This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the priest:…
He shalt "offer." That is the law. But he shall offer only "such as he can get." That is the mercy. But in mercy there is a law. Pity is not unruly, out of harmony with eternal righteousness and truth; tears are part of the Divine economy, as well as constellations. See how everywhere in the holy Book we find judgment and mercy, law and love, discipline and rest of soul. Christianity is a yoke, a burden, but light and easy. Here is the considerateness of God even in law. The law is not cast-iron; the law is not an expression of arbitrary will. The law rises high as heaven, and yet it stoops as lowly as human infirmity and need. The next verse is even more explicit in its tenderness; ver. 31 begins, "Even such as he is able to get." The emphasis is on the word "able"; all the meaning is to be found in that word. Not, such as he can casually pick up; not, such as may happen to come in his way at the moment; that is not law, that is folly, h thought of that kind would wreck the order and unity of creation. How very different is the instruction or injunction, "Even such as he is able to get" — after he has walked ten miles, after he has done the very best in his power, after he has strained his thought to the agony of anxiety; then if his offering, how poor soever it be, shall prove to be the very best of his ability, it shall go right up into heaven and be accepted there as if it were a king's offering, without spot or blemish, without infirmity of age, or without sign of unequal conflict. Here, then, is unity combined with diversity. If you bring a thousand pounds, it may be much, it may be nothing. If you bring the smallest coin of the realm, which indeed is no coin at all but a mere token, if it be all you can do, if it be such as you are able to get, it is a mountain of fine gold and there is hardly room for such a gift in heaven. What a variety of offering may be found on the Christian altar! There is a great offering of gold. Some men have nothing but gold to give, but they give it with both hands, they give it with a blessing; they send their love with it, and love doubles every gift. Here is a great offering of work; morning, noon, and night the offerer is wondering what he can do next. All his time is God's; he will accept any position that may be given to him. He does not elect his own place, he simply tells what his faculty is, and he is willing to give the whole of that faculty twelve hours in the day to the service of Christ. Here is a great offering of music; here is a leading voice, here is a spiritual interest in that sweet department of public worship; the voice is given, all that the voice means is joyously contributed; the giver says, "I would give more if I could, but this is all I have been able to get, take it, O Christ, it is given in Thy name; receive it all." Here is a great offering of home-service. That home-church has never had its history written. The history of the home-church never can be put into words. It is the great church, it is the church out of which all other churches are cut, like palaces out of the solid rocks. Palaces owe themselves to the great quarries of the earth; they are not select, dainty, specially-jewelled stone; the great cathedrals all came out of the quarry. And the home-church is, if it may be so expressed without roughness, the quarry, the stone bed, out of which all the other churches are built, though they be called minsters and temples and cathedrals. What a great offering there is of love. Love has no hours. Love never entered into a union or a federation for the purpose of seeing how little it could do and how much it could get. Love never begins, because it never ceases. "Such as he can get." Nor is this the only phrase that indicates the tenderness of law. In ver. 21 of this very chapter we read, "And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then," &c. We need not ask if this book is an inspired book. The righteousness, the tenderness, meet so uniquely and cooperate so perfectly that there must be more than human thought in all these economic and considerate arrangements. Points of this kind are the true arguments for inspiration. "If he be poor, and cannot get so much; then," &c. Thus God makes room at the altar for the poor man, and any altar that makes room for the poor, stands on earth, but reaches up to heaven. By this sign know ye that ye are in front of God's altar. "Such as he can get" often means nothing more than, "Such as God has given him." What have we that we have not received? God orders the business of men. If men would recognise this they would be quieter and more thankful. There is a sense in which we can all do more. What is that sense? It is only true in so far as it proceeds out of the deeper doctrine that we can all be more. This is a question of quality; this a question of moral capacity. The great thing in this Christian education and discipline is to make the man himself more, his quality finer, his sensitiveness more exquisite, his consciousness of indebtedness to God profounder and livelier. We shall never have any revival of hand-action that is worth anything until we have a revival of heart-life, heart-love, heart-faith. Let us pray for increase of heart.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: