Thursday, June 8th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Preacher's Homiletical
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ phc/ leviticus-2.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Leviticus 2". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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Bloodless Sacrifices: The food-Offerings
Leviticus 2:1. His offering shall be of fine flour.—Sacrifices for the “meat offering” were from the vegetable, not animal, kingdom. Food offering more expresses the idea. Prepared from wheat, and presented in various forms; fine flour, and cakes of four different kinds, and wheat in the grain. These were products of husbandry, not spontaneous growths entailing no anxiety in provision, or labour in preparation; they represent human labour; were the daily food of man, essential to his life; suggestive, therefore, of his dependence on God, to whom he offered them, his gratitude to God, from whom he received them, his dedication to God, whom he worshipped in the act of sacrifice. As typical of Christ: His excellency is indicated in the quality of the flour, “fine,” and His sufferings in the disposal of it. God looks for grateful returns from those who share the gifts of His bounty in Providence: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me?” How much more He should receive responses of our thankful love for His greatest Gift whose worth and virtue are prefigured in this “fine flour burned upon the altar” as “a thing most holy of the offerings of the Lord made by fire.”
Oil and frankincense.—Symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s grace, and the sacred joy of a consecrated life. If “flour” suggests the product of human labour, the “oil” points to the added sanctity of the Spirit, needful in order to our offering being worthy a place on God’s altar; and “frankincense” denotes the devout gladness with which we should make fragrant every act of sacrifice and service to the Lord. Compass God’s altar, enriched by the Spirit’s unction, and inspired with holy fervour; thus our consecration becomes “a sweet savour unto the Lord.”
Leviticus 2:2. Burn the memorial of it.—As a heavenward appeal to God that He would remember both the offerer and His “word unto His servants on which He had caused them to hope.” So David pleads—the Lord “remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice” (Psalms 20:3); and thus the prayers and alms of Cornelius rose up “for a memorial before God.” We may send up to Heaven our “incense of a pure offering,” and keep a memorial continually before God of our enduring hope in Him and of His covenant engagements for us.
Leviticus 2:3. The remnant.—The priests of the tabernacle lived upon these consecrated gifts. As “priests unto God” (Revelation 1:6) we Christians have a share in all the provisions of God’s house: the Bread of Life, the grace of the Spirit, the delights of Divine fellowship. This is “the feast of fat things” which they within the Church enjoy. “Eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2).
Leviticus 2:8. Bring the Meat Offering.—Choose which kind of offering you prefer (three kinds are specified in Leviticus 2:4-7), then come with it “unto the Lord”; through the mediation of our Divine “Priest”; and He who prizes the “prayers of the saints” and loves the “sacrifices of joy,” will seal our offerings with acceptance, and “hear from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand” (Psalms 20:6).
Leviticus 2:11. No offering with leaven nor any honey.—They would produce fermentation. “Leaven” is symbolic of pride and hypocrisy, malice and wickedness; and “honey,” though sweet to the taste, soon begets sickness, thus suggesting a soul quickly satiated and nauseated. God desires “truth in the inward parts,” worship from a “honest heart,” sacrifices from those whose delight in Him is not quickly reversed, whose love changes not. A mingling of corruption and insincerity spoils our finest offerings. What need to pray, “Create in me a clean heart,” etc., and to examine ourselves and our motives when employed in sacred occupations, lest we offend with leaven and honey.
Leviticus 2:13. Season with salt.—It preserves from putrefaction; renders food savoury; denotes uncorruptedness, durability, constancy; was and is an oriental symbol of hospitality and amity. “Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt,” says Christ (Mark 9:49): there must be no corruptness allowed in the individual Christian life; and all our services should be savoured with the precious qualities of enduring fidelity and constant love. Salt, too, betokens the perpetuity of the Spirit’s grace; and because of His abiding presence (glad fact in the Christian’s experience, “He dwelleth with you and shall be in you”) the consecrated soul retains its sweetness with God and its healthful influence on men. “Ye are the salt of the earth.”
Topic: HOMAGE GRACED WITH EXCELLENCIES (Leviticus 2:1-3)
In seeking God it should be our aim to press much into the act of adoration: not to approach Him with a poverty of graces, but with every virtue combined in the service; thought and feeling, desire and devotion all being of the highest, the finest and most fragrant. Not with one excellency alone beautifying our homage, but with manifold excellencies combined. “The preparations (plural) of the heart” are desirable; all our resources of devout feeling and intelligence; the soul’s fulness of gracious yearnings and aspirations; so that our offerings are rich in excellent qualities of homage: these make worship and servico “things most holy” unto the Lord.
I. EVERY ELEMENT OF WORTH AND ATTRACTIVENESS SHOULD CONCENTRATE IN OUR WORSHIP AND SERVICE OF GOD. “His offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon.” 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. We may take Him gratitude, as did Noah when he burnt his sacrifice upon quitting the Ark; our appeasement sacrifices, as did Balaam on Pisgah; our penitential oblation, as David did in the threshing-floor of Araunah; we may take Him our look of faith, as did the Israelites suffering from the serpent-bite; our tears, as did Peter when he “wept bitterly”; and none of these sacrifices are rejected. For he condescends to our low estate, and accepts the one ruling feeling or desire which prompts us to seek His face.
2. Yet worship should be the outflow of all noble affections and aspirations of the soul. “Fine flour, oil and frankincense,” all should mingle, all should blend into an offering “of sweet savour.” As when the woman “who was a sinner” brought her “alabaster box of ointment” and besides this, “washed His feet with tears,” yea, and “kissed His feet,” and then “anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7:37-38)—all passions of penitence, gratitude, adoration, trust, love, combining and concentrated on Jesus!
3. Preparation for such a blending of graces in worship is our evident duty. We ought not to enter God’s presence with a poverty of homage, with hearts cold and heedless, with no affection astir, with no sacred graces alert; but with all holy emotions and desires awake, and intelligent perceptions quickened by forethought and pre-vision. God emphatically directs this preparatory arrangement for a right offering: “When any will offer, etc., he shall take thereout the flour and the oil and the frankincense” (Leviticus 2:1-2). [See Addenda, p. 29, Sweet Incense.]
So David arouses and prepares himself: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Having no occasion in this age of the Spirit to seek God with material presents, we may and should take Him the realities they symbolised; so that as from “golden vials full of odours” the prayers of saints might “ascend up before God” (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:5). All this should enforce upon worshippers a deeply earnest concern to go in unto the King with their purest, holiest, devoutest feelings and thoughts. “Let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2). He asks of us “whatsoever things are true, venerable, just, pure, lovely,” etc.
II. ADORABLE PRESENTATIONS TO GOD SECURE HIS GRACIOUS APPRECIATION AND LAVISH PRAISE.
What a richness of approving words we have here! “An offering … of a sweet savour unto the Lord.” “It is a thing most holy of the offerings,” etc. (Leviticus 2:2-3).
1. No poverty of approval ever repels a fervent worshipper.
Affection may be wasted upon the unappreciating; pearls cast before swine will be trodden under foot; Art’s beauties are insipid to the unsympathetic soul. To the imbecile and the eye void of discernment,
“A primrose by the river’s brim
A yellow primrose is to him,
And it is nothing more.”
Much that is beautiful in the world, and in human life, misses recognition; eyes and hearts are closed to their preciousness. But “God knoweth the heart”; sees the motive of action, the meaning of sighs and tears, the graces of desire and design in our feeblest and frustrated efforts. “It is well that it was in thine heart.” “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver.” “It is accepted according to that a man hath.” Nothing escapes Him. Jesus so instantly saw the charm of Mary’s act, though against it the “disciples murmured” (Mark 14:6; Mark 14:8-9). God “smelled a sweet savour” when Noah sacrificed.
2. Offering such excellency of homage we shall assuredly realise that God is well pleased. If “the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering,” because “by faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gift,” will He fail to seal His favour upon the soul who “worships Him in spirit and in truth,” seeing “the Father seeketh such to worship Him”? Did there not come transfiguration glories upon Jesus “as He prayed” (Luke 9:29), followed by the inspiring testimony, “This is My beloved Son”? “In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God; and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). God will make us glad, assured that we are “accepted of Him.”
III. Excellences in typical offerings FORESHADOWED THE BEAUTIES AND WORTHINESS OF JESUS.
1. The quality of the flour bespeaks the intrinsic excellence of Christ. He is the faultless One, “holy, harmless, undefiled”; God’s most gracious Son; “fairer than the children of men.” Inheriting His virtues by faith, we are beauteous in His beauty, faultless in His perfection, “accepted in the Beloved,” “made the righteousness of God in Him,” so as to stand at last “perfect before Him in love.”
2. The pouring oil thereon denotes the anointing of the Spirit. For the Holy Ghost descended on Him; “baptised with the Holy Ghost,” Jesus was enriched with the Spirit’s grace. And as “heirs of Christ” we also “have an unction from the Holy One”; and “the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you” (1 John 2:27).
3. The added frankincense, creating a pleasing odour through the tabernacle, tells of the delightfulness of Christ; His joy-inspiring grace. Is not His name “as ointment poured forth”? He gladdens all who share in His sacrifice. And He adds the beauty of spiritual delightfulness to the believer, so that God joys in us; and we are both to Him and among men as “the sweet savour of Christ.”
Our approach to God in the excellences of worship becomes acceptable and well-pleasing to Him only because of Jesus’ merits and virtues, which add all the worth to every accepted service men can render to the Lord. [See Addenda, p. 28, The Beautiful in Worship.]
Topic: MAINTENANCE OF PRIESTLY MINISTRATION (Leviticus 2:8-10)
I. APPROACH TO GOD’S ALTAR THROUGH GOD’S PRIESTHOOD.
1. Their office and ministers were Divinely ordained. (a) As to the office: “No man taketh this honour to himself but he that is called of God” (Hebrews 5:4). Christian preachers must hear God’s call to the ministry. “Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest, but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son” (Hebrews 5:5). (b) As to the ministrations: Every act of the priests is here minutely prescribed. So of Christian ministers (1 Corinthians 9:16-23). And our Lord’s ministrations equally so. (See Hebrews 7:24. &c.)
2. Without their mediation none could approach God. Nor may any come nigh His presence now except through the priesthood of Jesus Christ (John 14:6), “No man cometh to the Father but by Me”; and (Hebrews 4:15-16), “Having a High Priest, &c., let us therefore come boldly,” &c. The Christian ministry does not reproduce and perpetuate a human priesthood. No sacrifices are now offered (Hebrews 10:11-12); but “we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us … be ye reconciled to God.”
II. MAINTENANCE OF GOD’S PRIESTS BY THE PEOPLES’ GIFTS.
1. A Divine ordinance that they should be generously supported while sacredly employed. Not supernaturally. God did not feed them with angels’ food, nor from the skies, nor from other than human resources, but by the offerings of individual worshippers It left them free for their hallowed work. It called out the generous thoughtfulness of those whom they sacredly served. It knit priest and people together in mutual dependence and mutual helpfulness.
2. Individual responsibility to support God’s servants and maintain His sanctuary. Not a single sacrifice could be laid on the altar, of any kind, without tome part being assigned to the priests. This affirms our duty to give of our life and love to Christ while we approach His Sacrifice to draw atonement from Christ. It also pronounces against a selfish spirit, concerned only for personal gain, in seeking salvation. The offerer must consider others’ wants as well as care for his own soul. And equally it teaches that they who enter God’s house and benefit by the ministration of the Christian pastor should contribute to his comfort and support (1 Corinthians 9:11; 1 Corinthians 9:13-14; Philippians 4:18). [See Addenda, p. 29, God’s Ministers.]
III. PRIESTLY MINISTRATIONS PROTECTED WITH UTMOST SANCTITY.
1. Closed within the sacred precincts of God’s house, they lived apart from the world. God’s witnesses to a spiritual life, and to a “life hid with Christ in God.” “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate”
2. Ceaselessly employed in sacred services, they summoned men to a self-surrendered career, glorifying God in their body and their spirit which are His.” “Ye are a holy priesthood, a peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:5-9), “zealous of good works.”
3. Living in the very scene where God dwelt, they pledged to all sanctified souls a home with God. “These are not of the world.” “I will that they be with Me where I am” (John 17:16-24). “Therefore are they before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple,” &c. (Revelation 7:15).
Topic: SUGGESTIVENESS OF THE MEAT OFFERING (Leviticus 2:8-10)
I. ITS HUMAN ASPECT.
The Burnt Offering indicated consecration to, reconciliation with God; transferrence of guilt to victim slain. The meat offering points to restoration after reconciliation, the introduction of the worshipper to favour and friendship of the Lord. At the Lord’s Table, we may remember, the associations are Eucharistic as well as Sacrificial. What did the meat offering teach the offerer concerning himself?
1. That he was dependent upon God. As he prepared and presented the finest of the wheat, made the pure white flour into cakes such as formed his daily meal, he would be reminded of his dependence upon God who makes the corn to grow, and crowns the year with His goodness. This offering, suggestive of the social meal, would remind the worshipper that he sat at the board of his heavenly Father who gave him daily food, and loaded him with life’s bounteous blessings.
2. That he was under obligation to God. The offering acknowledged his duty and indebtedness. Though small, yet it was of the best. Not chaff, husks, or bran, but “fine flour.” The obligation was to be discharged with (a) Cheerfulness. Oil was to mingle with offering, suggesting gladness in the worshipper, grace and favour in the worshipped. (b) Devoutness. “Frankincense,” an emblem of prayer and praise ascending like sweet incense to the sky.
We are prone to forget the goodness of God as exercised and exhibited in our unceasing Providential supplies. He gives us necessaries and luxuries. Yet some (a) forget Him amid the excitements and enjoyments of life. Some (b) ignore Him in their exclusive attention to the laws and agencies of nature. Some (c) insult Him by denying His existence, and attributing all phenomena and providence to chance. But some (d) adore Him by grateful hearts and obedient lives. We should thankfully partake of His temporal mercies, but with supreme gratitude accept “His unspeakable gift,” the true Bread from heaven.
II. ITS SACERDOTAL ASPECT; or, What did the meat offering teach concerning the Priests?
1. Their office was worthy of respect. Selected by the Lord, they were His special servants, and were appointed to perform sacred duties which the people could not do for themselves. They were God’s priests, and as such deserved the considerate regard of the people. Though Christian ministers are not priests, yet they are ambassadors for Christ, and stand, as it were, in His stead, beseeching men to be reconciled unto God; and, as such, are to be held in high esteem for their work’s sake.
2. Their services commanded recompense. Being withdrawn from secular engagements, and giving their time and thoughts to sacerdotal duties, they had a cogent claim (a) to live in the affections and sympathies of the people; and (b) to be supported by them (Ezekiel 44:27-30; 1 Corinthians 9:13). In connection with the sacrifices there was the priest’s portion (Leviticus 2:3), so that their physical wants might be supplied. The New Testament teaches that “the labourer is worthy of his hire,” and “those who preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel.”
3. Their sacredness claimed for them no worship. No sacrifice was offered to the priests. They had to seek forgiveness and offer sacrifices for themselves. Till the worship had been completed they partook of nothing offered in sacrifice to God; then it was their privilege to share what remained. Under the New Testament dispensation ministers are not priests. They occupy no such unique position, and have no priestly functions to fulfil. Yet, the minister of the Cross—if he be true and faithful—is worthy of the highest esteem, as well as worthy of his hire, though unworthy of worship, as the Levitical priests. Through relationship to our Great High Priest the whole company of the faithful become “kings and priests unto God”; though not even “the glorious company of the apostles” would receive homage, but would exclaim with one voice, “Worship God.”
III. ITS THEOLOGICAL ASPECT; or, What did the meat offering teach the offerer concerning God?
1. That He greatly valued His own gifts to man. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof, the world, and they that dwell therein”; and yet He holds His smallest works and common gifts to man in great esteem. His directing the priests about their offerings with such minuteness of detail shows that the works His hands had made are worthy being presented with scrupulous care and order in His service.
2. That He reclaims and accepts His own gifts from man. He had the right to do so, and to have them offered and disposed of as He saw fit. All objections about waste and uselessness in the sacrifices vanish when we remember this. When the people offered of their flocks and crops they only gave back a small portion of what they had received in abundance; so that their offerings were (a) provided by God; (b) belonged to Him; and (c), however great, were below His deserts. We cannot offer to the Lord anything that is absolutely our own, for all we have and are belong to Him. “Not your own, bought with a price.” God has a right to our service and sacrifice. If we present ourselves as living sacrifices He will accept and appreciate them as His own gifts restored.
3. That He may be propitiated by such offerings of His gifts by man. Offerings of the produce of the earth (such as Cain’s), unassociated with substitutionary sacrifice, fall below what God requires of man. Hence the Deist leaves out of his worship the essential element to efficiency and acceptability. The hand of faith must first be laid upon the head of the burnt offering, and an atonement be accepted for him, before other services and sacrifices can be well pleasing to God. We cannot enrich the Lord by our gifts, yet He accepts them as expressions of our fealty and faith. Such offerings of our gratitude and trust will be unto Him a “sweet savour.”—F. W. B.
Topic: CHARACTER AS QUALIFYING SACRIFICE (Leviticus 2:1-3; Leviticus 2:11-13)
“Fine flour, oil, frankincense, it is a thing most holy unto the Lord. No leaven nor any honey. Every oblation season with salt.” Beyond all dispute the frankincense and salt indicate certain moral features of good; and leaven, honey, &c., certain moral features of evil. This specification of the excellent, this prohibition of the deleterious, denotes how the qualities which enter into our sacrifices and services are considered by God.
I. Symbolised here we behold THE GRACES AND FAULTLESSNESS WHICH DISTINGUISHED JESUS
1. His life was sacrificial. Bruised corn suggests suffering, and our Redeemer knew such bruising from God and man “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him,” &c., “Reproach hath broken My heart.” But a crushed and suffering Jesus is man’s salvation. “By His stripes we are healed.”
2. Yet His sacrifice was full of grace. “Fine flour, oil, frankincense, salt.” (a) Highest qualities of person and character distinguished Jesus. No husk, no common quality in the flour; “that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). “It is a thing most holy.” (b) The sacred oil of the Spirit enriched the character of Christ. “Pour oil” (Leviticus 2:1). “Grace is poured into thy lips.” “The Word became flesh, full of grace and truth.” “The Father giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” “Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost,” &c. [See Acts 10:38.] (c) The delightfulness of a perfect willinghood, the fragrance of a zealous consecration crowned His sacrifice: “Frankincense.” “Thy law is within my heart.” “His zeal it consumed me.” “My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
3. In His character there was no fault. (a) No corruption tainted His sinless nature and sacrifice. “No leaven.” “Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” “I find no fault in this man.” (b) No mere earthly sweetness which might become sickly; no week sentiments of feeling; no low or fitful affections of the heart; no private preferences or fleeting fantasies. His soul was moved alone by loyalty and love to God and His high work for man.
4. Perpetuity and unchangeableness of excellence distinguished Christ’s character and sacrifice. “Seasoned with salt.” His devotion to man was an incorruptible and invariable principle. His saving grace is an enduring and inexhaustible quality in His sacrifice.
II. Indicated here we recognise THE QUALITIES OF CHARACTER GOD DESIRES IN SACRIFICIAL LIVES.
This offering was to present on the Lord’s altar what would be grateful and savoury to Him. Such is the aim of the Christian life: to consecrate to Him a “sweet savour of Christ.”
1. An even devotion, genuine and excellent throughout, like “fine flour.”
2. An anointed character, beautified by the Spirit; for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His.”
3. A sweet fervour of soul. For as the fire brought out the aroma of frankincense, so should affliction exhibit Christian sweetness and grace. God desires, too, a glad and grateful spirit in service. “Giving thanks to His name.” Also qualities which spread pleasure around, as did the frankincense. “To do good and communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
4. Uncorruptedness of heart. “No leaven, nor honey.” Void of selfishness and guile; neither insincerity nor mere natural sweetness, which may decay: but the abiding graces of the Holy Spirit; having an “unction from the Holy One.”
5. Enduring integrity of heart and life. “Salt.” Counteracting the putrefactions of sin. Maintaining perpetuity of sacred love and consecration. “Showing forth the virtues of the Lord.”
Holy and consecrated lives; the noblest qualities of heart; the incorruptible graces of the Spirit; these make our services and sacrifices “in the sight of God of great price.” [See Addenda, p. 29, Character.]
Topic: RESURRECTION EMBLEMS. “The oblation of the first-fruits” (Leviticus 2:12-16)
The order in which this offering came is given in chap. 23. First the Passover, then the Wave-sheaf, then the Pentecost. The “sheaf of the first-fruits” might be burnt as a sweet savour to the Lord, but the “oblation of the first-fruits” might not be burnt on the altar (Leviticus 2:12). The reason for this being that the “sheaf” was unleavened, whereas the “oblation” was mixed and made with leaven (Leviticus 23:17).
1. OUR LORD’S RESURRECTION presented the “Sheaf of the first-fruits” unto the Lord.
“Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that sleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
I. “In Him was no sin”—no leaven.
2. He was Himself a “sweet savour” to God.
3. He therefore rose to God in His pure humanity as incense from the sacrifice.
II. THE CHURCH OF CHRIST was the “oblation of the first-fruits.” “We are a kind of first-fruits of His creatures” (James 1:18).
1. This offering, having sin in it, “mixed with leaven,” could not stand the test of fire, God’s searching holiness.
2. Yet it was to be consecrated to God. “Ye shall offer it, but it shall not be burnt” (Leviticus 2:12).
3. And was both offered and accepted. For along “with it” was presented a burnt offering, a meat offering, a peace offering, and a sin offering: symbols of Christ’s propitiatory atonement. The Church comes before God with the merits of Christ; and is offered with all the value of His work associated with it. Though in itself unable to stand the fire of God’s holiness; yet, with Christ’s virtue added, it is accepted even as the Sheaf was accepted.
4. All the merits of the propitiatory sacrifices were needful to secure the acceptance of the leavened oblation. All the virtues of Christ’s sacrifice and offices of His priesthood are needful to ensure our acceptance with God, in consequence of the sin intermixed with our redeemed humanity. “The priests shall wave them with the bread of the first-fruits” (Leviticus 23:20). [Compare Jukes on the Offerings]
III. ALL THE OFFERINGS OF FIRST-FRUITS APPEARED BEFORE THE LORD.
1. Christ Himself entered into the Holy Place before the Lord. He ascended to the heavenly places.
2. His redeemed Church also entered accepted into the very presence of the Lord. “These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4).
3. Identified with Him in consecration to God, we shall be united with Him in the temple of God. “Where I am there also shall My servants be.” “Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am.” “By Man came also the resurrection of the dead.” “So shall they be for ever with the Lord.” [See Addenda, p. 29, Resurrection Emblems.]
OUTLINES ON VERSES OF CHAPTER 2
Leviticus 2:1.—Theme: THE PERFECT SUBDUEDNESS AND MEEKNESS OF CHRIST. “Fine flour.”
The types supply various aspects of Christ’s one work. “The Holy Spirit takes truth in portions, and seems sometimes to turn our eyes away from one portion of truth to let us see better some other portion, by keeping our attention for a time fixed on that alone” (Bonar). The Burnt offering has shown us Christ as the Devoted One, dedicating Himself and all His powers always to God. Now the Meat offering will reveal to us Christ in meek subduedness.
I. CHRIST WAS HERE TO DEVELOP A CHARACTER OF PERFECT SUBJECTION TO GOD.
1. Men had through all their history been marked by self will and arrogant insubordination to God. “Cedars of Lebanon high and lifted up.” “Pride compassed them about,” &c.
2. Among such Christ came to manifest implicit obedience and subjection. “Lo I come to do Thy will, O God.”
“Not My will but Thine be done.” Cheerful subservience to Another’s will, even through bitterness of suffering; meek submission to insult and reproach; gentle patience and kindness even to enemies—such were His characteristics.
II. CHRIST’S QUALITIES OF MEEKEST SUBDUEDNESS ARE TYPIFIED IN THE FOOD OFFERING. “Fine flour.”
1. There is no suggestion in the type of subduedness conferred. No millstone is seen grinding the corn into its smoothness. The flour is brought perfected in its fineness. Such was Christ as He came into the world: perfect in meekness and lowliness and every quality of submission. Affliction and suffering found these qualities in Him, as the fire on the altar found them in the flour; it did not produce them.
2. The invariable evenness of Christ’s submission is suggested. The meekness He manifested in the judgment hall and on the Cross was not more perfect than that which marked Him as He grew up in the home of Joseph and Mary, sharing their low estate. “He was subject unto them.” The excellencies of His character were intrinsic and essential. “Fine flour.”
(a) How contrasted is this excellency of Christ with the variable spirit and behaviour of His followers. John wished to call fire from heaven on others! Paul spake in anger, “God shall smite thee thou whited wall!” But the equability of Jesus never failed.
(b) Yet we may cultivate “the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” Guard against the hinderances to graciousness of character and the irritations which molest the spirit, and “learn of Him who was meek and lowly of heart.” [Compare Newton’s Thoughts on Leviticus.]
Leviticus 2:3—Theme: CHRIST THE FOOD OF PRIVILEGED SOULS. “The remnant of the Meat offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons.”
Before any portion went to supply the necessities of the ministering priests, note—
I IN THE OFFERING OF CHRIST WHICH IS DESIGNED TO SUSTAIN MAN’S LIFE, GOD HAD A PORTION. “A handful,” “the memorial” of the offering was first burned upon the altar. Even in devoting Himself to meet the hunger and wants of humanity, Christ did it as “an offering unto the Lord” He did all with His Father in first and highest thought.
II. IN THE OFFERING OF CHRIST PROVISION IS MADE FOR THE SPIRITUAL WANTS AND NEEDS OF MEN
1. In Christ Jesus will be found man’s sufficiency. The soul’s wants are all supplied in Him. Whoever drew upon Him and went away unsatisfied? What need, what trial, what demand of our manifold life does Christ not meet? He will satisfy us in every condition: when poor to give us succour, when weary to give us strength, when sorrowful to give us joy. Christ is our Food.
2. Yet it is limited to those who are in priestly relation to Him. Those who are “priests unto God”; all sanctified souls, who live to God, they will find in Jesus every true need met. Others may wander elsewhere crying, “Who will show us any good?” but “they who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts,” and these find “Christ is all in all.”
Leviticus 2:9.—Theme: A MEMORIAL ON GOD’S ALTAR. “The priest shall take of the meat offering a memorial thereof, and shall burn it upon the altar.” Consider—
I. ITS CONTRAST WITH A MEMORIAL OF INIQUITY.
In Numbers 5:11 we read of “an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.”
That was a food offering of barley meal, without oil, and without frankincense.
No intrinsic virtue, no sacred anointing, no pleasing grace.
The memorial was associated with sin, and the forerunner of a curse (Numbers 5:18).
How appalling if Christ’s offering were to—
1. Memorialise our guilt before God; and
2. Evoke a curse upon our conviction of wrong.
II. THE GRACIOUS SIGNIFICANCE IN CHRIST’S MEMORIAL OFFERING.
In this instance of the “memorial”—
1. It was rendered sweet to God by admixture of oil, frankincense and salt. A pleasant offering to Him, therefore. And assuredly no memorial of iniquity could be pleasant to God; it was a remembrance of the sacred grace of Christ for man.
2. It was designed to bring righteousness to remembrance. Christ’s precious merits. And going up before the Lord for us they represent the truth that by imputation those merits become ours, on whose behalf “the memorial” is burned on the altar.
Leviticus 2:9.—Theme: THOROUGHNESS IN SERVICE FOR THE LORD. “It is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord.”
I. COMPLETE CONSECRATION. Fire absorbs, transforms all.
II. ARDENT ENTHUSIASM. Fire intense, demonstrative, aggressive.
III. DIVINE APPROBATION. “The Lord.”
(a) Recognises such thorough service.
(b) Rejoices in such thorough service; “a sweet savour.”—F. W. B.
Leviticus 2:11.—Theme: PURITY IN SERVICE OF THE LORD. “Ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey.”
Service for the Lord to be—
I. Unmixed with impure influences. “Leaven” penetrates, and permeates, and transforms the meal into its own nature; evil spreads rapidly when entertained, has power to vitiate the heart, and corrupt religious work and worship.
II. Unmixed with sensual indulgences. “Honey” suggestive of self-gratification, of luxury to satiety. Appetites must be curbed, selfishness crucified; not the sweet and safe sought so much as the right and true. We need the thoughts of our hearts cleansed by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that motives and desires may be pure; for the outward act of service, however costly, is only an abomination if not offered from a sincere and sanctified heart.—F. W. B.
ILLUSTRATIVE ADDENDA TO CHAPTER 2
THE BEAUTIFUL IN WORSHIP
No sacred lore, howe’er profound,
Nor all the long and varied round
Of sacred rites, can bliss procure
For worthless man, in heart impure.
Altho’ a man with zeal and skill
Should all external rites fulfil,
He reaps no fruit of all his toil
If sin his inner man should soil.
E’en he his all in alms who spends,
With heart defiled, secures no meed;
The disposition, not the deed,
Has value—on it all depends.
Vayu Purana, viii. 190.
“’Tis first the true and then the beautiful,
Not first the beautiful and then the true.”
“Onward, onward may we press
Thro’ the path of duty;
Virtue is true happiness,
Excellence true beauty
Minds are of supernal birth,
Let us make a heaven of earth.”
The merely beautiful, external and œsthetic in worship is not enough, and is perilous when, as expressed in Aurora Leigh,
“The beautiful seems right
By force of beauty.”
“In the spirit of that significant Oriental usage which drops its sandals at the palace door, the decent worshipper will put off his travel-tarnished shoes, will try to divest himself of secular anxieties and worldly profits, when the place where he stands is converted into holy ground by the words, “Let us worship God!”—Dr. Jas. Hamilton.
SWEET INCENSE. Worship is the compound of many gracious ingredients—repentance, faith, contrition, desire, love, joy in God, and other graces Offered daily and inspired by the Spirit, such worship is no intrusion, but welcome before the Eternal Throne, performed with all the precious sweetness of the meritorious grace of Christ.
“The man who has adopted the Church as a profession, and goes through the routine of his duties with the coldness of a mere official—filled by him the pulpit seems filled by the ghastly form of a skeleton, which, in its cold and bony fingers, holds a burning lamp.”—Dr. Guthrie.
“A minister’s credentials as a pastor will be most readily accepted who shows himself the follower of One who turned and said to His disciples, ‘But I have called you friends’ ”—Anon.
“The Apostle saith that they are worthy of double honour, an honour of reverence and an honour of maintenance; and, doubtless, the very heathen shall rise up in judgment against many who profess the truth in this respect; for the heathen themselves did show such honour to their devilish priests that one of the Roman consuls seeing a priest and some vestal virgins going on foot, and he riding in his chariot, descended, and would not go into it again till those votaries were first placed.”—Bishop Reynolds.
“The spirit and manner of a minister often affects more than the matter.”—Cecil.
It is said of Whitefield, “So close was his communion with God before preaching, that he used to come down to the people as if there were a rainbow about his head.” And of the Rev. J. H. Stewart, “He was a precious box of ointment in a wounding world.” And of the Rev. J. H. Forsyth, “He did what thousands do, but he did it as not one in a thousand does.”
RESURRECTION EMBLEMS. “The very first employment of Israel in Canaan was preparing the type of the Saviour’s resurrection, and their first religious act was holding up that type of a risen Saviour.”—Bonar.
“The wheat sheaf was an earnest that the whole field should be reaped, as well as a sample of the harvest.… The ideas of pagans respecting the dead are suggested by the broken Corinthian pillar or the stringless harp.… The word cemetery, which means a sleeping-place, gives us the Christian idea for He ‘giveth His beloved sleep.’ ”—Pilkington.
CHARACTER. “Character is higher than intellect.”—Emerson.
“A soul of power, a well of lofty thought,
A chastened hope that ever points to heaven.” J. Hunter.
“When character is lost all is lost.”—German Motto.