This second chapter of Leviticus speaks of the Lord’s directions and ordinances for another type of offering, called the grain offerings. These represented our Lord Jesus as the Bread of life to our souls. But they also seem to denote our obligation to the Lord for the blessings of Providence, as well as our holy works and deeds which are acceptable to Him. It is noteworthy that these grain offerings were mentioned after the burnt offerings. This suggests that without an interest in the sacrifice of Christ, and without entire devotedness of heart to God (represented in the burnt offering), nothing that we bring to Him will be accepted.
Perhaps we are asking ourselves, “Why does this chapter allow for all these different variations of the grain offering?” It speaks in one place of the grain offering made of flour with oil and frankincense, another place speaks of flour baked in the oven, and yet another makes mention of flour fried in a pan with oil. Why is there this variety? Here we see one of those characteristics that indicate that the God of Creation has indeed inspired the Bible. This chapter shows Him providing for the poor man as carefully as for the rich. He says, “If you are a rich man, and can give a valuable and a costly offering, then it is your duty to do so. But if you are a poor man, then offer that offering which corresponds with your position. And rest assured that the poor man’s offering of twenty ears of corn will be as acceptable to Me as the rich man’s offering of the finest flour, which is perfumed with costly frankincense, and anointed and consecrated with the most precious oil.” It is a beautiful thought of our heavenly Father that the archangel nearest to His throne is not dearer to Him, nor more watched by Him, than the poorest widow or orphan who weeps and prays and leans upon Him in the forgotten back-streets of a great metropolis.
No leaven or honey was permitted to be included in the grain offerings. This was because leaven, in the Bible, is an emblem of pride, malice, and hypocrisy; and honey is often used in the Scriptures as a symbol for worldly pleasures. The former of these two is directly opposed to the Divinely approved graces of humility, love, and sincerity. And the latter draws people away from the exercises of devotion, and away from following our Savior. Our Lord Jesus, in His character and sacrifice, was entirely free from the things denoted by leaven; and His suffering life and agonizing death were the very opposites to worldly pleasure. And His people are called to follow Him and be like Him. One thing that was required in all the grain offerings, however, was salt. Hereby God taught His people that their sacrifices, in themselves, were unsavory and distasteful. Salt is a symbol for grace, which must season all our worship and services.
Directions were also given in this chapter about the offering of the firstfruits at harvest-time. If a person had a thankful sense of God’s goodness in giving him a plentiful crop, and was thereby inclined to present an offering unto Him, he was to bring the earliest yields of the fully grown harvest; for whatever was brought to God was to be the best of its kind, even if it were only green ears of corn. We read that oil and frankincense were to be put upon this offering. The oil represented wisdom and humility, with which the labor and services of Christians are to be anointed; and the frankincense denoted the mediation and intercession of Christ, by which our services are accepted. The Lord takes delight in the first-ripe fruits of the Spirit, and the expressions of early piety and devotion. And holy love to God is the fire by which all our offerings must be made.
Let us conclude our study of the grain offering by considering how it represented Christ Himself in all of His work of obedience, both in soul and body. He was the “fine wheat” that was pure and unspotted, but the baking and frying of the grain offering represented how He was subjected to every kind and variety of suffering. His glorious obedience in His human nature, and all that belonged to Him, was accepted by the Father. And since this offering represents Christ, it includes His Church also. He and His Body – the Church – are presented to the Father and accepted by Him. He and all His possessions in heaven and earth – whether possessions of dominions, or possessions in the souls of human beings – were all presented to and accepted by the Father. And Christ delights thus to honor His Father! He will delight to deliver up even the Kingdom to Him (1 Cor. 15:24). What an example for each of His people! Let us imitate Him by giving up our bodies and souls to the glory of our God!
Blessed be the name of the Lord; for we now enjoy the actual substance, of which these Levitical offerings were only shadows. Truly, there is excellence in Christ and His work as Mediator, which no pictures or shadows can fully represent! And our dependence upon Him and His work must be so entire that we must never lose sight of it in anything we do, if we wish to be accepted by the Lord.
Lord Jesus, in every offering and sacrifice, we seek for You. We pray for the Holy Spirit to enlighten the eyes of our understanding. And we also pray for grace so that in all our offerings to You, we may seek nothing, bring nothing, and depend upon nothing for acceptance with You, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Amen.
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