You are to make for Me an altar of earth, and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep and goats and cattle. In every place where I cause My name to be remembered, I will come to you and bless you.
I. THE OBJECT Or WORSHIP. The true God, not gods of silver, or gods of gold (ver. 23). The God who had talked with them from heaven had appeared in no visible form. "Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice" (Deuteronomy 4:12). Let the sole object of our worship be the invisible, spiritual, infinite, yet revealed God. God's revelations of himself lay the basis of right worship. God has spoken. How reverently should we hear!
II. THE PLACE Or WORSHIP. "In all places where I record my name" (ver. 24). God records his name by making a revelation of himself, as at Bethel, Peniel, etc. Whatever places he chose for the building of his altar, till the time came for the erection of a permanent sanctuary, there would he meet with them. Religion is now set free from places (John 4:23). Wherever two or three are met in Christ's name, there will he be in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).
III. THE ALTAR OF WORSHIP. To be built of unhewn stone - i.e., of natural materials (ver. 25). It was the altar of propitiation. Man is viewed as one whose sins are yet unexpiated. His art, in that state, would have polluted the altar. Art came in afterwards (ch. 25. etc.). Nothing of man's own avails for propitiation.
IV. THE MATERIALS OF WORSHIP. Animal sacrifices (ver. 24). For purposes of atonement - as symbols of personal consecration (burnt offerings) - as pledges of peace and renewed fellowship (peace offerings). Not in the first, but in the other meanings of sacrifice, we are still summoned to bring them in our worship - "spiritual sacrifices" of self-surrender (Romans 12:1), of the broken spirit (Psalm 51:17), of praise and thanksgiving (1 Peter 1:5).
V. THE MANNER WORSHIP (ver. 26). Reverence and decency. - J.O.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY RECORDING THE NAME OF THE LORD IN ANY PLACE?
I. THE EXTENT OF THE PROMISE. What and where are the places where we are to receive this blessing? Before God gave the promise, He gave instructions to the children of Israel about sacrifices — what kind of offerings to bring, what animals to offer, what kind of altars to build; and having given these instructions, He follows them by the promise that "in all places where I record My name, I will come unto thee and bless thee." We must easily see that the places where God recorded His name were places where altars were built to Him — where lambs bled in sacrifice, and where the ordinances and commands of God were observed by the people.
In all places where I record My name, I will come unto thee.I. THAT GOD DEMANDS FROM HIS CREATURE MAN REVERENT AND INTELLIGENT WORSHIP.
II. THAT SUCH WORSHIP, TO BE ACCEPTABLE TO GOD, MUST ALWAYS BE ASSOCIATED WITH DIVINELY-APPOINTED SACRIFICE.
III. THAT SUCH WORSHIP AND SACRIFICE OBTAIN FOR MAN THE BEST BLESSINGS OF HEAVEN.
(F. W. Brown.)
II. THE BLESSING PROMISED.
1. "I will come to thee." God's gracious presence.
2. "I will bless thee." Remind Him of His promise.
3. Make this a house of prayer.
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
1. By the name of the Lord is often understood God Himself, or the display of His infinite perfections in those works, whereby He makes His being and nature known. — Thus, Psalm 20:1. But the name of the Lord, when used in a particular reference to the covenant of grace, always respects God considered as a Redeemer; and expresses His Divine perfections, as they are gloriously displayed in the salvation of sinners.
2. Let us now see in what respects that name may be said to be recorded in any place. The words might be rendered, "In all places where I shall fix the memory of My name"; or, "In all places where I shall make My name to be invoked." The Chaldaic paraphrase has it, "In every place where I shall make My majesty dwell." The phrase, agreeably to either of these translations, evidently refers to the public worship of God, and has respect both to the place when, and the manner in which, it was to be celebrated. It is well known that the tabernacle was the place of public worship which God, exclusively of all others, determined for the Israelites while they were in the wilderness. After they had possession of the promised land, the ark of the covenant was lodged at Shiloh, and there, for a long while, the people celebrated Divine service. When the temple was finished, Jerusalem was fixed upon as the permanent seat,
3. If you now inquire how the name of the Lord was recorded in all these places, and by what means it might be said that He made Himself to be there remembered as the God of Salvation; we refer you, for a general answer, to the genius and scope of the Mosaic institution.
4. But this great end was more especially attained by the sacrifices and burnt-offerings, which formed an essential part of the daily worship in Israel. Believers were then looking for the appearance of the promised Seed who was not yet come. What could be better calculated to assist their faith, to establish their hope, and instruct them in the method of salvation, than to be commanded of God to substitute a bloody offering in their own stead, and thus transfer the legal guilt and punishment upon a sacrifice? In this act of worship, the bleeding lamb and smoking altar directed them to the promised Surety, the precious Lamb of God, who, by His sufferings and death, was fully to atone for His people, and, by one perfect sacrifice, became the Author of salvation unto all that obey Him.
II. THE IMPORT OF THESE WORDS, "I will come unto thee, and bless thee." The blessing of the Lord is always upon His people in every place. He hears their prayers in secret, and in their families. He has never said to the seed of Jacob, "Seek ye Me in vain." But to public worship peculiar mercies are annexed.
1. The Lord blesses His Church when He gives it a pure and faithful ministry.
2. The Lord blesses His Church when, in His good Providence, He preserves His people together in mutual peace, and prevents confusion, animosities, and schisms.
3. But especially He blesses His people in the place where He records His name, when He bestows that blessing of all blessings, the Holy Spirit.
4. The protection and defence of the Most High, whereby He preserves His Churches in the enjoyment of their privileges, and continues His blessing from the fathers to the children.Application:
1. We learn, "that the Son of God, from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to Himself, by His Spirit and Word, out of the whole human race, a Church chosen to everlasting life and agreeing in true faith."
2. We learn, that there is forgiveness with our God, that He may be feared; and thus a foundation laid for true and spiritual worship.
3. We see, that the doctrines of the gospel, like their Divine Author, are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
(J. H. Livingstone, D. D.)
II. Let us go on to consider HIS PROMISE.
1. It encourages us to expect in this house of prayer the presence of God with us. "I will come unto thee." And what more can we desire? It is rest to the soul; a something which not only quiets, and strengthens, and raises it, but leaves it nothing to wish for; it is the "fulness of joy"; no cistern of happiness, which a few moments or hours of enjoyment can empty; but a fountain of life, a spring that eternity cannot dry up nor a universe exhaust. "I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee"; "so bless thee, that My presence shall be known by the happiness I communicate, and the mercies I bestow."
2. We are warranted then to look for blessings from heaven in this place, and these real blessings, great blessings, mercies which God Himself esteems blessings. But here we must remember that anything, in order to be a blessing, must be adapted to the situation and condition of those to whom it is given. Hence when the Lord Jehovah says, "I will bless thee," before we can understand His words, we must have some acquaintance with the character and circumstances of those to whom they are addressed. If spoken to an angel or a redeemed saint in heaven, they may mean one thing; addressed to this sinner on the earth, another thing; and sent home to the heart of that poor child of the dust, yet something different. We must look to ourselves then. We must ask where we are standing and whither we are going; where we are and what we are. And to what a multitude of thoughts do such questions as these give rise! What wants, and burdens, and sins, and fears, do they bring before us!
(C. Bradley, M. A.)
(C. Bradley, M. A.)
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