And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
It is open to question whether the prohibition (verses 3, 4) extends to all animals killed for feed, or only to those slain in sacrifice. The former view is, in my judgment, the correct one; for
(1) the instruction is explicit enough (verses 3, 4), and without qualification;
(2) the limitation is afterwards allowed in consideration of the change of circumstance (Deuteronomy 12:20, 21); and
(3) the difficulty in the case is less on consideration than it at first appears. It is objected that this would be a burdensome prohibition; but
(a) it only lasted (see above) while they were in the camp, near to one another, and all near to the tabernacle; and
(b) much less flesh was eaten there and then than is eaten here and now. A more largely vegetable diet would probably be wholesome for us; it was undoubtedly so in the desert of Arabia. When we more carefully consider this precept, we see its beneficent character; we perceive -
I. A FATAL EVIL, FROM WHICH IT WAS DESIGNED TO SAVE THEM. The practices of Egypt clung to them; among these was demon-worship (verse 7). They had gone after those demons, and offered sacrifices to them. If any animal might be killed anywhere for food, and the blood of it might not be eaten (Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26), there would be a strong temptation to the superstitious to pour it out in sacrifice to those demons of whose malignant interposition they were afraid. This temptation must, at all cost, be guarded against. It would introduce or foster that idolatrous usage from which it was the supreme object of all these statutes to keep Israel free. And if no animal might be slain save at the tabernacle door, there would be no danger of this disastrous lapse into Egyptian superstition.
II. THE GOOD IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO THEM. It would confer a threefold boon upon them.
1. It would bring them often to the tabernacle, and so to the near presence and worship of God; it would multiply their sacrifices (verses 5, 6).
2. It would lead them to associate their material blessings with the Divine hand; presenting them unto the Lord, they could not fail to be reminded that they were his gifts.
3. It would help them to look on Jehovah as their Divine Friend. These became peace offerings (verse 5), and the essential thought of such offering was human fellowship with God. We detect here some useful suggestions as to the true character of Christian service.
1. We must not make our Christian worship too deprecatory in its character. There is something painfully and dangerously like demon-worship in the devotion of some men; they seldom rise above the deprecatory in their thought, as if God were a being so stern and so reluctant to forgive that his people should spend all their devotional breath in deprecating his wrath. Surely to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ we should bring, beside this, our adoration, praise, gratitude, trust, love, consecration, etc.
2. We must learn to connect daily blessings with the Divine hand. We should, in thought though not in act, bring everything we have to "the door of the tabernacle," trace each good thing we enjoy to the generous Giver of all, to his heart of love as well as to his hand of bounty.
3. We should bless God for revealing himself to us as our Divine Friend, in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has taught us to think and feel that we are the friends and guests of God (John 15:14, 15; John 14:23; Revelation 3:20). - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,