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The Peace Offering of Thanksgiving
Leviticus 3:1.—A sacrifice of peace offering. Happy are the truths made evident in this peace sacrifice; delightful to God, blessed for man. Peace is established between God and the soul, reconciliation is realised; and the offerer comes to the altar with festive gladness in his heart. Yes, and God also, and the priests, and the offerer’s friends, all join in the sacrificial banquet of joy over peace restored. Its completeness was realised in Christ: “For He is our Peace, who hath made both one” (Ephesians 2:14). The angels’ carol has become translated into Christian experience—“On earth peace, goodwill toward men.” He who would enter into and enjoy “peace with God,” must bring the Redeemer’s “sacrifice of peace offering” (Romans 5:1)
Whether male or female. Unrestricted freedom in choice of the victim; as though God was so desirous of peace with man that every possible opportunity and convenience should be arranged for effecting conciliation. That is the lesson: and in the atonement of Calvary the plan of appeasement and acceptance is ready of access to every one. No difficulty, no embarrassment, is left by God in the way of our obtaining reconciliation and fellowship with Him.
Leviticus 3:2.—Lay his hand on … and kill it. Here is the crowning act of the sinner: act of identification with the very death of the victim. Who slew the Sacrifice? even he who lays his hand on Him in order to be saved; yes, saved by the death the sinner himself inflicted! Jesus claims the victim’s place; gives His life for man. Each altar sprinkled with blood proclaims the peace thus bought, peace bought by death. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him.”
Leviticus 3:3.—All the fat that is upon the inwards. In the burnt offering it was the fat connected with the limbs and external parts of the victim which God required; but in the peace sacrifice He specifically asks the inward fat which covers the vitals. This denoted inward health; and typified the inmost excellency of Christ. And as this was to be for God, placed and consumed upon His altar, it bespeaks now all the virtue and grace of Jesus in His own essential perfectness and preciousness were necessary to a satisfactory peace between God and man. For what inferior sacrifice could suffice? The enmity and outrage wrought by our sin and sinfulness were such that the most absolute excellence was essential in our propitiatory offering. But Christ offered “all” His virtue to God for us.
Leviticus 3:5.—On the altar upon the burnt sacrifice. Peace is not the first thing for man to seek with God, but satisfaction: that having been made in the burnt sacrifice, he may “burn” his peace offering “upon the burnt sacrifice.” No basis for peace except the sufferings of Christ. He having been offered in substitution for guilt we may lay our peace offering upon that Sacrifice.
Leviticus 3:11.—The food of the offering made by fire unto the Lord. God finds “food”—satisfaction, gratification—in the altar offering, in the excellencies of Christ devoted in sacrifice to win man’s acceptance. Grand truth: the presentation of atonement by Jesus for man’s peace yields to God a satisfying “food,” a substantial joy, which both fills all the Divine desires and answers all the Divine demands. The Saviour’s sacrifice was very precious to the holy God.
Leviticus 3:17.—Eat neither fat nor blood. As the “fat” symbolised the inmost virtue, this law claimed the best as God’s portion: and as the “blood” represented the life of the victim, this law claimed life as inalienably God’s. You owe Him your inmost affections, the most precious qualities of your being; yea, your whole life. Jesus gave them all to His Father: and we should also yield our noblest, our all.
i. The spiritual standing, or sacred qualification of the offerer. Peace offerings could be presented only by persons who had already obtained forgiveness of sins (by the sin and trespass offerings, comp. Leviticus 6:7), and had consecrated themselves as on the altar to Jehovah (by the burnt offering, comp. Leviticus 7:12), and were thus at peace with God.
This sacrificial regulation indicates an enduring spiritual law: that he who would enter into a state of friendship with God must first have secured expiation of his sins (sin offering), and have consecrated himself (burnt offering) and his substance (meat offering) to the Lord.
ii. Propitiation and self surrender are not absent even in presenting peace offerings. The blood of the victim was sprinkled on the altar, and portions of the carcass were burnt in the fire. Whereas the imposition of hands and slaughter of the substitute by the offerer betokened sense of condemnation and appeal to sovereign grace.
We cannot acceptably offer even sacrifices of peace and praise apart from the meritorious death and substitutionary atonement of Jesus.
iii. Peace offerings were various, both in the victims chosen and in the purpose for which they were offered.
(1) The victims: from the herds or flocks, male or female.
(2) The purpose: thank offerings, votive offerings, free-will offerings. The first expressed gratitude for God’s gracious favours; the second fulfilled a vow made on condition of receiving God’s goodness; the third entreated a mercy, but without conditions, as in a vow, retaining freedom to make return to the Lord as occasion served.
Great variety may mark our thank offerings to God, but the liberty leaves us without excuse if we render nothing to the Lord for all His benefits towards us.
iv. In the distribution of portions of the peace offering a sacrificial feast of fellowship was enacted.
A part to Jehovah, other parts to the priests, and the remainder to the offerer, all meeting in amity and peace, and joyously sharing in the sweet savour offering.
For the reconciliation of man to God, and Divine fellowship with man, occasioned heart gladness to the Divine Father (see parable of Prodigal Son), to the reinstated worshipper, and to the Daysman betwixt them who laid His hand on them both—the mediating Priest.
v. The part of the divided victims were specially apportioned, establishing a law of priority in sacred claims. To God the choicest parts first. These were burned on the altar, and became a “sweet savour unto the Lord.” To the community of priests (“the breast”), and to the officiating priest (“the right hind leg”) next, indicating grateful recognition of Priesthood ministries, specially Christ’s, and fellowship with the sacred priesthood of believers. The sacrificer retained the rest, but only that he, with his friends, might join the sacred repast, and thus emphasize the truth of the communion of saints; they and God’s household, and God Himself, all partaking of the one offering, as a feast of friendship and communion.
Our first aim should be to offer the worthiest to the Lord; next to own grateful obligations to the mediatorial service of Christ; then to establish festal relationship with the household of God, the household of faith. Self last in fellowship, no man living to himself. Christian life joyously communing with the Father, the Mediator, and the Church.
Topic: PEACE-OFFERING SACRIFICES (Leviticus 3:1-5)
I. HISTORIC INSTANCES OF PRESENTING THE PEACE OFFERING.
Scripture records of these occurrences are instructive. Some of the occasions when the offering was presented were Divinely appointed.
(a) At the consecration of priests for their holy office and ministry (Leviticus 7:30-34). (b) At the completion of the term of a Nazarite’s vow (Numbers 6:14). (c) At the dedication of the completed tabernacle (Numbers 7:17). (d) At the feast of the first-fruits (Leviticus 23:19); and (e) At the joyful opening of Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 8:63).
Others were spontaneous—
1. For signal experience of Providential deliverance. Thus (a) David in the hour of victory, when “his head was lifted up above his enemies round about him,” resolved to “sacrifice in God’s tabernacle sacrifices of joy” (Psalms 27:6). (b) Amid merciful rescues from peril, enumerated in Psalms 107:0, as when guided through a lone wilderness (Psalms 107:4), or brought out of sore oppression (Psalms 107:10-14), or upon recovery from wasting sickness (Psalms 107:18), or when the haven is reached after terrible voyage (Psalms 107:30), etc. Then “let them sacrifice the sacrifice of thanksgiving” (Psalms 107:22).
2. As the fulfilment of vows made in troublous circumstances. Thus Jonah “prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly” (Jonah 2:1), and vowed, when “salvation came to him of the Lord” (Leviticus 3:9), that he would sacrifice unto Him with the voice of thanksgiving, and pay that he had vowed” (Leviticus 3:9). [See also Psalms 116:3; Psalms 116:17-19.]
3. As a seal of fervent and trustful prayer. So did the confederate tribes before going to battle against the victorious Benjamites. They “went up and came to the house of God and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord” (Judges 20:26). [See Addenda, p. 38, Sacrifices of Peace.] Consider again the—
II. SACRED SENTIMENTS PROMPTING TO THE OFFERING OF THE PEACE SACRIFICES
Noting the attitude of thought, the feelings of heart, with which the sacrifices were presented, we shall realise the religious affections which found expression in this form of altar offering.
1. Prominent, as a motive to the peace offering, is thanksgiving. It presented a sacrifice of praise to God; it yielded an offering to Jehovah’s glory. This implies a heart of gratitude in man; a reverent sense of the goodness of God; a desire to perform some act to His glory and praise. In Leviticus 7:12 it is distinctly marked as intended “for a thanksgiving.” The worshipper should seek God not alone with requests, and under sense of danger or need, but with the homage of joy. “I will sacrifice sacrifices of joy. I will sing,” etc. (Psalms 27:6). “God hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” “What shall I shall render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me?” “Bless the Lord, O my soul,” etc. “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift.” We are to glorify God with praises. Hence the exhortation, “By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). [See Addenda, p. 38, Thanksgiving.]
2. Equally manifest, as a motive to the peace offering, is dedication. Thus it is provided that “the sacrifice of his offering [may] be a vow” (Leviticus 7:16). This means a consecration to some act of service for God. As the “sweet savour” ascended to God it bore to Heaven a hostage and pledge of practical godliness and grateful obedience which should follow. “Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Zion, and unto Thee shall the vow be performed” (Psalms 65:1). “I will go into Thy house with burnt offerings, I will pay Thee my vows which my lips have uttered, etc. I will offer unto Thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams,” etc. (Psalms 66:13-15). Christian life should assuredly be yielded in devotion to the Lord in return for the grace we have received.
III. GOSPEL REALISATIONS OF THE TYPICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PEACE OFFERINGS
1. The varieties in the victims symbolise the manifold aspects of Christ’s gracious offering. As in the burnt offering. [See on Chapter 1]
2. The different motives prompting the offering suggest the various purposes Christ’s sacrifice effected. His peace offering both was for God’s praise, in sinners reconciled; and for man’s dedication, in Christian lives being vowed and devoted to His service. For when “made nigh” in Christ it is our joy to live unto God in loving, willing obedience. Christ’s sacrificial life represented both significant aspects of the peace offering: it was an offering to Divine praise and glory, and an enactment of man’s grateful consecration to God.
3. The blessed reconciliation of God and man was sealed in the peace offering of Jesus. “Having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself,” etc. (Colossians 1:20).
IV. PRESENT-DAY OBLIGATIONS IN THE LIGHT OF THE ANCIENT PEACE OFFERINGS.
1. He who would offer praise to God must do so at the altar. That was the place where the offering was made. Nothing, no grateful affection, no dedicatory vow, may go from man to God irrespective of the altar. Nothing can be accepted, nothing is permitted, apart from Christ’s sacrifice. The peace offering must be “on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice” (Leviticus 3:5); something additional to and following upon Christ’s atoning merits. Gratitude is beautiful, dedication is right; but God will have neither—from sinful man—apart from the Saviour’s grace. These are lovely flowers which can only properly unfold and bloom under the radiance of the Cross.
2. Divine graciousness summons us to the sacrifices of thankful devotion. Not a moment but our hearts and lips should be pouring out streams of praise, the sweet savour of love, the homage of joy, the evidence that we are the Lord’s: “wherefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
3. Peace with God in Christ is the basis of a joyful godly life. Praise can only be where peace is realised and enjoyed. All our happiness rests on our being in Christ, partakers of “peace with God through Jesus.” Then we can “also joy in God” (Romans 5:1; Romans 5:11). And Christian life should “show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness,” etc. (1 Peter 2:9). Blessed peace which imparts such joy and inspires such praise!
Topic: THE FEAST OF MAN’S FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD (Leviticus 3:3; Leviticus 3:9; Leviticus 3:14; Leviticus 3:16)
“He shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering unto the Lord.” Not the whole, but a part was to be burnt on the altar fire, and “Aaron’s sons shall burn it—i.e., the specified portion which God required (see Leviticus 3:4). And this part participation by God is further particularised in Leviticus 3:16—“The priest shall burn them upon the altar; it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour; all the fat is the Lord’s.”
The remaining parts (chap. 7) were distributed to the priests who ministered and the offerer himself. Thus the peace offering was shared by God with man; they met together in a sacrificial feast, and partook of the same altar oblation. To eat together is a sign of friendship and fellowship.
I. SUCH PRIVILEGED COMMUNION BETWEEN GOD AND MAN IS ESTABLISHED ON SPECIAL CONDITIONS.
Who is the man who thus is admitted to feast with God? May anyone adventure into such privilege? Are there no restrictions or conditions regulating so wondrous an incident?
1. Fellowship between God and man must be at the altar of sacrifice. There, where sin is acknowledged, atoned and purged; where substitution is accepted for the life of sinful man; where “no condemnation” is attained by penalty having been laid upon the Victim. Only there can God meet man in friendship. Sacrifice must go first.
2. Fellowship proceeds on the recognition that we yield our highest affections and virtues first to God. That victim being offered is in the offerer’s stead, and represents man. What part of the man does God require? The very choicest part; just as He was to have the inmost vitalities and fat of the sacrifice. It means that before God can have blessed communion with man, man must give God his inmost affections and noblest powers in ready consecration; that, indeed, it is only in the act of such dedication of our highest qualities to Him God comes into fellowship with man at all. God would have refused to partake of the feast if any inferior part had been presented Him. We must bring our first energies, our purest love, if God is to “sup with us and we with Him” (Revelation 3:20).
3. Fellowship can only be enjoyed in connection with intervening priestly services. “Aaron’s sons,” etc. (Leviticus 3:2-4). No communion, no acceptance with God apart from the mediation of Jesus.
4. Fellowship with God requires that we associate His priests with us in the feast. [Compare chap Leviticus 7:14; Leviticus 7:31-35.] The lessons of this enactment are
(1) Generous attention to and support of those who minister to us in holy things. We “reap their spiritual things,” and should show appreciation.
(2) Communion with the saints who unite with us in temple service. All fellow Christians are “priests.”
(3) Largeness of heart in sharing with others the blessings we enjoy. Give a better portion to them than that we retain for ourselves. “Hospitality one to another without grudging” (1 Peter 4:9). In a feast the host gives the best to his guests. The idea is regal. We entertain the King and His courtiers, and place the choicest part of the banquet first before the King; then the best remaining portions we serve to His attendant ministers; for ourselves, happy and honoured that we may sit down at such a banquet and entertain such guests. [See Addenda, p. 38, Blessedness of Peace.]
II SUCH PRIVILEGED COMMUNION POURTRAYS THE JOYOUS EXPERIENCE OPEN TO MAN IN CHRIST
Felicity is the prevalent sentiment in such a feast. Joy with God; joy in Jesus; joy among fellow saints. But all this blessedness is in connection with a sacrificed life. As all our felicity springs from the redemption of Jesus.
1. God’s satisfaction and delight with the choice virtues of Jesus. Christ, as our Representative, is here giving Himself to God for us, and He finds sweet savoury food in the offering (Leviticus 3:11; Leviticus 3:16). “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” For the inmost affections of Jesus were all supremely consecrated to His Father. Yet there was also another cause of God’s delight in Jesus—that He offered Himself as the sacrifice for man’s salvation: “therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My life.” God looked on the altar, saw that to Him were yielded the best affections of His Son, and saw equally that His life was readily offered as a Peace Sacrifice for sinners, that the Father and the family might be again at one.
2. Man’s blessedness in the experiences of fellowship in Christ Jesus. Peace is not all we find in Him, but happiness, “joy unspeakable and full of glory”: “a feast of fat things.” Christian life is a banquet. “Eat, O my friends.” And it is a feast, not upon faulty and false diet, which mocks the cravings and hopes of men, but is upon an offering “without blemish,” the choicest of the flock. Christ Himself is the food of the believer.
“Yes. Thou art precious to my soul.”
Happy they who are “partakers of Christ Jesus,” and live upon Him. He “satisfies our mouth with good things,” and so daintily feasts the heart’s longings that “His joy remains in us, and our joy is full.”
Note: This feast of fellowship was both an expression of love by the offerer of the sacrifice, and in turn nourished that love in him by communion with God and His Church.
3. Christ’s own happiness in the feast of man’s fellowship with God. The priest had a choice part in the sacrifice. He who is “Priest over the house of God” shares in this glad banquet. Himself the Victim sacrificed, He is also the mediating and partaking Priest. How does this open to view the heart of Christ: He as mediating Priest joins in the gladness of the event of communion reinstated between God and man: feasts with us as the intervening Friend, and is satisfied with the portion which is His. For can our Lord be other than satisfied with His part in the transaction? It is through His mediation that God and men feast together. And in the delighted love of the Father and the grateful happiness of man Jesus finds a rich satisfaction: it is “the joy set before Him” for which He “endured the cross, despising the shame.”
(1) Into such a feast He asks to be admitted, as He appeals at the sinner’s heart: “Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man will hear My voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him and he with Me.”
(2) To such a feast He comes when His saints gather at the sacramental table. “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you.” “This do in remembrance of Me.” “There am I in the midst of you.”
(3) For such a feast He is preparing in the Father’s house. That “supper of the Lamb” was often in His thoughts when on earth (Luke 14:15; Luke 22:16; Luke 22:18). “He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Joy will indeed fill the Saviour’s heart then; for “He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
Topic: PEACE BY FULFILLING DIVINE CONDITIONS (Leviticus 3:2-5, etc.)
Temporal blessings God showers down alike upon the evil and the good. Unsolicited He loads mankind daily with His benefits. But for spiritual blessings He will be inquired of. Specified means must be employed that pardon and peace may be enjoyed. The first part of the peace offering was expiatory; then came the Eucharistic feast.
I. THE OFFERING WAS TO BE CAREFULLY CHOSEN. The strongest, best and purest parts were to be kept exclusively sacred to the Lord. Everything was to be done in order, and according to minute directions.
II. THE OFFERING WAS TO BE PERSONALLY APPROPRIATED. No offering by proxy; each offerer to offer for himself with his own hands. Not enough to purpose in the heart, to have sound views and clear knowledge of what required. The act must promptly, personally be performed.
III. THE OFFERING WAS TO BE CHEERFULLY PRESENTED. (This fully shown in chap. 7.) All not to be consumed as in holocaust; the offered had anticipation of partaking with priests of residue in joyful fellowship.
Our inestimable privilege is to have fellowship with the Father and with His Son Christ Jesus, who has left to the world through His Church the Divine legacy of Peace. He is our peace, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us and God.—F. W. B.
Topic: PEACE RESULTING FROM PROPITIATION (Leviticus 3:1-17)
Reconciliation and restoration to God bring peace; hence the peace offering, so peculiarly significant of tranquil joy, follows the burnt and meat offerings. In this festival God, the priests, and the people partook together. It signified to complete, to make whole, and was therefore a symbol of fulness, fellowship, and friendship. In it God showed not only that He is to be ministered to by man, but also that He delights to minister to man. The great truth taught is, that reconciliation to God leads to intimate communion with Him.
I. Great freedom was allowed in selection of the Offerings. Any sacrificial animal of either sex, or of any age, might be offered, so long as it was without blemish. The worshipper could suit his own convenience, the demand made was in no way exacting or irksome. The commandments of God are not grievous: we are only expected to offer according to our ability, but what we offer must be the best we have, and offered in a right spirit. “Whether we eat or drink,” etc.
II. Great freedom was allowed in participation of the Offering. Part was to be presented to the Lord, part eaten by the priests, and part by the people; so that God and man, Heaven and earth, would hold festival together, in one solemn covenant. Such a condition of peace was one of the great moral wants of man, for sin had estranged man from God and thrown discord into the human family. This offering proclaimed peace on earth, goodwill to men. Christ our Peace invites us to His table to hold communion with Him, and feed by faith on the sacrifice He has provided. This life of happy communion with God in Christ is the prelude of, and preparation for, the marriage supper of the Lamb.—F. W. B.
OUTLINES ON VERSES
Leviticus 3:1.—Theme: FAULTLESSNESS IN SACRIFICE. “He shall offer it without blemish unto the Lord.”
I. AS REPRESENTING THE PURITY OF HIM TO WHOM THE OFFERING WAS PRESENTED.
II. AS PRESHADOWING THE PURITY OF HIM WHOM THE OFFERING TYPIFIED.
III. AS SYMBOLISING THE PURITY DESIDERATED BY THE OFFER OF THE SACRIFICE.
Our offerings to the Lord must be complete and pure—by association with the merits of Christ’s perfect sacrifice, and prompted by motives made pure by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost.—F. W. B.
Leviticus 3:2.—Theme: IDENTIFICATION OF THE OFFERER WITH THE OFFERING. “And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the offering, and kill it at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (Leviticus 3:2).
I. ACTUAL CONTACT.
“Lay hand on,” sig. (a) apprehension, (b) appropriation, (c) identification.
II. ACTUAL COMMITTAL.
“And kill it,” offerer’s own act, acknowledging he deserved to die as the victim his substitute, died. This would (a) teach the heinousness of sin that it needed the sacrifice of life, (b) beget hatred for sin upon which Jehovah thus placed Divine displeasure.
By act of faith we must lay our hand upon the sacred head of Christ, and have a personal interest in His life and death.—F. W. B.
Leviticus 3:3.—Theme: GOD’S POSITIVE COMMANDS. “And he shall,” &c.
God’s commands to Israel peremptory. How they were to worship, what they were to sacrifice, arbitrarily stated. Though commands are imperious, people are under moral obligations to obey. No room for option or exception when precept associated with unequivocal “shall.” Such commands—
I. EXHIBIT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE LORD He has right to command without giving reasons or explanations. He has right to do what He pleases with His own.
II. EXERCISE THE FAITH AND PATIENCE OF THE WORSHIPPERS. To obey precepts the reasons for which were hidden would show greater confidence and resignation than were reasons seen.
III. EXALT THE OBEDIENCE OF THE LIFE. The people not required to offer that which cost them nothing, or they would have had mean ideas of worship. God demands large things of us, and “blessed are they that do His commandments.”—F. W. B
Leviticus 3:8.—Theme: PEACE ASSOCIATED WITH PENITENCE AND PRAYER. “He shall lay his hand upon the head of his offering.”
Until sin is pardoned there can be no real peace, no real enjoyment of the Divine presence. This truth comes out in all the offerings, for every sacrifice was to be the symbol of the broken and contrite heart of the offerer. God was pleased with the sufferings of the victims slain and the savour of their burning carcasses only as they represented the self-surrender of the worshipper, and the incense of holy prayer ascending from the penitent spirit.
I. In the peace offering the offerer acknowledged his guilt. As he laid his hand upon the head of the victim at the Tabernacle door he owned that he was guilty and deserved to die. It would be a public confession of guilt and the need of atonement for offences.
II. In the peace offering the offerer transferred his guilt. God accepted a substitute for the guilty one who deserved to die. Probable that the Hebrews felt more was included in their offerings than they could then see, that they pointed to a greater sacrifice yet to be offered in God’s good time, upon whom would be laid the iniquity of us all.
The privileges associated with Peace offerings would awaken praise. The offerer would stand in the attitude of prayer, as with eyes lifted to Heaven he presented his oblation; he would be filled with praise, as in the house of the Lord he enjoyed peaceful communion. When we commune with God, let us blend penitence, prayer, and praise, remembering blessings received, anticipating blessings to come. With such sacrifices God is well pleased, and in association with them he imparts his own peace, which passeth all understanding.—F W. B.
Leviticus 3:5—Theme: SUCCESSION IN SACRIFICES. “Burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire.”
There is order established by God in—
I. THE SUCCESSIVE SACRIFICIAL OFFERINGS REQUIRED.
1. First on the altar must be laid the burnt offering, which must “all” be burnt, for God required complete consecration of Christ in death to satisfy the fire of His holiness, the demands of His righteous law.
2. Then follows the meat offering, which signifies the presentation of the best and richest life in substitution for man. It asserted His requirement of the first and finest qualities of humanity. Christ must offer His perfect manhood in living form as an obedience offering. Which means, that when God’s holiness finds satisfaction in Christ’s death, Jehovah still demands the full offering of the redeemed man’s living obedience.
3. The peace sacrifice then may be presented, and the man who has satisfied Justice in the death of Christ, and yielded obedience in the life of Christ, may enter into fellowship and peace through Christ. [See Addenda, p. 38, Terms of Peace.]
II. THE SUCCESSIVE SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENTS REACHED.
1. Whole surrender to God. The burnt offering required and enforced that attainment. The redeemed soul lays itself wholly on the altar, is wholly consumed in dedication to God.
2. Perfectness of character; the excellencies of obedience, pure uncorruptness of heart; the submissiveness of will. These are reached in succession, and are suggested in the meat offering.
3. Fellowship with God. Feasting in the blessedness of peace and acceptance with Him in and through Christ Jesus. “O God I will praise Thee, for though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou comfortest me.”
III. THE SUCCESSIVE REALISATIONS OF CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE.
1. Acceptance. That is assured as the fruit of the burnt offering. It is offered “for acceptance” (see on Leviticus 1:5), and God does accept the entire sacrifice for atonement.
2. Spiritual graces. The beauties of Christ become ours; the charms of the anointing Spirit rest on us. “The frankincense, oil, salt,” etc.
3. Joyous communion with God. Raised into blissful privilege, feasting with the Lord and His priests. “Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
IV. THE SUCCESSIVE RELIGIOUS OBLIGATIONS URGED.
Not fellowship and privilege first, but first entire dedication.
Then cultivation of spiritual excellencies.
Following these comes glad fellowship with heaven.
Leviticus 3:16.—Theme: GOD DESERVES AND DEMANDS THE BEST. “All the fat is the Lord’s.”
I. Not the mere bones of rigid formalism.
II. Not the mere sinews of strenuous observances.
III. Not the mere skin of outward profession.
IV. Not the mere blood of ardent enthusiasm, but the—
V. “Fat”—the richest, fullest, best that we can offer: not lean, shrivelled work or worship, but “the fat for the Lord,” the most prime and precious we can procure. Let us give our youth and strength, our richest love and fullest fervour to Him who is worthy of all.—F. W. B.
Leviticus 3:17.—Theme: OBEDIENCE THE TEST OF FAITH. “It shall be a perpetual statute.”
It would require faith to constantly obey, for the offerings would seem to be—
I. AN INFLICTION OF NEEDLESS PAIN.
II. A WASTE OF VALUABLE LIFE.
III. UNEQUAL TO THE END DESIGNED:—that there should be any correspondence between the physical suffering of brutes and atonement for moral guilt of man.
We cannot formulate a rationale of the great Peace offering presented in the Gospel. It is beset with formidable difficulties Faith, not reason, must lead us to the Cross, the hand of simple trust must appropriate the blessings of salvation.
Note: The CULPABILITY OF DISOBEDIENCE.
To omit obedience to the statutes of Jehovah was sin, because of transgression of His law.
Omission would spring from
(4) rebellion. So now to invitations and commands of Gospel. Christ taught that sins of omission were culpable and condemnatory. The rich man in the parable omitted to care for Lazarus. The man who did not use his talent was punished. The wicked in the day of judgment are represented as being punished for omissions (Matthew 25:31-46).—F. W. B.
ILLUSTRATIVE ADDENDA TO CHAPTER 3
SACRIFICES OF PEACE. “They were either intended to testify thankfulness for blessings already received, in which view they are called ‘thank offerings’ in Coverdale’s translation; or were else votive, being offered with prayer for future blessings. No doubt they were sometimes both in one … Only the fat parts were consumed on the altar. A small portion was appropriated to the priest the rest being allowed to the offerer and his guests as an offering feast. Whence Dr. Boothroyd, following Michaelis, prefers to translate Shelamim by ‘feast sacrifice’ rather than ‘peace offering.’ ”—Kitto.
PEACE OF THE GOSPEL. It is a great mercy to have the Gospel of peace, but it is far greater to have the peace of the Gospel.
BLESSEDNESS OF PEACE. “If joy be love exulting, peace is joy reposing. It is love in the green pastures and beside the still waters.”—Dr. James Hamilton.
Father of life and light! Thou good Supreme!
Save me from folly, vanity and vice,
From every low pursuit; and feed my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue pure,
Sacred, substantial, never-fading bliss!
ON EARTH PEACE. “People are always expecting to get peace in heaven; but you know whatever peace they get there will be ready made. Whatever, of making peace they can be blest for, must be on the earth here.”—RUSKIN, Eagle’s Nest.
TERMS OF PEACE
“The consciousness of faith of sins forgiven,
Of wrath appeased, of heavy guilt thrown off,
Sheds on my breast its long-forgotten peace.”
L. J. HALL, Miriam.
THANKSGIVING. “Praise is the rent we owe to God, and the larger the farm the larger the rent. The Lord has many fine farms from which He receives little rent. Thanksgiving is a good thing; thanks-living is better.”—P. HENRY.
Life work. “Let not thy praises be transient—a fit of music, and then the instrument hung by the wall till another gaudy day of some remarkable providence make thee take it down. God comes not guest wise to His saints’ house, but to dwell with them. David took this up for a life work: ‘As long as I live I will praise thee.’ ”—Gurnall.
Constant. “There was a beautiful tradition among the Jews which Lancisius quotes from Philo. It is to this effect: When God had created the world, He asked the angels what they thought of the work of His hands. One of them replied that it was so vast and perfect that only one thing was wanting to it, namely that there should be created a clear, mighty and harmonious voice, which should fill all the quarters of the world incessantly with its sweet sound, thus day and night to offer thanksgiving to its Maker.”—F. W. FABER.
“And touched their golden harps, and hymning praised
God and His works.”
MILTON, Paradise Lost.
“Now God be praised, that to believing souls
Gives light in darkness, comfort in despair.”
Henry VI. ii. 3, § 1.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Leviticus 3". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany