And when any will offer a meat offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil on it…
The abrogation by Christianity of the rites and ceremonies of Judaism does not prevent the necessity nor dispel the advantages of becoming acquainted with the laws by which the ancient sacrifices were regulated. The mind of God may be ascertained in the precepts delivered in olden days, and underlying principles recognized that hold good in every age. The very fact that truth has thus to be searched for, and by patient induction applied to present conditions, should prove an incitement rather than a hindrance to investigation. Freeing the kernel from its husk, grasping the essence and neglecting the accidents, preferring the matter to the form, we shall behold in the Law prophecies of the gospel, and admit the likeness that proclaims both to have proceeded from the same God.
I. A DISTINCTION IS MADE BETWEEN OFFERINGS ACCEPTED BY GOD DIRECTLY, AND THOSE PRESENTED TO HIM INDIRECTLY FOR THE USE OF HIS APPOINTED SERVANTS. The flour being brought to the priests, a handful was taken, and with frankincense was burnt upon the altar, rising to heaven in the form of smoke and perfume. The remainder of the flour was for the consumption of the priests. This distinction is applicable to many Christian offerings. The money given for the erection or support of a place of prayer, the surrender of time and thought for public worship, or for evangelistic work, the acknowledgment of Jesus Christ by baptism and by partaking of the Lord's Supper, the devotion of our strength and influence to God's service, - these may be considered as gifts presented straight to God himself. They are laid upon the altar, enwrapped in the fire of holy love, perfumed with prayer, and are consumed with zeal of God's house. But there are other oblations which must be regarded in the light of mediate presentations to God, such as, supporting the ministry at home and missionaries abroad, ministering to the need of the aged and feeble, and giving the cup of water to the disciples of Christ. This distinction is not meant to glorify the one class in comparison with the other, but to clarify our views, and to lead to the inquiry whether we are doing all we can in both directions. There is an idea in many minds that if the works of benevolence and charity be performed, the other duties of gathering together in the solemn assembly and of avowal of attachment to Christ are of little importance. The burning of a portion of the offering upon the altar rebukes such a conception. And similarly we learn that the punctual attendance upon the means of grace, and the regular offering of praise and prayer, must not exclude the exercise of hospitality and sympathy.
II. Looking at these two classes separately, we remark, respecting the bestowment of the "remnant" upon the priests, that OFFERINGS TO GOD MUST BE PRESENTED IN THEIR ENTIRETY. All the flour brought was considered "most holy," and could not be employed thereafter except for the benefit of "sacred" persons. A man was at liberty to offer or withhold, but once having vowed, he could not withdraw even a portion of his present. God will not be satisfied with a share of a man's heart. If it be given at all, it must be the whole heart. And once having engaged ourselves to be his, there can be no revocation of faculty, affection or time. To look back after taking hold of the plough is to mar religious dedication. The mistake of Ananias was in pretending to give the full price, and attempting to conceal a portion of it. Oh that we could make religion permeate our lives, hallowing even our secular employments by doing all to the glory of God!
III. With respect to the portion burnt for a "memorial," observe that AN OFFERING HAS A DOUBLE INTENT; IT EVINCES A GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE BY THE WORSHIPPER OF GOD'S BOUNTY AND REQUIREMENTS, AND IT ENSURES A GRACIOUS REMEMBRANCE OF the WORSHIPPER ON THE PART OF GOD. The special significance of the "minchah" lay in its expression of thankfulness, and of desire by that expression to secure the favour of the God by whom our needs are supplied. To appreciate past kindness is to show a fitness to receive additional mercies in the future. To remember God is to be remembered in turn by God. At the Communion we take the bread and wine as Christ's memorial, and he, the Master of the feast, approves the spirit and the act, and thinks upon us for good. Self-interest recommends us to honour the Lord. To save a handful of meal would be to lose a coming harvest, and to save ourselves temporally is to lose eternally.
IV. ALL OFFERINGS MADE IN THE APPOINTED WAY ARE WELL PLEASING UNTO GOD. The meal oblation differed from the sacrifice of a lamb or bullock, perhaps was not so expensive, and all of it was not consumed by fire; yet it was also declared to be "of a sweet savour unto the Lord." We should not trouble ourselves because our kind of service is distinct from that which our fellows render, or is treated by the world as less important. The mites of the widow lie side by side in the treasury with the shekels of the wealthy, and will receive quite as much notice from the Lord of the sanctuary. If a niche in the temple of heroes is denied to us, or if the eloquence that sways the wills of men belongs not to our tongue, yet may we with kindly words and manly actions and loving tones do our little part in Christianizing the world, and our efforts will win the commendation of him who "seeth not as man seeth." And further, let us not be sad because at different periods we do not find ourselves able to render the same service. In the winter we may sacrifice from our herds and. flocks, but must wait till the summer for the firstfruits of the field. Youth, manhood, and age have their appropriate labours. Leisure and business, health and sickness, prosperity and adversity, may present to the Lord equally acceptable offerings. - S.R.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: