And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
We gather from this clause -
I. THAT HOLINESS BECOMES THE HOUSE OF GOD. It seems generally agreed that the linen garments, in which the priests were to be robed when engaged in sacrificial acts (verse 10), signified the purity of heart which should characterize the worshipper of God (see Exodus 28:42; Ezekiel 44:19). Certainly it is only the "pure in heart" who can hope to "see God," either by faith here or in beatific vision hereafter (see Psalm 93:5).
II. THAT THERE IS NO DRUDGERY IN THE SERVICE OF GOD. Very homely and humble details of sacred work were to be done by the officiating priest. He was to be very careful as to the clothes he wore, changing them at regulated times (verses 10, 11); he was to "take up the ashes... and put them beside the altar" (verse 10), and to "carry forth the ashes without the camp," etc. (verse 11). These acts were mean enough in themselves. Elsewhere they would have been accounted menial, but in so sacred a service as the direct worship of Jehovah they acquired sanctity, and even dignity. They were solemn ceremonies, reverently performed. The slightest engagement in the worship of God deserves to be esteemed sacred (Psalm 84:10). Any humble deed done or simple word spoken,
(1) as in the presence of the observing and approving Master, or
(2) consciously and designedly for the glory of his name, or
(3) as unto one for whom he died and whom he loves (Matthew 10:40-42),
rises to high rank in the esteem of Heaven. The cheerful, loving service of a Divine Redeemer does not contain one act of drudgery; it is all upon the high level of holy, happy, elevating service.
III. THAT THERE MUST BE CONSTANCY IN OUR CONSECRATION TO GOD. "The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out" (verse 13). As soon as the victim was slain and his shed blood was sprinkled on the altar, there was forgiveness and acceptance, and the burning of the whole animal by the heaven-kindled fire indicated the accepted consecration of the offerer. When, therefore, the priest was instructed to keep the fire perpetually burning on the altar, it signified God's readiness to receive the perpetual devotion of the Israelites themselves to him and to his service. To us the most instructive lesson it conveys is that we must keep steadily and unfailingly burning the fire of consecration in our hearts; - that must "never go out."
1. The passions of youth must not be permitted to extinguish it.
2. Nor the toils and anxieties of our prime.
3. Nor the mysterious and perplexing troubles that, like whelming billows (Psalm 42:7), go over us.
4. Nor the distressing doubts which the enemies of the faith raise within us.
5. Nor the comforts and indulgences of prosperous periods in our life. It must be diligently and devoutly fed by
(1) earnest thought - meditation;
(2) regular worship with the people of God;
(3) steadfast Christian work; and
(4) the private believing prayer which finds such utterance as this, "O thou who earnest from above!" etc. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,