Then the priest will burn the food on the altar as an offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma. All the fat is the LORD's.
I. LEARN THAT NOT THE MEANEST BUT THE CHOICEST PORTIONS MUST BE RESERVED FOR GOD'S SERVICE. Low conceptions of his majesty and perfection lead to such religious observance as is an insult rather than an honour. To defer reading the Scriptures or prayer till the mind and body are fatigued, is an infraction of this rule. Let our freshest moments, our sweetest morsels of thought and power, be set apart for the Lord! And similarly, ask not, How near can I walk to the dividing line between the Church and the world? or, Which of my amusements can I with least self-denial renounce in order to do his will? May we not behold the same lesson inculcated in the distinction indicated in this chapter, between a peace and a burnt offering? The latter, being wholly devoted to the Lord, must consist of a male victim; the former, intended principally for the participation of the offerers, may be male or female (verse 1). It cannot be right, then, to imagine that any qualifications will suffice for entire consecration to God's work. Ministers and missionaries should be numbered amongst men of highest intellect and intensest spirituality.
II. SEE HOW GOD ACCEPTS THE OFFERINGS OF HIS CREATURES AS THE MATERIALS FOR HIS DELIGHT AND GLORY. The burnt fat is "food" for the fire offering, and is termed in another place, the "bread of God." It becomes "a sweet savour" that is, eminently pleasing to the Holy One. In the word "food" we discern the purport of the peace offering as a sacrificial meal, in which, by returning to God what he had previously bestowed, the worshipper:
1. Acknowledged his indebtedness and thanks.
2. Was made a guest at the table of the Lord, inasmuch as he ate part of the animal that was "food for the fire offering;" and
3. Had all his other provisions sanctified for the sustenance of life, being allowed to consume the entire portions of animals not fit for sacrifice.
III. RECOLLECT THE OBLIGATORINESS OF DIVINE STATUTES.
1. They prohibit as well as command. "Thou shalt not" occupies as prominent a position in the Decalogue as "Thou shalt." Not only does man need both to try him (as with our first parents) and direct him, but one really involves the other. Observe that what man might not consume himself might be properly consumed on the altar; so the adoration and. unquestioning fidelity that are out of place in reference to any finite beings, are becoming in relation to God.
2. They are equally binding on all generations. They respect us as well as our fathers, and herein the laws of God differ from the mutable proclamations of human lawgivers. The precepts of God only change with a new dispensation. This is the meaning of the word "perpetual." There is a sense, indeed, in which no Divine statute alters, being continued in spirit though the letter may have varied.
3. They enter into all phases of life. The prohibition was to be acted upon in "the dwellings" as well as at the tabernacle. Let us not make too great a distinction between the homage of the house of God and the home or the workshop and the factory! It is the characteristic of the gospel times to have the Law written on the heart, so that we carry it with us wherever we go. Thus are we prevented from sinning against God. - S.R.A.
These are the commandments which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel.Hebrews 4:2). And upon the whole matter we may see cause to bless God that we are not come to Mount Sinai (Hebrews 12:18).
1. That we are not under the dark shadows of the law, but enjoy the clear light of the gospel, which shows us Christ the end of the law for righteousness (Romans 10:4). The doctrine of our reconciliation to God by a Mediator is not clouded with the smoke of burning sacrifices, but cleared by the knowledge of Christ, and Him crucified.
2. That we are not under the heavy yoke of the law and the carnal ordinances of it, as the apostle calls them (Hebrews 9:10), imposed till the time of reformation, a yoke which neither they nor their fathers were able to bear (Acts 15:10); but under the sweet and easy institutions of the gospel, which pronounces those the true worshippers, that worship the Father in spirit and truth, by Christ only, and in His name, who is our Priest, Temple, Altar, Sacrifice, Purification, and All. Let us not therefore think that because we are not tied to the ceremonial cleansings, feasts, and oblations, a little care, time, and expense will serve to honour God with. No, but rather have our hearts more enlarged in free-will-offerings, to His praise, more inflamed with holy love and joy, and more engaged in seriousness of thoughts, and sincerity of intention. Having boldness to enter into the holiness by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, worshipping God with so much the more cheerfulness and humble confidence, still saying, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
( Matthew Henry, D. D..)
(J. M. Gibson, D. D.).
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