And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
I. THE PROPRIETY OF THE DAILY OFFERING. All the offerings were to be made in their due season, and every day that passed over the head of the Israelite people was a due season to make offerings to Jehovah in connection with the daily manifestations of his goodness. As what might be called the ordinary and common gifts of God came day by day, so it was appropriate for Israel to make ordinary and common offerings day by day. We must remind ourselves continually of the unfailing goodness of God. Whatever the special mercies in each individual life, there are certain great common mercies for us all, always something, in acknowledging which every one can join. We know that to God the mere offering was nothing, apart from the state of mind in which it was made. God gave the form, and it was required of the people that they should fill it with the spirit of acceptance, appreciation, and gratitude. We have, indeed, no command for daily offering now, no stipulation of times and seasons; but how shall we utter the petition, "Give us this day our daily bread," unless we feel that the bread is a daily gift? This one petition implies that petition, and therefore all the constituents of prayer, must belong to our life every day. There must be the feeling that although the actual production of the bread is spread over a long time, we have to take it in daily portions; and our physical constitution is in itself the witness to the daily duty of making an offering to God in return. We can store up grain for months, for the seven years of famine if need be, but we cannot store up thus the strength of our own bodies. Man is not a hibernating animal. "Give us this day our daily bread" implies daily strength to work for it, daily power within to assimilate it when eaten. And since spiritual supplies and strength are meant to be received in like fashion, an acknowledgment of these should be a principal thing in our daily offering. Considerations drawn from the thought of God's daily gifts, both for natural life and spiritual life, should be beautifully blended in our daily approaches to him. Notice that these daily offerings were appropriately mentioned here at a time when the camp relation (chapter 2) was about to be dissolved. Israel was soon to be distributed, not only from Dan to Beersheba, but on both sides of Jordan. Hence the daily offering would be very serviceable in helping to manifest the unity of the people, and to preserve the feeling of it. It was also especially needful to be reminded of this national duty of daily offering after the humiliating apostasy to idols while Israel abode in Shittim (chapter 25). The only guarantee against the soul lapsing into idolatrous offerings is to be continually engaging in hearty and intelligent offerings to God.
II. IT MUST BE A MORNING AND EVENING OFFERING. To make a daily offering was not enough. Israel was not left to its own will as to the time of day for the offering. The sustaining of life is indeed going on all day long, by the secret and unfailing power of God, and the recognition of this power is always meet at any hour of day or night. But the day has its own peculiar blessings, and also the night, and they are to be made special in our thoughts, as they are made special in our experience. The dawn and the twilight bring each their own associations. In the morning we look back on the rest, the sleep, and the protection of the night, and forward into the work, the duties, the burdens, and the needs of the day. Similarly evening will have its appropriate retrospect and anticipation. That is no true thanksgiving which does not discriminate, marking the difference between thanksgivings which may be offered at any hour, and those which are peculiar to the morning and evening. The very recollection of the gradual regular changes in the time of sunrise and sunset should impart an ever-freshening sense of the faithfulness of God, and of how orderly and exact all his arrangements are.
III. THE CONSTITUENTS OF THE OFFERING. The lambs, the flour, the oil, the wine. These were parts of the actual product of Israelite industry. In presenting the lamb there was the thought that Israel had shepherded it, had watched over the little creature from the day of its birth, and taken all care to obtain the unblemished yearling for the burnt offering. All the shepherd's thoughtfulness, vigilance, and courage are represented in the offering. And mark, these, not as the qualities of one man, but of all Israel. The service of the particular man is merged in the shepherd-service of Israel as a whole. So with the offering of the flour; in it there is the work of the ploughman, the sower, the reaper, the miller. The oil is there because the labour of the olive has not failed, and the wine because men have obeyed the command, "Go work today in my vineyard." In presenting so much of the result of its work, Israel was thereby presenting part of the work itself. But these offerings were not only the result of work, they were also the sustenance of Israel, and the preparation for future work. The lambs, the flour, the oil, the wine were taken out of the present food store of Israel. The Israelites were therefore presenting part of their own life. If these things had not been taken for offerings they would soon have entered into the physical constitution of the people. The acceptability of the offering lay to a great extent in this, that it was from Israel's daily ordinary food. There would have been no propriety in making an offering from occasional luxuries. The significance of the unblemished lamb thus becomes obvious. The lamb for God was to be unblemished; but surely this was a hint that all the food of Israel was to be unblemished, as far as this could be attained. The presumption was that if Israel would only give due attention, there would be much of the unblemished and the satisfying in all the products of the soil. We are largely what we eat, and unblemished nutriment tends to produce unblemished life. The constituents of this offering further remind us of the great demand on us as Christians. It is the weighty and frequent admonition of Paul that we are to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice. The offering is no longer one of dead animals, grain, &c., mere constituents of the body, and still outside of it. We are to offer the body itself, made holy and acceptable to God. We must so live then, we must so eat and drink, we must so order habit and conduct, that all the streams from the outside world which flow into us may contribute to the health, purity, and effective service of the whole man. Let everything be tested according to its ability to make us better Christians, and therefore better men. In relation to this great offering which is asked from us, let us ponder earnestly these typical offerings of ancient Israel, and set ourselves to fulfill the law connected with them. Here almost more than anywhere else let it be true of us that we are advancing
"From shadowy types to truth, from flesh to spirit,
From imposition of strict laws to free
Acceptance of large grace, from servile fear
To filial, works of law to works of faith." Let life be an offering to God, and it will be hallowed, beautified, and glorified as it cannot otherwise be. - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,