And when any will offer a meat offering to the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil on it…
The fact that the law of the meat offering follows that of the burnt offering is itself significant. It suggests -
I. THE TRUE ORDER OF THE DIVINE LIFE IN MAN. It is, indeed, a mistake for the human teacher to attempt to lay down precise lines of thought and feeling along which souls must move. "The progress of religion in the soul" varies with individual experience. The action of God's Spirit is not limited, and while we should seek to lead all souls to walk in the road by which we are traveling, we should not be anxious that they should tread in our own steps. On the other hand, there is an order of thought and experience which may not be inverted. First the burnt offering, then the meat offering; first the soul's presentation of itself as a sinner to ask forgive-Hess and to offer itself to God, then the service of recognition of him and gratitude for his gifts. It is a serious, and may be a fatal, spiritual error to attempt to gain God's favour by doing those things which are appropriate to his children, without having first sought and found reconciliation through a crucified Saviour. Start at the starting-point of the Christian course, lest, when the goal is reached, the crown be not placed upon the brow.
II. OUR GRATEFUL RECOGNITION OF GOD'S CONSTANT GOODNESS TO US. The meat offering was a sacrifice in which the worshipper acknowledged that the various blessings of his life came from God and belonged to him. He brought fine flour (verse 1), and oil (verse 1), also wine as the accompanying drink offering (Leviticus 23:13). The chief produce of the land, the principal elements of food were, in a sacred hour, at the holy place, and, by a pious action, solemnly recognized as gifts of God, to be gratefully accepted from his hand, to be reverently laid on his altar. We are thankfully to acknowledge:
1. God's kindness in supplying us with that which we need. Bread (corn) will stand for that food which is requisite, and when we consider the goodness of our Creator,
(1) in originally providing that which is so wholesome and nourishing to all men;
(2) in multiplying it so freely that there is abundance for all;
(3) in causing it to be multiplied in such a way as ministers to our moral and spiritual health (through our intelligence, activity, cooperation, etc.);
(4) in making palatable and pleasurable the daily meals which would otherwise be (as sickness occasionally proves) intolerably burdensome; - we have abundant reason for blessing God for his kindness in respect of the necessaries of life.
2. His goodness in providing us with that which is superfluous. A very large part of the enjoyment of our life is in the use of that which is not necessary but agreeable; in the appropriation of that which is pleasant, - the exquisite, the harmonious, the fragrant, the delicately beautiful, etc. This also is of God. He "makes our cup to run over;" from him come the fruits and the flowers, as well as the corn and the grass. Nay, he has closely associated the superfluous with the necessary in nature as in human life. The common potato does not grow without bearing a beautiful flower, nor the humble bean without yielding a fragrant odour. As the Hebrew brought his oil and his wine to the altar of gratitude, so should we bring our thanksgiving for the delicacies, adornments, and sweetnesses which come from the bountiful hand of Heaven.
III. THE NECESSITY FOR PURITY IN OUR SERVICE, There might not be leaven nor honey (verse 11); there must be salt (verse 13). Everything associated with corruption must be avoided; that which was antiseptic in its nature should be introduced; "nothing which defileth" before him; the "clean hands and the pure heart" in "the holy place" (Psalm 24:3, 4). (See "Purity in worship," infra.)
IV. THE ACCEPTABLENESS OF OUR GRATITUDE TO GOD. All the frankincense was to be consumed on the altar, and the burning of the other offerings with this fragrant incense accompanying it betokened that it was, as stated, a "sweet savour unto the Lord" (verses 2, 12). God is not to be worshipped with men's hands, as though "he needed anything" (Acts 17:25); but he takes delight in his children:
1. Realizing his presence.
2. Recognizing his hand in their comforts and their joy.
3. Responding to his fatherly love with their filial gratitude and praise.
V. THE WHOLESOME INFLUENCE OF GRATEFUL SERVICE ON OUR OWN HEARTS. He who "knows what is in man," warned his people against saying in their heart, "My power and the might of my hand hath gotten me this wealth" (Deuteronomy 8:17). Such a sacrifice as that of the meat offering - a service of grateful acknowledgment of God's hand - is fitted to render us the greatest spiritual benefit, by:
1. Helping us to keep a humble heart before God.
2. Causing us to be filled with the pure joy of gratitude instead of being puffed up with the mischievous complacency of pride. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And when any will offer a meat offering unto the LORD, his offering shall be of fine flour; and he shall pour oil upon it, and put frankincense thereon: