Ghost. Having taken His place as man, down here, He showed that man should not only live by the Word, but act by the Spirit of God. The next ingredient in the meat-offering demanding our consideration, is "the frankincense." As has been remarked, the "fine flour" was the basis of the offering. The "oil" and "frankincense" were the two leading adjuncts; and, truly, the connection between these two latter is most instructive. The "oil" typifies the power of Christ's ministry; "the frankincense" typifies the object thereof. The former teaches us that He did everything by the Spirit of God, the latter that He did everything to the glory of God. It now only remains for us to consider an ingredient which was an inseparable adjunct of the meat-offering, namely, "salt." The expression, "salt of the covenant," sets forth the enduring character of that covenant. God Himself has so ordained it in all things that nought can ever alter it — no influence can ever corrupt it. In a spiritual and practical point of view, it is impossible to overestimate the value of such an ingredient. Christ's words were not merely words of grace, but words of pungent power — words Divinely adapted to preserve from all taint and corrupting influence. Having thus considered the ingredients which composed the meat-offering, we shall now refer to those which were excluded from it. The first of these was "leaven." "No meat-offering which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shad be made with leaven." No exercise can be more truly edifying and refreshing for the renewed mind than to dwell upon the unleavened perfectness of Christ's humanity — to contemplate the life and ministry of One who was, absolutely and essentially, unleavened. But there was another ingredient, as positively excluded from the meat-offering as "leaven," and that was "honey." The blessed Lord Jesus knew how to give nature and its relationships their proper place. He knew how much "honey" was "convenient." He could say to His mother, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" And yet He could say, again, to the beloved disciple, "Behold thy mother." In other words, nature's claims were never allowed to interfere with the presentation to God of all the energies of Christ's perfect manhood.
II. The second point in our theme is THE MODE IN WHICH THE MEAT-OFFERING WAS PREPARED. This was, as we read, by the action of fire. It was "baken in an oven" — "baken in a pan" — or "baken in a frying-pan." The process of baking suggests the idea of saffering. But inasmuch as the meat-offering is called "a sweet savour" — a term which is never applied to the sin-offering or trespass-offering — it is evident that there is no thought of suffering for sin — no thought of suffering the wrath of God, on account of sin — no thought of suffering at the hand of infinite Justice, as the sinner's substitute. The plain fact is this, there was nothing either in Christ's humanity or in the nature of His associations which could possibly connect Him with sin or wrath or death. He was "made sin" on the Cross; and there He endured the wrath of God, and there He gave up His life as an all-sufficient atonement for sin; but nothing of this finds a place in the meat-offering. The meat-offering was not a sin-offering, but "a sweet savour" offering. Thus its import is definitely fixed; and, moreover, the intelligent interpretation of it must ever guard, with holy jealousy, the precious truth of Christ's heavenly humanity, and the true nature of His associations. As the righteous Servant of God He suffered in the midst of a scene in which all was contrary to Him; but this was the very opposite of suffering for sin. Again, the Lord Jesus suffered by the power of sympathy; and this character of suffering unfolds to us the deep secrets of His tender heart. Human sorrow and human misery ever touched a chord in that bosom of love. Finally, we have to consider Christ's sufferings by anticipation.
III. THE PERSONS WHO PARTOOK OF THE MEAT-OFFERING. As in the burnt-offering, we observed the sons of Aaron introduced as types of all true believers, not as convicted sinners but as worshipping priests; so, in the meat-offering, we find them feeding upon the remnant of that which has been laid, as it were, on the table of the God of Israel. This was a high and holy privilege. None but priests could enjoy it. Here, then, we are furnished with a beauteous figure of the Church, feeding, "in the Holy Place," in the power of practical holiness, upon the perfections of "the Man Christ Jesus." This is our portion, through the grace of God; but, we must remember, it is to be eaten "with unleavened bread." We cannot feed upon Christ if we are indulging in anything evil.
(C. H. Mackintosh.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
— A reporter thus mentions his visit to a Chinese "Joss-house" in San Francisco. The place where they held their religious services was a chamber in one of their best houses. An intelligent Chinese man, who could speak a little English, was in charge of this room. I asked him why they put tea-cups of wine and tea and rice before their god; did they believe that the god would eat and drink? "Oh, no," he said. "That's not what for. What you like self, you give God. He see, He like see." Too many Christians, instead of giving to God "what they like themselves," offer Him only what they would as lief spare as not.
-An aged minister advised the people of a neighbourhood in Wales, where he laboured for the Master, to hold "cottage prayer-meetings," taking the houses in regular order up the mountain-side. One day a poor woman went to a store and asked for two penny candles. The storekeeper said to her, "Why, Nancy, what do you want with penny candles? Is not the rushlight good enough for you?" Her answer was, "Oh yes, rushlight is good enough for me, but the prayer-meeting will soon be coming to my house, and I want to give the Lord Jesus Christ a good welcome." Is there not a lesson here for each Christian? Are we always ready to "give the Lord Jesus a good welcome"? Or do we keep the candles for self, and give the rushlight to Him?
(D. L. Moody.)
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
"When one who holds communion with the skies
Has filled his urn where those pure waters rise
And once more mingles with these meaner things,
'Tis e'en as if an angel shook his wings.
Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide
And tells us whence these treasures are supplied."
(From Witherby's Scripture Gleanings.)
primitiae panum, the firstfruits of their loaves, and that was somewhat early too, about Whitsuntide; and the third was primitiae frugum, the fruits of all their latter fruits in general, and that was very late, about the fall of the leaf, in September. In the two first; payments, which were offered early, God accepted a part for Himself, but in the third payment, which came late, God would have no part at all. Even so, if we offer the firstfruits of our young years early unto God, He will accept of them as seasonably done; but if we give our best years unto Satan, sacrifice the flower of our youth unto sin, serve the world, and follow after the lusts of our flesh while we are young, and put all the burden of duty upon our weak, feeble, and decrepit old age, give our first years to Satan, and the last unto God, sure it is, that as He then refused such sacrifices under the law, He will not easily receive them now in the time of the gospel.
(J. Breed, D. D.)
(J. Caroming, D. D.)
Season with salt.
I. It appears, then, that salt was THE SYMBOL OF THE COVENANT. When God made a covenant with David, it is written, "The Lord gave the kingdom to David for ever by a covenant of salt" — by which was meant that it was an unchangeable, incorruptible covenant, which would endure as salt makes a thing to endure, so that it is not liable to putrefy or corrupt. "The salt of the covenant" signifies that, whenever you and I are bringing any offering to the Lord, we must take care that we remember the covenant.
1. We want this salt of the covenant in all that we do, in the first place, to preserve us from falling into legality. He that serves God for wages forgets the word — "The gift of God is eternal life." If you forget that you are under a covenant of pure grace, in which God gives to the unworthy, and saves those who have no claim to covenant blessing, you will get on legal ground; and, once on leg d ground, God cannot accept your sacrifice.
2. The covenant is to be remembered also that it may excite gratitude. Whenever I think of God entering into covenant that He will not depart from me, and that I shall never depart from Him, my love to Him overflows. Nothing constrains me to such activity and such zeal in the cause of God as a sense of covenant love. Standing on covenant ground we feel consecrated to the noblest ends.
3. This tends to arouse our devotion to God. When we remember that God has entered into covenant with us, then we do not do our work for Him in a cold, dead way; neither do we perform it after a nominal sort; for we say, "I am one of God's covenanted ones."
II. But, secondly, salt is THE TOKEN OF COMMUNION. In the East, especially, it is the token of fellowship. When an Oriental has once eaten a man's salt, he will do him no harm. Whenever you are attempting to serve God, take care that you do it in the spirit of fellowship with God.
III. But salt is THE EMBLEM OF SINCERITY. "With all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt." There must be an intense sincerity about all we do towards God.
IV. Lastly, salt is THE TYPE OF PURIFYING POWER; and with all our sacrifices we have need to bring a great deal of this salt. The salt eats into the meat; it drives away corruption; it preserves it. If we come before God with holy things while we are living in sin we need not deceive ourselves, we shall not be accepted. If there be any man, of whom it can be said that he is a saint abroad and a devil at home, God will estimate him at what he is at home, and not at what he is abroad. He may lay the sacrifice upon the altar, but if it is brought there with foul hands and an unholy heart, God will bare nothing to do with it. "Without holiness no man can see the Lord," and, certainly, without holiness can no man serve the Lord. We have our imperfections; but known and wilful sin God's people will not indulge.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Ezra 4:14) meant not maintenance, but the sign of faithfulness to the king. Salt was used in the sacrifices and offerings of the Israelites, probably with the same idea of honour and fidelity.
James 5:2, "Your riches are corrupted." There is a blessing on thy body and thy estate. And next it intimates the friendship (of which salt was a well-known emblem) now existing between God and the man. God can sup with man, and man with God (Revelation 3:18). There is a covenant between him and God, even in regard to the beasts of the field (Job 5:23), and fowls of heaven (Hosea 2:18). The friendship of God extends to His people's property; and to assure us of this He appoints the salt in the meat-offering, the offering that especially typified their substance. How comforting to labouring men! how cheering to careworn merchants if they dedicate themselves to God; He is interested in their property as much as they themselves are! "Who is a God like unto Thee!" But more; "with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt," declared that the sweet savour of these sacrifices was not momentary and passing, but enduring and eternal. By this declaration He sprinkles every sacrifice with the salt of His unchanging satisfaction. And "the covenant by sacrifice" (Psalm 50:5) is thus confirmed on the part of God; He declares that He on His part will be faithful.
(A. A. Bonar.).