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…
In the meal-offering we are reminded that the fruit of all our spiritual labours is to be offered to the Lord. This reminder might seem unneedful, as indeed it ought to be; but it is not. For it is sadly possible to call Christ "Lord," and, labouring in His field, do in His name many wonderful works, yet not really unto Him. A minister of the Word may with steady labour drive the ploughshare of the law, and sow continually the undoubted seed of the Word in the Master's field; and the apparent result of his work may be large, and even real, in the conversion of men to God, and a great increase of Christian zeal and activity. And yet it is quite possible that a man do this, and still do it for himself, and not for the Lord; and when success comes, begin to rejoice in his evident skill as a spiritual husbandman, and in the praise of man which this brings him; .and so, while thus rejoicing in the fruit of his labours, neglect to bring of this good corn and wine which he has raised for a daily meal-offering in consecration to the Lord. And so, indeed, it may be in every department of religious activity. But the teaching of the meal-offering reaches further than to what we call religious labours. For in that it was appointed that the offering should consist of man's daily food, Israel was reminded that God's claim for full consecration of all our activities covers everything, even to the very food we eat. The New Testament has the same thought (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.)
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: