Religion a Practical Thing
Ezekiel 45:13-15
This is the oblation that you shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat…

In the infancy of the world outward symbol was more needed for the religious instruction of men than it is today. In the sacred ceremonies of the temple every man had a part to take. Religious truth can better be impressed upon the mind when outward action accompanies inward sentiment. Religion requires the loyalty and service of the entire man; and if convictions of religious duty can be wrought into the soul, it is cheaply purchased by the devotement of our wealth to God. No cost is too great by which we can gain adequate appreciation of our indebtedness to God. God's requirements and our advantage are identical; they are interwoven like light and heat in solar rays.

I. RELIGION EMBRACES MANY ELEMENTS. There were required "meat offerings, and burnt offerings, and peace offerings." Each of these had a distinct meaning, and represented a distinct need of man. In true religion there enters the sentiment of reverential homage, gratitude for gifts received, acknowledgment of transgression, application for larger blessing, vows of fresh service, intercession on behalf of others. Offerings for ourselves, for our household, for the nation, are suitable; and in desiring the good of others, our benevolent nature expands, we get a larger good ourselves. The expansion of the soul is real gain.

II. RELIGIOUS WORSHIP IS BEST EXPRESSED BY PERSONAL OFFERINGS. Wheat, barley, lambs, heifers, oil, were to be the staple of the people's offerings. It is of the first importance that men should feel that God is the Creator and Giver of all good. We are absolutely dependent on his bounty. To live in the hourly realization of this dependence is blessing unspeakable. Nor can any arrangement better promote this end than the regular offering of such things as God has conferred. We owe to him our all, our whole being, our entire possessions. But he graciously accepts a part as acknowledged tribute, and gives in return a substantial blessing upon the remainder. Best of all, he uses our gift as a channel through which to pour new blessing and joy into our own souls. Our spontaneous offerings foster the growth of faith and love and spiritual aspiration. "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

III. RELIGIOUS OFFERINGS SHOULD BE PROPORTIONAL TO OUR PROSPERITY. The man that supposes God to be an austere Taskmaster is a precipitant blunderer. He has grossly missed the truth. God does not require gigantic offerings. He requires gifts simply proportionate to our possessions. The gift of ten thousand pounds may be in the balance of righteousness only a paltry and selfish deed. The giver may be seeking only self-interests or human fame. The gift of a farthing may win the smile of Jehovah. The magnitude of our offering is measured by the motive that prompts it, the end sought, and the residue that remains. According to this spiritual calculation, the woman who gave all she had gave transcendently more than the rich donors of golden shekels. The offering of our heart's warm love is the noblest tribute which God appreciates, and unless our gifts are the outflow and manifestation of our love, they are rejected as worthless, they are like smoke in one's eyes. "That which is highly esteemed among men is often an abomination in the sight of God."

IV. FIDELITY TO GOD BRINGS THE LARGEST BENEFITS TO MEN. The end of such offerings among the Jews was "to make reconciliation for them, saith the Lord God." Yet we shall grossly err if we look upon this as a commercial bargain. Reconciliation with God cannot be purchased with gold, or tithes, or animal sacrifices. Reconciliation is the outcome of God's grace; but to bestow it upon rebellious men indiscriminately would be a waste and a crime. The grace that has originated reconciliation must prepare men's hearts to possess it. This omnipotent kindness of God moves the sinner's heart to repentance. His desire for God's friendship expresses itself in prayer and in substantial offerings. To obtain such a heavenly boon he is willing to make any sacrifice. Such good does his conscience perceive to dwell in God's favor that obedience to his will is a delight, a very luxury to the soul. As a child finds a delicious joy in pleasing its parent, and runs cheerfully to do that parent's will, so the repentant man loyally responds to God's commands, and at the altar of sacrifice implores to be reconciled. To have God as his Friend is his supreme desire, his supreme good. "In his favor is life, his loving-kindness is better than life." - D.

Parallel Verses
KJV: This is the oblation that ye shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of wheat, and ye shall give the sixth part of an ephah of an homer of barley:

WEB: This is the offering that you shall offer: the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of wheat; and you shall give the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of barley;

Piety and Equity
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