Thursday, June 8th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Preacher's Homiletical
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ phc/ leviticus-22.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Leviticus 22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://studylight.org/
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Priestly Privileges Forfeited by Uncleanness
Leviticus 22:1.—Profane not My holy name in those things which they hallow unto Me. Holy things must not be touched with unclean hands. What God hallows should be revered. To treat heedlessly any sacred thing profanes that Name with which it has become associated. If this applied to the altar offerings of the ancient tabernacle, surely it applies to our holy things—the Scriptures, the Sanctuary, the Lord’s Day; for the Divine Name is linked to them, they are hallowed unto Him, and must not be profaned. More forcibly this requirement applies to lives hallowed in consecration to Christ; they must not be profaned by fellowship with evil, lest it lead to “that holy name by which they are called being blasphemed.”
Leviticus 22:2.—That soul shall be cut off from My presence. Did not the devouring fire consume Nadab and Abihu? Infliction of such severe penalties was a measure necessary in that age for the enforcement of duty, for inculcating correct ideas of Jehovah’s sanctity and authority. Priests, by their privileged access to His “presence,” might lapse into incaution; and as their favours were special, so their warnings were emphatic. If we dwell “in the light,” how appalling the possibility of being thrust into outer darkness! Having preached to others, how fearful to think of becoming a castaway! Such possibilities should arouse privileged souls to “take heed lest they fall.”
Leviticus 22:10.—There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing. Hospitality is everywhere in Scripture commended; we should be “careful to entertain strangers. But guests in our homes do not, on that account, become qualified to share the covenant privileges of religion, which are reserved to those who are Christ’s. Relation to God as a priest is a personal matter; and as a spiritual priest each believer is entitled to sit at the sacred table—yes, to feast in the very banqueting house of sovereign love—but we have no authority to extend these divine favours to others who have no priestly relationship to God, even though they have domestic or friendly relationship to us. Courtesy or magnanimity may not obliterate the spiritual distinctions with which God separates men.
Leviticus 22:11.—But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat. So that when a soul becomes a priest’s possession, he shares the priest’s privileges. Its counterpart is in those we win to Christ—not by “money,” but by the energies of Christian persuasion and influence; bound to us in the obligations of love. Our converts enter into our sacred enjoyments: “Ye are all partakers of my grace” (Philippians 1:7).
Leviticus 22:14.—If a man eat of the holy thing unwittingly. Intruding where he ought not; taking advantages for which he had no qualification; enjoying sacred food for which he had done no sacred service. This is “trespass” (Leviticus 22:16). Yet all assumption of religion without being in heart religious, all church offices and emoluments held by unchristian men for the sake more of “gain than godliness”—this is profanation, and these “bear the iniquity of trespass.”
Leviticus 22:17-24.—Physical perfectness required in animals sacrificed. For they were suggestive of the perfect Christ, and must therefore have no defect; and they betokened the perfect life which believers are called to devote to God: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
Leviticus 22:25.—Neither from a stranger’s hand, etc. Offerings must be faultless, and the offerer must be qualified. Precious gifts from unhallowed hands God cannot accept. Leave the gift on the altar, and enter first into sacred relationship with God through Christ. Our standing “in Him” is of supreme importance; until we are thus “made nigh,” we cannot acceptably “draw nigh.”
Leviticus 22:32.—I will be hallowed … I am the Lord which hallow you. It is for that sublime end we are sanctified. Men seek their own salvation, God seeks their sanctity; because salvation is a selfish goal, while sanctity is testimony for God to men and angels. The work of divine grace in us is nor, merely for our gain, but to “adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour,” to snow the holy character of God to those who “take knowledge of us,” and thus help to fulfilment the prayer, “Hallowed be thy name.”
HOMILIES ON CHAPTER 22
Topic: A SOLEMN REGARD FOR HALLOWED THINGS
“That they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me” (Leviticus 22:2).
Religion is a sacred inward life. It consists not in outward things, such as symbols and ceremonies, which it uses and calls to its aid, but in the soul’s acceptance with God, in its homage of Him, and in its glad resignation to Him and service for Him.
Yet religion has its outward expression in material things which it “hallows.” It does this by their consecration to God’s service and honour. What in itself may be common and worldly becomes sacred when dedicated to religious purposes. And in this act of hallowing worldly things, religious men show their difference from the ungodly, who merely keep all earthly things for worldly and human ends, devoting none to God. But the children of God will have “things which they hallow unto me.”
I. MAN’S ABILITY TO RENDER THINGS HALLOWED.
1. Places: As sanctuaries devoted to God’s worship. Homes consecrated by piety and prayer. Select scenes of retirement, as some secret glen where a devout soul goes apart for meditation, etc., like Isaac at the well Lahai-roi. A lowly room or shed, used for gathering two or three in Christ’s name for reading and exhortation.
2. Seasons: As the “Lord’s day”; or appointed days, as “holy days”; or a fixed hour for bending the knee with some distant friend; or times in which to commemorate God’s work in history.
3. Possessions: As wealth set apart for Christ; or time deliberately determined to be spent in Christian work; or some particular object we dedicate to the Master’s use—as Peter’s boat, which he lent to Christ from which to preach to the multitudes on the shore.
4. Persons: Our own lives with all their talents and affections, “they gave themselves unto the Lord”; or a child, as Hannah dedicated Samuel; or a band of Christian workers sent forth on a specific mission.
II. MAN’S TENDENCY TO PROFANE THINGS HALLOWED.
1. As when regard for the sanctity of holy scenes ceases; the sanctuary fails to be in thought “none other but the house of God and the gate of heaven”; or home piety and prayer are discouraged by neglect.
2. Regard for the solemnity of sacred seasons declines; the Sabbath is not cherished as “a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable”; prayer times are let slip disregarded.
3. Regard for the divine claim on our possessions abates; we “keep back some part of the price”; we recall from its dedicated purpose some consecrated object.
4. Regard for true spirituality in ourselves and others wanes; the “first love” waxes cold; the eagerness for our child or families to become Christian abates in the presence of their worldly interests and prospects.
III. MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY TO RESPECT THINGS HALLOWED.
1. They are no longer ours, either to recall from consecration or to divert to ourselves. Money was not Ananias’s after he had professedly given it to Christ. And “Ye are not your own.” Vowed to the Lord, our appropriation of it, or diversion from its sacred purpose, is profanation.
2. God’s name becomes identified with “things hallowed unto Him.” What a dishonour and derision to God and religion if, e.g, a church should be debased and turned into a tavern or a theatre: if a Christian home be degraded into a habitation of libertines and revilers: if a sanctified life returns again to the vileness of iniquity. Scoffers then will “blaspheme that holy name by which we are called.”
3.When anything is “hallowed” it is a witness amid ungodliness for religion and the unseen. The tendency of man is to grow absorbed in material things, to attend merely to his physical and earthly interests. “Things hallowed” to God speak to men of what is divine, spiritual, eternal, and they cannot be removed from amongst us without danger of men sinking lower into dark materialism, and so forfeiting all the benefits which Christianity has brought into our national, social, and individual life.
(a) The Bible deserves to be cherished as a hallowed book, yet how many neglect it: how many deride it: how many read it only to disobey it.
(b) The cross is a symbol of a most pathetic, solemn, yet precious fact—the death of Jesus. Yet to how many Protestants has it become a mere trinket for adornment: while to many Romanists it has become an object of idolatrous superstition.
(c) The bread and wine are tokens of a finished redemption and our fellowship with Christ by faith. Yet they may be “eaten and drank unworthily, not discerning the Lord’s body,” as if they had no solemn meaning: or they may be travestied on the “altar” of Ritualists, and in the Papal “mass.”
And make thyself all reverence and fear.”
“Speak, that they profane not my holy name in those things which they hallow unto me.”
Topic: DEFILING HOLY THINGS
“Whosoever goeth unto the holy things, which the children of Israel hallow unto the Lord, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 22:3).
Caryl says, “The very heathen had this notion, they would not admit any to their religious services unless they were prepared: therefore one cried out to the people when they came to sacrifice, ‘All you that are unclean and profane go far away from these sacrifices.’ Not only the word of God but the very light of nature taught them not to meddle with holy things till they were themselves sanctified.”
In proof of this stands that saying of Æneas to his father when he came from the war, “In genitor,” etc. “Father, do you meddle with the sacrifices: but as for me it is a sinful thing to touch them till I have washed myself at the fountain.”
Cicero teaches a noble reverence for things hallowed: Res sacros non modo manibus attingi, se ne cogitatione quidem violari fas fuit. “Things sacred should not only not be touched with the hands, but not violated even in thought.”
Yet there have been priests of our holy religion—yes, ministers of the gospel of Christ—and men in sacred eminence, who have defamed Christianity by their levity and sacrilege, until verily—
Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires.—POPE.
Belshazzar converted the consecrated vessels of the temple into instruments of luxury and intemperance, touching holy things while himself unclean; but the hand of indignant judgment wrote in flaming letters upon his banqueting hall his sentence of doom.
Herod polluted the sepulchres of the saints with a sacreligious search for treasures supposed to be hidden there, when God made fire rise from the earth to devour the infamous men who touched holy things with their uncleanness upon them.
Antiochus ransacked the very temple of God; Heliodorus emptied the treasures of their consecrated moneys; Pompey defiled the Sabbath and the sanctuary; Crassus despoiled the house of God of ten thousand talents; but their careers all tell the story of scathing judgment for defiling holy things, that ruin is ever the avenger of sacrilege.
Judas dared to touch with foul hands the sacred person of Christ, and sell Him for money; but the curse fell upon him, and he perished in his iniquity.
“That soul shall be cut off from my presence; I am the Lord.”
Topic: IRREVERENCE AMID SANCTITIES (Leviticus 22:1-16)
The heathen hierarchy practised and exemplified the debasing vices of the idols they represented and professed to propitiate. Jehovah declared holiness indispensable to acceptable service in His presence. The Hebrews were taught by symbol, by ceremonies which appealed to their senses—truths concerning holiness which, under the gospel, are more fully enforced by the teachings of the Holy Ghost. In order that undue familiarity with holy things might be prevented—
I. A LINE OF DEMARCATION WAS TO BE DRAWN BETWEEN SACRED AND SECULAR THINGS.
For the performance of sacred duties there were fixed places and set times; no priest was to officiate when physically, ceremonially, or morally impure. “Speak unto Aaron and his sons, that they separate themselves from the holy things of the children of Israel.” Why such strictness? (a) Because sacred things enshrined the name of the Lord. “That they profane not my holy name.” (b) Because sacred things honoured the nam f the Lord. “These things which they hallow unto me.” Still required that those who bear the vessels of the Lord shall be holy, and make a difference between sacred and secular things.
II. A LINE OF DEMARCATION WAS TO BE DRAWN BETWEEN PURITY AND IMPURITY FOCHARACTER.
No priest was to officiate at the altar in a state of unfitness, under penalty of excommunication. “That soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.” This declares the priest to be fallible and frail; need for constant watchfulness lest the altar become polluted. Under the new dispensation a fountain full and free is open for sin and uncleanness. As kings and priests unto God, believers are expected to exhibit in their lives the fruits of the Spirit. Christianity has not relaxed the demands of the law for holiness of character, the standard is even higher, for “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”—F.W.B.
Topic: THE BEST FOR THE HIGHEST (Leviticus 22:17-30)
The sacrifice—not the officiating priest—was the centre of the Levitical economy. He existed for the altar, not it for him. If absolutely necessary that priests should be holy, equally so that the offerings should be perfect, especially when regarded in the light of the epistle to the Hebrews as of typical import, as shadows of good things to come. Every offering was to be presented—
I. WITH A WILLING MIND. “Freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the Lord for a burnt offering.” The authoritative commands of Jehovah did not interfere with free agency; the judgment and moral sense of offerers were appealed to, they were to choose what God had chosen. Unless voluntarily, there could have been no moral quality in the services they rendered. No virtue, where no possibility of vice, at least in a probationary state. At the erection of the Temple the same willingness was required. In the service of Christ we are to present ourselves willing, as well as living sacrifices.
II. WITH PERFECT OBEDIENCE. “Whatsoever hath a blemish shall he not offer.” No unwholesome or unsightly thing was to be laid on the altar. The Highest deserved, as He demanded, the best. Obedience in the offerer thus required to be complete; no withholding, or withdrawing. (a) That the holy harmony of the economy might not be broken. (b) That the spotless antitype might be clearly foreshadowed.
God still demands the best we can offer, the vigour and vivacity of youth; the most wakeful and valuable portions of our time; the choicest and richest fruits of our substance.
III. WITH A GRATEFUL HEART. “Neither from a stranger’s hand shall ye offer the bread of your God.” Offerings were to be presented by those who knew the Lord and would be actuated by devoted love. Acquaintance with God, reconciliation with Him, must precede offerings on His altar. The character of the giver, more than the nature of the gift, determines the divine estimate of offerings.
IV. WITH A LOYAL SPIRIT. The constant reiteration of the declaration, “I am the Lord,” rendered obvious that all ought to be done with the profoundest reverence for the divine majesty. The Hebrews were to acknowledge Jehovah as their sovereign king. Time has not altered these conditions of acceptable offering. Energy, time, means, etc., all to be cheerfully surrendered to Him who is our Prophet, Priest and King. We owe Him the best of everything; He sacrificed the best—His life—for us; how irresistible the words of the apostle, “For ye are not your own,” etc.—F. W.B.
Topic: BLEMISHES IN OUR SACRIFICES
“Whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer; for it shall not be acceptable for you” (Leviticus 22:20).
Reference is to sacrifices. All religious service is of the nature of sacrifice.
“Whatsoever, etc.” (Text).
J. Read this requirement of perfect sacrifices, and by it let us test our regard for the SABBATH SERVICES.
God has once, at least, read us a very solemn lesson of the manner in which He regards lost Sabbaths. Seventy Sabbatical years the Jews allowed to drop out of their calendar. Seventy years were spent by them in captivity. A fearful presage to us of what might be the national judgment, if, as a church and people, we went on to blot out from amongst us our day of rest. And yet, is that fear groundless? Are we not already gone far towards such a state of things? Is not the Sunday, to a fearful extent, an omitted day? The fourth commandment an omitted commandment? Such as the Sunday is, so is the week. It is the keystone of the arch of our secular life. The folly and sin of most men is, they begin by making the Sunday a blank day. And as a blank becomes intolerable, therefore the day proves to them listless, weary, worldly, profane. A taste for spiritual things needs to be cultivated and prayed for. A vague mind, a dull feeling, the sense of its being a long day each time the Sunday comes round—these afford proof that to us heaven is still very far off, that the bright and beautiful world is not “our own place.” To pass a little more into detail, ordinarily everyone will agree that if the Sabbath be obligatory, then it is assuredly obligatory thus far—
1. That there be regular attendance upon public service.
2. Of the other hours of the day, that a part be spent in private devotional exercises, a part in religious reading; that a higher and more sacred tone of conversation be maintained; that some work of piety and love be performed.
These are but some of the most obvious and necessary Sunday duties and Sunday enjoyments. How do many of us acquit ourselves in this matter? Has the sacrifice of the seventh portion of our time, which we profess to offer week by week, any “blemish”? An unoccupied day must prove an unpleasant day. We omit duty, therefore God omits blessing. Need we look further than our Sundays, idle, &c., for many a disappointment and discontent and bitterness of life?
II. By this test let us judge our SANCTUARY WORSHIP.
Examine ourselves in the house of God. Difficulty of keeping the mind collected and devout results from want of due preparation.
1. Something may be said respecting the posture of body we assume in the sanctuary. Position of body re-acts upon the mind. Indolence is associated with, and leads to, irreverence. Kneeling is required equally by the dignity of God and the weakness of our nature.
2. So with the voice. Difficult to over-estimate how much is lost (a) To the beauty of our services; (b) To the glory of God; (c) To our own souls, by the silence so many of us maintain, both in the responses and in the service of song. But there are more as “blemishes” in our sanctuary sacrifices than these. Where is—
(1) The constant mental effort essential to true worship, and proper in the presence of God?
(2) The self-distrust due from such sinful creatures as we?
(4) The self-discipline to bring ourselves into responsiveness to God’s Spirit?
(3) The inward up-looking for divine light and grace?
(5) The frequent reminding ourselves of what we are and what God is
(6) The simple spirit of self-application?
(7) The faith to give wings to prayer?
Well might St. James say “Ye have not because ye ask not, or ask amiss. “Blemish on sacrifice” drives the flame down again.
III. By this test let us examine our observance of THE SACRAMENT OF THE LORD’S SUPPER.
A word in solemn affection to some. You never attend the sacrament to celebrate the Lord’s death at all. Others, if at all, so irregularly as almost to turn the attendance into a mockery. Do you consider that that with which you so deal is none other than the dying command of the Lord and Saviour: the highest and best of all the means of grace? And yet you habitually pass it by. Can there be any limit to the evil which such an omission may be entailing upon your soul? Your religion is barren of joy if your soul fails to realise peace; if your prayers work no effect; if your faith seems to rest on no reality; if you gain no sense of forgiveness. Well, there is a chain of cause and consequences here; we must divide its links. The soul’s losses all fasten themselves into the soul’s omissions. Note:
1. Happy for us that we can turn from all our poor “blemished” sacrifices to that pure and perfect sacrifice of Christ, which has been offered “without blemish and without spot” for us.
2. Only let us never forget that he who would safely trust in the power of that “Sacrifice” for his salvation, must take the spotlessness of that Sacrifice for his daily pattern.—Anon.
Topic: UNQUESTIONING OBEDIENCE PEREMPTORILY ENFORCED (Leviticus 22:31-33).
The pilgrimage of Israel through the wildernes was of a probationary character, affording a suggestive emblem of all human life. The natural tendency of the human will to rebellion required imperative commands to subdue and bend it to the obedience of the just. The minute and exacting requirements of the Mosaic ritual would train the people to humble obedience. Such peremptory statutes were based upon:
I. WHAT JEHOVAH WAS IN ISRAEL. “I am the Lord.” The Lord had perfect right to enjoin what obedience He chose upon His subjects. In the midst of Israel Jehovah was King, His word went forth with power. Let all the inhabitants of the earth stand in awe of Him, and obey His voice, for it is still universally true, “The Lord reigneth.”
II. WHAT JFHOVAH WAS TO ISRAEL. “Your God.” To carry out His wise and benevolent designs towards the race, God saw fit to make Israel His chosen people, custodians of His written word, channels of blessing to the whole world. Israel was under the most solemn obligations to obey divine statutes, to conform to the divine will. Under the new dispensation no stronger motive can prompt to Christian consecration and obedience than the declaration of the apostle to the Gentiles, “Whose I am, and whom I serve.”
III. WHAT JEHOVAH HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL. “That brought you out of the land of Egypt.” The Exodus had exhibited the goodness of the Lord. Wonders had been performed, unexpected channels of deliverance had been opened, abundant supplies had been vouchsafed to them. Obligations to obedience were many and weighty. The goodness of God calleth us to repentance. Redemption from the slavery of Satan and sin should constrain to obedience. Translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, this the becoming question of the soul, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”
IV. WHAT JEHOVAH WOULD DO WITH ISRAEL. “I am the Lord which hallow you.” The Lord’s purpose in selecting Israel as His peculiar people, was not only that His name might be hallowed among them, but that their hearts might become sanctified by His presence. Holiness was the supreme end of the Mosaic ritual. Ceremonially and symbolically priests and people were made holy by (a) the rites they observed; (b) the sacrifices they offered; (c) the manifested presence of the Lord.—F.W.B.
OUTLINES ON VERSES OF CHAPTER 22
Leviticus 22:1-2.—Theme: THE JEALOUSY OF JEHOVAH.
Human nature inherently prone to presumption and irreverence. Upon the priests was enjoined the most scrupulous care, lest in any way they disgraced themselves and dishonoured Jehovah. Small gifts were not excluded from the altar of the Lord, but all blemished offerings were, to teach Israel (a) The supremacy of the divine will. What He required, not what they might feel disposed to offer, must be presented. (b) The necessity of unquestioning obedience. “I am the Lord.” Enough for Israel to know that the Lord required it at their hands. The jealousy of Jehovah for His name and glory would inculcate the need of—
I. CONSTANT CIRCUMSPECTION. Sacerdotal duties so intricate and various, the priests would require to exercise unrelaxing vigilance.
II. CAREFUL DISCRIMINATION. Offerings to be unmixed; in strict accordance with minutely prescribed directions.
III. COMPLETE CONSECRATION. Everything to be done to the full; no reserve, shortcoming, or withdrawal. No imperfection in servant or service tolerated in the tabernacle worship.
Inherited and unavoidable disabilities for public service form no barrier in the way of divine favour. A willing heart is accepted when the acomplishment of its sincere purpose is impossible. Willingness and ability characterise the service of the Upper Temple. Scrupulous care still to be exercised, that there be no profanation of God’s Name, Day, Book, House, Ordinances.—F.W.B.
Leviticus 22:10—Theme: HOLT FEASTS FORBIDDEN TO STRANGERS.
“There shall no stranger eat of the holy thing”
Salvation is common, open to all; but privileges are special, reserved to consecrated souls. [See “Suggestive Readings” on the verse.]
These “strangers “in the priest’s house represent persons near the Kingdom of Grace but not within it.
I. FRIENDSHIP with the godly does not confer qualification for religious privileges. Not though we be guests in the home of a minister of Christ’s sanctuary; not though we enjoy Christian intimacy and affection, do we on that account become qualified to share the covenant blessings of religion.
Personal alliances and family intimacies with God’s people do not render us partakers of their grace.
II. Enjoyment of RELIGIOUS INTERCOURSE does not create qualification for sacred privileges.
Within the priest’s home there would be much religious converse, and acquaintance with the meaning of religious truths and duties; but knowledge of divine things, and the advantage of holy conversation, do not necessarily lead to spiritual life.
“Having all knowledge and understanding all mysteries profit nothing” if there be not inward life and personal love.
III. Residence in HOLY DWELLINGS does not confer qualifications for saintly privileges.
Though resident in the priest’s home, “strangers” might not partake of the priest’s food.
Attendance on the sanctuary; frequenting holy places; being continually near God’s servant in sacred scenes; all this may be without personal piety.
Being a doorkeeper in the house of God; a persistent attendant at sacred services; maintaining a constant connexion with the sanctuary; these do not ensure and guarantee a state of grace, a qualification for the privilege of sanctified souls.
1.Better be “strangers”, near though not in the kingdom, than aliens far off from all the allurements and opportunities of religion.
2.Though “strangers,” the way is possible in the gospel for such to become partakers of the feasts of redemption and of grace. “At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers,” etc. (Ephesians 2:12).
Nearness to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, and spiritually “priests unto God,” should help forward a religious life until those once “strangers,” yet guests, become welcomed to the feasts of sacred love. [See outline on Leviticus 22:25, Holy Ministries refused from Strangers.]
Leviticus 22:20.—Theme: UNBLEMISHED SACRIFICES.
“But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer; for it shall not be acceptable for you.”
Everything laid on the altar to be free from (a) bodily disease, (b) national deformity, (c) acquired defects. These defects, emblems of moral blemishes, which disqualify for service under the gospel—depraved passions, crookea conduct, deflection from duty, indulgence in any kind of sin—will render the most costly offering obnoxious to the divine mind.
Men present blemished sacrifices to the Lord—
I. WHEN THEIR GIFTS ARE NOT PROPORTIONATE TO THEIR MEANS. Many profess to give to the utmost of their ability, when they only give a pitiable fraction from the abundance with which God has prospered them. Such blemished sacrifices God rejects.
II. WHEN THEIR GIFTS ARE NOT THE SYMBOLS OF SELF-SACRIFICE. No offering is accepted except presented in a willing and devout spirit; God expects living sacrifices, the wealth of human love—all the heart mind, soul, strength; then other gifts as evidences of complete self-consecration.
III. WHEN THEIR GIFTS ARE PRESENTED TO PROCURE SALVATION. Sensuous worship, ritualistic observances are valueless; only the merits of the one all-atoning sacrifice of Christ can render the most perfect gifts acceptable.
Let but the heart be wholly given to the Lord, then not the deceased or decayed, the refuse or leavings, the chaff or dregs, but the best, costliest, and brightest will be consecrated to the Lord.
These things read in the light of the New Testament teach—(a) How completely the spotlessness of Christ fulfilled the rigid requirements for perfection in Jewish sacrifices. (b) How the material offerings of the tabernacle were adapted to prepare the way for the proclamation of what they foreshadowed. (c) How the constant demand for holiness in offerings and offerers reiterated the abiding facts, that Jehovah is spotlessly holy; and that “without holiness no man can see the Lord.”—F.W.B.
Leviticus 22:25.—Theme: HOLY MINISTRIES REFUSED FROM STRANGERS.
If “strangers” might not eat the feast reserved for priestly souls (comp. on Leviticus 22:10) so neither would God allow them to minister at the altar of His sanctuary,
This interdict demands—
I. That MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL be themselves true-born sons of God.
II. That WORKERS IN THE CHURCH be chosen exclusively from those in spiritual fellowship with God’s people.
III. That SACRED OFFERINGS, gifts laid on the altar of religion, are only acceptable as the giver is a sincere Christian.
IV. That A SPIRITUAL STATE is the supremely precious thing in God’s esteem; not what we bring, but what we are ourselves who bring the offering.
1. God abhors hallowed services by unhallowed souls. “They shall be not accepted for you.”
2. A gracious relationship to God in Christ must precede all attempts to please Him by service or gifts.
3. From saintly souls every offering, however lowly, is a “sacrifice well pleasing unto God,” as a token of sonship and love.