And the LORD called to Moses, and spoke to him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,…
cf. Romans 12:1. - We start with the assumption that the Book of Exodus presents "the history of redemption." It is an account of how the Lord delivered the people he had chosen out of bondage, and brought them to himself (Exodus 19:4). It contains, moreover, an account of the erection of the tabernacle, or "tent of meeting," where God proposed to dwell as a Pilgrim in the midst of a pilgrim people, and out of which would issue his commands as their Guide and Leader. In this Book of Leviticus, then, we have the Lord speaking "out of the tent of meeting" (verse 1), that is, to a people in covenant relations with himself. This helps us to understand why the "burnt offering" is treated first. Not only was it the very oldest offering, but it was to be the daily offering (Numbers 29:6); morning and evening was a holocaust to be presented to the Lord. It was, therefore, manifestly meant to express the proper state or condition of those professing to be God's covenant people. It is on this account that we entitle this a homily on Entire Consecration.
I. THIS IDEA OF ENTIRE CONSECRATION IS ONE WHICH ALL CLASSES OF GOD'S PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED TO EXPRESS. The poor, who could only bring "turtle-doves" or "young pigeons," the representatives of domestic fowls at that time, were just as welcome at the tabernacle as those who could bring lambs or bullocks. Consecration is an idea which can be carried out in any worldly condition. The poor widow with her two mites carried it out more gloriously than her neighbours in the midst of their abundance. Complete self-surrender is not the prerogative of a class, but the possibility and ideal of all.
II. CONFESSION OF SIN IS AN EXPECTED PRELIMINARY TO CONSECRATION. the Jew, whatever was his grade in society, was directed either expressly to "lean" (סָמַך) his hand upon the head of his offering, or, as in the case of the fowls where it was physically impossible, to do so by implication; and this was understood to represent, and some believe it to have been regularly accompanied by, confession of sin. Of course, confession of sin is not of the essence of consecration; we have in the case of our blessed Lord, and of the unfallen angels, similar consecration, where no sense of sin is possible. And we are on the way to consecration in the other life, divorced from the sense of sin. Meanwhile, however, confession is only just, since sin remains with us. Indeed, the consecration of redeemed sinners will not prove very deep or thorough where confession of sin is omitted.
III. THE SPECTACLE OF A SUBSTITUTE DYING IN OUR ROOM AND STEAD IS WELL FITTED TO DEEPEN OUR SENSE OF CONSECRATION. The slaughter of the animal, upon whose head the sins have by confession been laid, must have exercised upon the offerer a very solemnizing influence. There is nothing in like manner so fitted to hallow us as the spectacle of Jesus, to whom these sacrifices pointed, dying on the cross in our stead. The love he manifested in that death for us constrains us to live, not unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15). The moral power of substitution cannot be dispensed with in a sinful world like this.
IV. THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE BLOOD UPON THE ALTAR, THAT IS, OF LIFE AFTER THE DEATH-PENALTY HAS BEEN PAID, ALSO HELPS TO DEEPEN THE SENSE OF CONSECRATION'. For when the priest by Divine direction, sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice all round about upon the altar, it was to indicate the acceptance on God's part of the life beyond death. It indicated that God was satisfied with the substitution, that the penalty had been paid by the death of the victim, and that in consequence the blood, that is, the life - for the life was in the blood (Leviticus 17:11) - could be accepted. Acceptance in and through another was what this portion of the ritual implied, and this is well calculated to deepen the sense of consecration. For, according to the typology, the Person in whom we are accepted is he to whom we ought to be consecrated. It is when we realize that we are accepted in Christ that we feel constrained to dedicate ourselves unto him. The one good turn deserves another, and we are held. under a sense of sweetest obligation.
V. THE CONSECRATION OF THE CHILD OF GOD IS THE COMPLETE SURRENDER OF SELF TO THE OPERATION OF THE HOLY GHOST. Ewald has most pertinently remarked that among the Greeks and other nations such holocausts as were daily presented by the Jews were rarities. The idea of entire consecration is too broad for a heathen mind. Partial consecration was comparatively easy in idea, but a "surrender without reserve" is the fruit of Divine teaching. Now this is what the burning of the holocaust in the sacred fire of the altar signified. For, since all sensation had ceased before the sacrifice was laid upon the altar, the burning could not suggest the idea to the worshipper of pain or penalty. The fire had come out from God as the token of acceptance (Leviticus 9:24). It is, moreover, one of the recognized symbols of the Holy Ghost. Consequently, the exposure of every portion of the sacrifice to the altar fire represented the yielding of the grateful worshipper in his entirety to the operation of God the Holy Ghost. This, after all, is the essence of sanctification. It is the surrender of our whole nature, body, soul, and spirit, to the disposal of the Holy Ghost. This is devotedness indeed. Nowhere has the idea been more felicitously wrought out than in a little posthumous volume of F.R. Havergal's, entitled 'Kept for the Master's Use.' We cannot better convey the idea of the burnt offering than by copying her simple foundation lines upon which she has built her chapters.
"Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift, and 'beautiful' for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my king.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold:
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shall choose.
Take my will and make it Thine:
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own:
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love: My Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, ALL for Thee." R.M.E.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD called unto Moses, and spake unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,