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,
I. THE AFFECTING VIEW HERE FURNISHED OF THE AGENCY AND DOMINION OF GOD IN CONNECTION WITH THE HUMAN MIND.
I. THAT THE PERSON ORDAINED SHOULD BE CHOSEN OF GOD FOR HIS WORK. Moses asked the Lord to "set a man over the congregation," &c. (vers. 16, 17). "And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua," &c. So now the Christian minister should be —
Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation.
Homilist.I. THE WORLD'S NEED OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS.
1. The great majority of every generation are uninventive, unaspiring, cringing, servile, thoughtless, ignorant. They not only walk in moral darkness, but lack the desire, if not the capacity, to struggle into the light of moral principles.
2. Clearly, then, they require spiritual leaders, men who shall point out to them the way of honesty, truth, purity, and holiness, marching before them in all the stateliness of the Christly morality.
II. THE GENUINE TYPE OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS.
1. The true spiritual leader must be a man. Not an idiot, not a charlatan, not a functionary. A "man" is a person who has right convictions of moral duty, and honestly embodies them in his daily life.
2. The true spiritual leader must be a man inspired by God. No man can be a true moral leader of the people who has not within him, as the all-animating and directing force, an unutterable abhorrence of wrong and an invincible attachment to the right, whose whole nature does not beat and beam with the soul of Divine morality.
III. THE DIVINE SUCCESSION OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS. They are all in the hands of God.
1. He takes the greatest spiritual leaders away by death.
2. He raises others to supply their place. One enters into another's labours.
1. Called by God to His work.
2. Appointed by God to his sphere of work.
II. THAT THE ORDINATION IS TO THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK.
III. THAT THE ORDINATION SHOULD BE CONDUCTED BY TRIED MEN.
IV. THE ORDINATION SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED WITH THE IMPOSITION OF HANDS.
V. THAT THE ORDINATION SHOULD INCLUDE A CHARGE TO THE ORDAINED, "Give him a charge." The duties and responsibilities of the office should be laid before those who are being set apart to it; and the experience of godly and approved men should be made available for the direction of the inexperienced. What wise and inspiring things Moses would say to Joshua in this charge! What sage counsels drawn from his ripe experience! &c.
VI. THAT THE ORDINATION SHOULD BE CONDUCTED IN THE PRESENCE OF THE PEOPLE. Moreover, such an arrangement —
1. Is more impressive to the person being ordained. There present with him are the immortal souls for whom he has to live and labour.
2. Tends to influence the people beneficially. As they hear of the important duties and solemn responsibilities of their minister, they should be awakened to deeper solicitude and more earnest prayer on his behalf, and to heartier co-operation with him.
VII. THE ORDINATION SHOULD CONFER HONOUR UPON THE PERSON ORDAINED.
VIII. THAT A PERSON SO CHOSEN OF GOD, SHOULD SEEK SPECIAL DIRECTION FROM HIM, AND SEEKING, SHALL OBTAIN IT.
1. A warning against self-sufficiency.
2. A source of encouragement and strength.
1. God imparts the powers of the spirit. We have nothing self-derived.
2. He claims the affections of the spirit.
3. He heals the disorders and sympathises with the sorrows of the spirit.
4. He alone can constitute the happiness of the spirit.
5. He will decide upon the future destiny of the spirit.
II. THE MORAL USES OF THESE CONTEMPLATIONS.
1. Let them teach you reverence for the human mind.
2. Let them impress you with thoughts of the vast importance of personal religion.
3. Let them inspire you with practical efforts to benefit and bless society. By education-by missions, &c.
4. Let them kindle hope for the prospects of the human race.
After this manner ye shall offer daily.Numbers 27:12). God would therefore put them in mind of this that, when they should possess the land, they must be mindful of His worship and their own duty. Secondly, because few at this time remained alive which had heard, or if they had heard, could remember these laws that then were published. Thirdly, the ceremonial worship had been intermitted in the wilderness for many years, as circumcision (Joshua 5.) and many other like ordinances by reason of their continual journeys, or at least continual expectation of them. Lastly, God doth hereby comfort and confirm His people after their manifold provocations and murmurings, testifying thereby that as a merciful Father He is reconciled unto them, and the remembrance of their sins buried, and that He hath determined to do them good all the days of their life. Now, the first thing to be considered is the daily sacrifice, in which was to be offered, morning and evening, a lamb, fine flour, wine, and oil; these were to be offered continually as a burnt offering upon the altar, which law was not to take place until they came into the land, as we heard before in the like case (Numbers 15:2), because in the desert they wanted many things necessary (Deuteronomy 12:8) which was a sufficient dispensation for the omitting of them; for when God doth require anything He giveth means to perform it, and did never impute it as a sin unto them when an inevitable necessity did hinder them, and the desire to obey is no less accepted than obedience itself. Of this daily sacrifice with the rites thereof to be performed every morning and evening we read at large (Exodus 29:38), they must do it day by day continually. So 1 Kings 18., when Elijah convinced Baal's priests, there is mention made of their choosing, dressing, and offering a bullock in the morning (ver. 26), and of his doing the like "at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice" (ver. 36). Likewise "Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour" (Acts 3:1). This was the time, being three of the clock in the afternoon, when the evening sacrifice was wont to be offered, unto which prayer also was wont to be joined. We see their practice what it was daily ; now let us come to the uses toward ourselves.
1. First, see from hence by consideration of this daily offering — "a lamb every morning and a lamb every evening" — a great difference between the Old and New Testament.
2. Secondly, we must understand from hence, that as all sacrifices under the law did as it were lead us to Christ, "who is the end of the law of righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4); so did this daily sacrifice of "the two lambs offered morning and evening" most plainly. He is both the Altar and the Sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10).
3. Lastly, this daily sacrifice importeth the daily sacrifice of prayer which we ought to offer to God as our daily service due unto Him (1 Kings 18:36). And thus do the Hebrew doctors speak, "The continual sacrifice of the morning made atonement for the iniquities that were done in the night, and the evening sacrifice made atonement for the iniquities that were by day." It is there. fore required of us to pray unto God, not once in a month, or once a week, nor only upon the Sabbath day, or publicly in the assemblies of the faithful, but we must remember Him daily that remembereth us every hour.
In the beginnings of your months.
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