Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, If any man of you bring an offering to the LORD…
All who know God are engaged, frequently, if not continually, in sacrificing unto him. Here are principles of sacrifice by which we may be guided.
I. THAT GOD DESIRES AND DEMANDS THE BEST WE CAN BRING. If the offering were of the herd, it was to be a "male without blemish" (verse 3); so also if of the flock (verse 10). Not that which was of small account and could be well spared, but the worthiest and best. The best for the Highest. Not "that which costs us nothing" (2 Samuel 24:24) for him who has given us everything; rather the costliest of our treasures for him who, "though he was rich, for our sakes became poor." We may well break the rarest alabaster for him whose "body was broken" for our sin; may well pour out the most precious spikenard for him who poured out his life-blood for our redemption. "Worthy is the Lamb to receive riches" (Revelation 5:12). When we worship him, or work for him, or give to his cause, we should bring, not our exhaustion, but our vigour; not our languor, but our energy; not costless effort, but that which has taken time and trouble to produce - the gold rather than the silver, the silver rather than the pence; not anything that will pass in the sight of man, but the very best we can bring to his presence.
I. THAT GOD ACCEPTS THE BEST WE ARE ABLE TO BRING. If he could not afford a bullock, the Hebrew worshipper might bring a sheep; or if that were beyond his means, a turtle-dove or pigeon (verses 2, 10, 14). God accepts gifts "according to that a man hath," etc. (2 Corinthians 8:12). He who approved the widow's mites more than the rich men's gold still "sits over against the treasury," and accepts what we can bring, however humble it be, if we bring with it "the willing mind." In the balances of heaven a conversation in a garret by the bedside of a pauper may weigh more than the greatest sermon before the noblest audience.
III. THAT GOD REQUIRES THE FULL CONSENT OF OUR OWN MIND. "He shall offer it of his own voluntary will" (verse 3). The excellency, the beauty, the acceptableness of our offering lies largely in the hearty good will with which we bring it. "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). (See 1 Chronicles 29:6, 9.)
IV. THAT OUR OFFERING MUST BE MADE CONSCIOUSLY UNTO THE LORD. He shall offer it "before the Lord" (verse 3); he shall kill it "before the Lord" (verse 11). When the victim was slain the offerer was to have in his mind the presence of God, and was to present it consciously to him. Whatever form our sacrifice may take - prayer, praise, inquiry of the Lord, contribution, exhortation - it must be not mechanical, but spiritual; it must be religious; it must be rendered "as to the Lord, and not unto men."
V. THAT GOD DESIRES OBEDIENCE IN THINGS BEYOND OUR UNDERSTANDING. Doubtless the priests of the tabernacle failed to see the import of many of the Divine directions. The people also must have been at a loss to understand the reason of many details of the service (verses 6, 8, 11, 15, 17). But both priests and people were required to conform under penalty of severe displeasure. In many things unintelligible to them do our children and the uninstructed conform, because they rightly trust to those who are older and wiser. There are many things concerning which we have all to feel ourselves to be the little children we really are in the presence of the heavenly Father, and we must do unquestioningly what he bids us. Let us try strenuously to understand, and when we fail to reach the Divine meaning, trustfully conform.
VI. THAT THERE CAN BE NO WASTE IN THE FULLEST SACRIFICE WE LAY ON HIS ALTAR. In the burnt offering the whole victim was consumed; no part was saved for food. "To what purpose is this waste?" is it asked? We reply:
1. That the God in whom we live and whose we are is worthy of everything we can offer him.
2. That we never so truly realize the end and reach the height of our manhood as when we are devoting ourselves to God.
3. That we may count on a large and generous response at his liberal hand.
4. That we gain in spiritual profit far more than we lose in material reduction. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock.