Speak to the children of Israel, saying…
In the case of the peace offerings, there was a recognition of rights due to God, to his priests, and to the people presenting the victims.
I. THE PORTION RESERVED FOR GOD. The fat parts and the bleed were not to be eaten by man; the former must be burnt upon the altar, the latter poured out at its foot. There are claims God will not waive. The homage man owes to his Maker can never be remitted. Full trust and unfaltering obedience can be demanded only by an Infinite Being. Life must be acknowledged as dependent upon him. "The blood is the life," and for the Israelite to drink it is to be cut off from the congregation. The choicest portions belong to God. He will not put up with inferior parts. They mock him who fancy that a remnant of time and money and strength will suffice for his service.
II. THE SHARE ALLOTTED TO THE PRIESTS. God takes care of his chosen servants, provides amply for their wants. The priests devoted wholly to the work of the tabernacle shall not be forgotten, but considered as one with their Master, so that whenever he is honoured they shall be likewise thought of. To wear God's uniform is to be well eared for, to receive good wages, to be sure of a pension. Once taken into his employ, our future comfort is assured. And those who preach the gospel may claim to live by it. See this principle enunciated and inculcated in 1 Corinthians 9:7-14. Variety is secured. Food to cat, skins to wear. The atonement of the priest "covered" the sinner, and the covering of the animal was naturally appropriated to the use of the officiating priest. Both flour and flesh fell to the lot of the priests. The quality shall not be inferior. Portions are selected, the breast and the shoulder, which were counted as most delicate in flavour and nutritious in substance. Why should God's messengers yield to fear lest they should be neglected? He feedeth the ravens, clothes the lilies in splendour, and will not forsake those whom he has called to do his work in the world.
III. THE REMAINDER HANDED BACK TO THE PEOPLE. We have not to do with an avaricious, unreasonable God. He might justly have claimed the absolute disposal of all brought to his shrine as an offering, but he graciously received a "memorial" for himself and a portion for his ministers, and the rest was returned to the worshippers, consecrated, and for their festal enjoyment, Let us but acknowledge God's requirements, and we shall find that we are not debarred from the innocent pleasures of life, but can enter upon them with sacred enhancing zest. By spending money in the purchase of ointment for the Saviour, Mary did not deprive herself of all her store, but rather increased the satisfaction with which she indulged in the customary household expenses. We are sure that the widow who cast her all into the treasury was not allowed to remain utterly destitute. She had really made a profitable investment of her little capital. Emptying her hands was only preparatory to having them filled. How ennobling the thought of being sharers with God and his servants! We all partake of the same food, and are made "one bread and one body" (1 Corinthians 10:17). There is better sauce than hunger! It consists in previous dedication to God. Selfish exclusion of the rights of God diminishes the intensity and narrows the sphere of our delights. Not the miser, but the Christian donor, knows the joys of property. - S.R.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, He that offereth the sacrifice of his peace offerings unto the LORD shall bring his oblation unto the LORD of the sacrifice of his peace offerings.